It has never been easier to do sky replacements in Photoshop! Check out this jaw-dropping new tool that allows you to easily replace skies using A.I.
PTC Custom Skies
You can download the two PTC custom skies here.
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Sky Replacement Panel Fully Explained
The Sky Replacement is a new feature in Photoshop 2021, which uses Adobe Sensei, an Artificial Intelligence (AI), to analyze the image and select the sky.
You can find it under Select > Sky.
But there is an even more impressive feature that will use the same technology to replace the sky in your image.
To start using this new sky replacement feature, choose Edit > Sky Replacement.
From the Sky dropdown you can select a new sky for your photo from a collection of skies under 3 categories: Blue Skies, Spectacular, and Sunset.
You can also upload your own sky images as you will see later in this tutorial.
The best thing about this sky replacement feature in Photoshop is that all the sliders and controls will generate a corresponding Adjustment Layer, or Layer Mask.
Masking Sliders Explained
The first set of sliders in the Sky Replacement panel allow you to control the mask generated by the A.I,
The Shift Edge expands or contracts the sky’s mask edge.
The Fade Edge controls the blurring or sharpening of the mask edge.
The Sky Brush Explained
The Sky Brush controls the masking by allowing you to paint over areas you want to add or subtract from the mask.
You can think about it as painting on a layer mask to reveal or conceal more of the pixels on the selected layer.
In this case, adding to the mask will show more of the new sky, and subtracting from the mask will conceal the new sky.
Sky Adjustment Controls Explained
The Sky Adjustments section contains the Brightness, Temperature, and Scale sliders which adjust the appearance of the sky and help you achieve a realistic look.
- Brightness – controls the brightness or darkness of the sky, and becomes a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.
- Temperature – controls the coolness and warmth of the sky’s color, and becomes a Color Balance adjustment layer.
- Scale – controls the size of the new sky.
Note: You can control the positioning by using the Move tool in the Sky Replacement window.
The Flip checkbox flips the sky image horizontally, which allows you to match the light direction.
Foreground Adjustment Controls Explained
The Foreground Adjustments controls the foreground image, in this tutorial,it controls the appearance of the hill, the tiny house, and the trees.
The Lighting Mode makes the foreground darker or brighter to help blend with the background better. The two dropdown options are: Multiply, which darkens the foreground, and Screen, which lightens the foreground.
The Lighting Adjustment slider will darken or brighten the main background image where it blends with the new sky. As an Output, it will appear as a gray pixel layer and blend depending on the Lighting Mode selected.
The Color Adjustment slider harmonizes the background and foreground’s colors. It will output as a Curves adjustment layer.
Set the Output to New Layers to keep everything editable.
Sky Replacement Output Layers
Once you apply your sky replacement, you should see a group in the layers panel that contains all the adjustment layers, and masks generated by this adjustment.
From this point you can adjust any of these layers to further enhance your sky replacement in Photoshop.
How to Import Your Sky Images in to Photoshop Sky Replacement
To import your own sky images, choose Edit > Sky Replacement.
One method is by clicking on the Gear icon (you can access it through the drop-down menu for Sky options) and selecting Import Skies which only imports .SKY file type.
Import .jpg or .png sky images
To import images with .JPEG or .PNG file types instead, click on the + icon. Then locate your images in your computer. Currently, in Photoshop 2021, you can only import one image at a time to the Sky Replacement.
Use the Sky Replacement for a Realistic Day To Night Transformations
To do a realistic day to night transformation you could use the Sky Replacement in Photoshop.
Most sky replacement techniques look unnatural because they never take into account the sky. But as you will see, even with a simple color grade and a sky replacement you will get GREAT results!
Start by color grading your image by using a Color Lookup Adjustment Layer.
Go into the New Adjustment Layer icon and select Color Lookup.
Then, click on the 3DLUT File drop-down menu, and select either Moonlight.3DL or NightFromDay.CUBE to start the day to night transformation.
Depending on your image, you may have to further adjust this effect with the Hue and Saturation adjustment layer or Curves.
In this case I used the Hue and Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the image and the curves adjustment layer to darken the image.
You can then select your original background image, go into the Sky Replacement and add a night sky image. Then adjust the controls to match your background and output the layers when you’re done.
To truly make a convincing nighttime composite after applying the Sky Replacement, you can create glowing windows from indoor lighting and a soft glowing horizon to mimic light from a distance.
Replace Skies in Video with Photoshop
The Sky Replacement in Photoshop is very powerful, but unfortunately it doesn’t work on video layers or video groups.
But we can trick Photoshop into applying the sky replacement to video via a Smart Object!
Choose File > Open and choose your file from the window. You can only use video that was recorded on a tripod without moving. Photoshop cannot track the background.
If you have a more complex shot try using Adobe After Effects to replace the sky in video.
From your Layers panel, right-click on your video and convert it into a Smart Object. As a Smart Object photoshop will analyze the video layer and apply a sky replacement.
Then, you can choose Edit > Sky Replacement and it will replace the sky as it would with a photo. You can also enjoy editing the adjustments to enhance the scenery.
For a more compelling scene, you can add the reflection of the sky on the river water by selecting the Sky layer and pressing Ctrl J (Windows) or Command J (macOS) to duplicate.
Select the original layer and unlink it by clicking on the Unlink icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Then, delete the Layer Mask.
Now, you only have the sky which you can transform to flip it vertically, add a Layer Mask, and use the Brush tool to gradually reveal the sky “reflection.”
Then, change the Layer Opacity to Overlay.
For an added effect, open the Layer Style window to use the Blend-If option to hide the sky over the dark pixels in the water.
To do that, drag the Underlying layer’s black point to the left.
Then, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) to split the point in half and spread it out to achieve a gradual transition.
When you’re done editing the video, click on the Flyout menu icon and select Render Video.
With Photoshop’s new update, this is how you can easy enhance any of your landscape images or change the setting of any scenery!
Drag The Slider To See Before & After