How To Add Sky Overlays To A Tricky Skyline
Sky overlays are awesome! They can take an OK photo and turn it into something that is truly amazing. You probably have learned a few ways already to add in a sky (if not, not biggie..you’ll learn here), but what happens where your skyline is tricky? Maybe there are a lot of trees or other objects in the way. Or maybe the sky line isn’t perfectly straight on the horizon. Those things could keep you from creating a believable sky with your overlay. Let’s learn how to make it easy if that happens so you know exactly what you can do!
Add The Sky
First, place the sky over your photo. Use the move tool to place it exactly over the area you’d like it to be. (File>Place Embed)
Adjust the Sky
Want it lighter? This is a common issue photographers face when trying to make their sky look realistic. To make it lighter, just decrease the opacity to your liking. See video below.
Take the Sky Off Tricky Areas
There are a couple ways to do this.
First start by simply grabbing your gradient tool and dragging it up. Horizon lines in real life are naturally lighter so the gradient will make the sky look more realistic. Hopefully this will clear the sky off any objects, but if not keep reading.
Change the Blend Mode
Second, you can always turn the blending mode of your sky to multiply. A lot of the time, simply doing this will make the sky blend nicely and realistically with any tricky objects in the background. Just make sure to adjust the opacity too!
Work a little bit of magic
This last technique is a bit trickier, but you can do it, I know you can! Double click inside the sky adjustment layer (not right on the sky in the layer, but off to the side- see video below ) A new window will pop up. This next part will take some practice and will be different for every photo.
IN this new window, look toward the bottom. In the “blend if” area choose gray . Then, click on the dark triangle on the “underlying layer” slider. Move the arrows to the right until you see the sky disappear from the trees in your photo. If you need a little extra, hit the ALT key as you do this and it will drag even more off.
To pull even more of the sky off, change the “blend if” area color to blue and do the same thing. (If this step seems a little confusing to read, I show you step by step in the short tutorial below)
Using one, two or all three of these techniques should help you clean up the areas of the sky that are tricky.
Give it a try! It does take a little practice, but you’ve got this!
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