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SMiller_81567
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Making an overblown sky look blue.

Aug 14, 2011 7:53 PM

I have struggled and struggled with the different ways to "make" a blue sky where there isn't one, including taking photos of blue skies with nice clouds, but no luck!!  Would REALLY appreciate ANY help and suggestions that have WORKED for you with enhancing a sky so that it looks REAL.  Thank you in advance!   =)

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2011 11:46 PM   in reply to SMiller_81567

    This tutorial should help:

    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-photoshop-elements-9/creating-a-blue-s ky/

     

    The PSE9 Help menu has a link to the video tutorials.

     

    Other than that, unless you post an example of an original and a description of what you want (clouds or not, increase the contrast of the existing sky, create your own sky and clouds, etc.) it's difficult to give more concrete examples -- there're many options available.

     

    Ken

     
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    Aug 15, 2011 1:46 PM   in reply to photodrawken

    The Alibony technique is especially effective for changing the sky color between arborization of a tree:

     

    http://www.alibony.com/video/video-lesson12.htm

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 15, 2011 2:13 PM   in reply to hatstead

    Ehh...I don't like her method -- she still winds up with the new sky pixels blending onto the foliage (or the original white sky appearing where she paints).  Far better, IMO, to spend the time selecting the original sky using the Magic Wand (non-contiguous) and proceeding from there.

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 12:11 AM   in reply to SMiller_81567

    OK, I had a lot of "fun" with this one!   I choose the most difficult example I could find, and the result isn't too bad.  Here's the original:
    TreeAndClouds-orig.png

    1. I made two copies of the background layer.
    2. On the uppermost layer copy, I converted it to Black & White using the "Scenic Landscape" setting and increased the contrast to get this image to use for selecting the sky:
      TreeAndClouds-BW.png
    3. On that B&W layer, I used the Magic Wand with a "Tolerance" of 35, and set to "Anti-alias" and de-sesected "Contiguous" to select the sky.
    4. Then, I used Selection...Refine Edge with these settings:  Smooth 0px, Feather 0.0px, Contract/Expand +15%.
    5. I used the Selection Brush Tool in "Selection" mode to clean up the selection -- eliminating areas in the foreground, middle ground and tree trunks, etc, that had been selected by the Magic Wand.
    6. Then, working on the other Background copy layer, I deleted that fixed-up (sky) selection.
    7. I pasted in a cloud photo on its own layer.  The layers wound up looking like this:
      TreeAndClouds-layers.png

     

    Here's the final result:
    TreeAndClouds-final.png

     

    There still are some white artifacts around some small details.  I think that by experimenting with the B&W conversion and its contrast and levels, the sky selection could be made more accurately and those artifacts eliminated.  However, I ain't gettin' paid for this so I'll stop....

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 1:27 AM   in reply to SMiller_81567

    This example isn't nearly as nice to look at as photodrawken's (nice job), but shows

    a slightly different way as described here:

     

    http://kb2.adobe.com/community/publishing/502/cpsid_50242.html

     

     

    before:

     

    sky-1a.jpg

     

     

    layers palette:

     

    sky-2.png

     

     

    after sky replacement:

     

    sky-1.jpg

     

     

     

    Just two things:

     

    1. use a levels adjustment layer instead of a curves layer

     

    2. where is says select the bottom most layer and add a curves adjustment layer, that

        means the bottom sky layer.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    MTSTUNER

     
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    Aug 16, 2011 2:17 PM   in reply to MTSTUNER

    That'll work for that sample image.  It seems to me that the key (no matter what method is used) is to get an accurate selection of either the sky or the foliage.  I want to avoid as much "hand painting" as I can, and let PSE compute the selection.

     

    I'm thinking that there could be another way of getting that selection -- by defining a mask.  Perhaps by duplicating the original a few times and merging them with the "Multiply" mode?  That might be a way of dropping out the whites and converting the rest to essentially black while preserving all the fine details.  Will experiment with this....

     

    How did you get the mask for your "new sky" layer?

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 10:32 PM   in reply to photodrawken

    The method i used above works best with images where the sky is totally blown out

    and the horizon is well defined and your wiiling to make the sky kinda light as opposed to

    a real dark sky as in your example, it doesn't work so well for images like the one you used.

     

    The darken mode on the first sky layer and painting black to the tree line (horizon) on the

    sky layer copy sorta makes the mask and levels layer removes most of the remaining sky

    from the trees and buildings. I had to add a layer mask to the the sky layer because there

    was so much white in the building and removing using the levels layer would have made

    to sky to light.

     

    The other layer that says darken flag pole was done with a shadow/highlights

    adjustment , well pse 2's version of the shadow/highlights, because the pole and the mini

    rotundra were so blown out. And top layer straighten was a merged copy using the

    perspective, rotate and free transform to make the bulding look a little better.

     

     

    MTSTUNER

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 11:04 PM   in reply to photodrawken

    Making a mask for the image you posted is not easy in photoshop elements, so

    i kinda cheated by using a plugin called Mac's Remove White filter which is free.

     

    http://www.pspug.org/filters/filtersff.shtml

     

     

    1. Duplicated the background layer and ran the remove white filter to create a mask.

     

    field-sky-1.jpg

     

    2. Put the new sky below the remove white layer.

     

    treeswith-new-sky.jpg

     

    3. Turned of the visibility of all the layers except the background layer and defined a pattern

       from that layer. (pse doesn't have history brush, so a pattern makes a good substitute)

     

    4. Made the layers visible and made a merged copy for the restore from history layer.

     

    5. Selected the Pattern Stamp Tool set to aligned and that pattern and painted back

        in the areas the plugin removed and over the blue in the trees.

     

    field-sky-2.png

     

     

    field-sky-3.jpg

     

     

     

     

     

    MTSTUNER

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 11:03 PM   in reply to MTSTUNER

    Thanks for the explanation.

     

    I fooled around with the idea of creating a mask by first making 4 copies of the image and successively blending them with "Linear Burn" and merging them down, one by one.  That worked OK to get a high contrast image that I converted to B&W, then used Levels to eliminate the grays.  The result was a very good image to use for selecting the trees (or sky), and I could use that to create a mask for the image to let the clouds show through.

     

    However, after a few hours of playing around, I still wound up with "ghostly" looking branches (the thinnest branches).  It turns out that in the original image the fine tracery of the small branches is mostly shades of gray.  That's not a problem in the original image, where the sky is pale gray, but after applying a dark sky, those gray branches looked awful.

     

    So, the image I chose is the limiting factor here.  If I add a dark sky, I'm forced to "squeeze" down the width of the branches to the point where the thinnest ones are lost.  This is what I showed in the final image in my previous post, and that final image is pretty much the best that can be done given the original image and the desire to add in a dark sky.

     

    Whew!  Did more stuff with levels, conversions, selections, contractions, feathering, etc., than I expected!

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 16, 2011 11:13 PM   in reply to MTSTUNER

    Bingo!  That's the way to do it -- your final image is the best one yet.  I always ignored that Remove White plug-in, because I thought I could accomplish the same using the built-in PSE tools, but your example disproves that theory.

     

    Thanks also for the tip about creating a pattern for adding back in the image areas.   That'll come in handy.

     

    I'll give it a try and see how it works when using a sky photo with dark sky showing behind the upper branches....

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 5:00 AM   in reply to MTSTUNER

    There's another similar filter KillWhite at http://yaelmaritz.com/extras.php

     

    I'll try your steps with the tree example and see if I get similar results with KillWhite.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 7:05 AM   in reply to Mark Sand

    Caution:

     

    Mac's white filter raised havoc with PSEv.8 on WIN 7 on my machine.

    I deleted the 8BF and everything is back to normal.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 1:52 PM   in reply to hatstead

    Same here with PSE9 on Win7 x64.  I'll be looking for an alternative.

     

    Ken

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 7:30 PM   in reply to Mark Sand

    Mark,

    Thanks for that link to KillWhite.  It works perfectly here.

     

    Here's the final result, and it looks very good.  Just a little wonkiness in the leaves on the upper right:

    Autumn-Trees-KWfinal.png

     

    Couldn't be simpler -- these are the layers:
    Autumn-Trees-KW-layersl.png

     

    N.B.:  There is a noticeable tradeoff in quality when using the KillWhite filter, however.  It reduces the white component of the pixels throughout the entire image, resulting in a noticeable colour shift and value change (darker).  The right side of this image is the original, the left side has been processed with KillWhite:
    Autumn-Trees-comparison.png

     

    Ken

     

    Added:

    Just noticed that the large tree trunks were blown out by KillWhite and the blue sky is showing through them.  Will need to use MTSTUNER's method of implementing a Pattern Stamp to restore the original trunks.

     

    Message was edited by: photodrawken -- Additional thoughts.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 17, 2011 7:51 PM   in reply to photodrawken

    Aha!  I discovered that the KillWhite filter will respect a selection, so I didn't need to set up a Pattern Stamp as a history tool to restore parts of the original image.  Before using KillWhite, I simply used the Selection Brush tool (in "Mask" mode) to protect areas of the image:
    Trees-and-Clouds-mask.png

     

    Then, applying KillWhite gives this result:
    Trees-and-Clouds-02-final.png

     

    Much better!

     

    Ken

     
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    Apr 24, 2012 6:16 AM   in reply to SMiller_81567
     
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    Apr 24, 2012 8:37 AM   in reply to PeterH.

    Ja, alle die Arbeit wurde wirklich gemacht mit PSE und das Plug-in, die erwähnt wurde.

     

    Ken

     
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