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Instructor Richard Harrington shows you how to use Photoshop to create more dramatic skies. Distributed by Tubemogul.
Tags:How to Create Dramatic Skies with Photoshop,adobe,cs3,harrington,photo,photoshop,pixel,rhed,rich,richard,training
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Hi, my name is Richard Harrington and welcome to another edition of understanding Adobe Photoshop.
Today, we are going to take a look at a way to create dramatic clouds. Now, this is going to take the image that we have and really make the clouds impact-full like a pending storm or just the big bellowing day. So, let us see how we could do this quickly and easily. Take the existing details on the image and really make them pop.
Now, I have opened an image with some clouds in it. You can use your own. This image is okay but it’s fairly flat. The first thing I want to do is get rid of the distracting elements which are the branches that are sort of spilling in. So to do this, we will grab our stamp tool here and what we are going to do is some clone stamping. Get a nice big brush right bracket and make sure it is a soft edge so you can go ahead here and click and play with the hardness slider, set that down in a nice softness there. Option click the setter source point and then just simply clone over, that works well. Let us sample from up here and do the same thing. And by using a nice soft edge brush, you get that nice and believable.
I will often go back a few times and set the brush to a lower opacity like 20% and steal some details from other areas of the picture. So, this looks little more random by blending this in a few times with a couple of strokes, you avoid that cloned look where it looks like you just took a part of the image and pasted it on the other side. So, the secret is to go ahead and clone and then go back with a low opacity clone and randomly steal from parts of the photo to build up to a more elaborate-cloned texture.
Now, this is working pretty well, we are going to do a little bit of quick experimentation. I am going to duplicate the layer by pressing Command “J” which will jump on a PC: Control “J” we will do the same thing. And we are going to go ahead and load up our gush and blur filter. And punch that to a really dramatic blur. And then, let us play with blend modes. Remember, the easiest way to play with blend modes is to select the move tool and use the shortcut shift-+ and step through. You notice their blur is beautiful. We are really getting nice skies. And these are other modes are doing interesting things as well. Overlay in soft light are nice but I really think that color burn mode is going to do the trick. Let us just step back around and take one last look. That looks really good. Of course it is throwing the clock tower into absolute shadows. So, let us find the half in the middle.
I will turn this layer off for a second. What we need to do is make a selection. One of the advance selection techniques is the calculations command and this works really well. I will go ahead and choose image calculations. And what we want to do here is combine two channels to make a new selection. I am going to take the blue channel where a lot of the cloud detail is. And combine it with an inverted copy of the red channel. Now, you then just experiment with different color modes here and what we are trying to do is get a clear separation between the building and the sky. And you may have to experiment a little bit trying out differently modes but eventually you’ll find one that works pretty well.
Now, hard light mode is working pretty well here. So, let us go ahead and make a new channel but before we do that we will try the green channel first and see if it makes a big difference. Not really, so let us just go ahead and click okay. And if we switch over to our channels pallet, you will see we have an alpha channel. With the alpha channel selected, press command or control “L” for levels and we are going to play with this. Pull that in so the building goes pretty dark and then pull the white slider in so the sky gets overexposed. And you see as we play there, with just a little bit of tweaking, we can get a good selection. I will click okay, grab my paint brush and paint a little bit with black here just to get that nice and clean, flip over the white and paint a little bit of that. And we have got a great selection now. Command click to load and you see we have selected the sky. I could turn the alpha channel off and go back to the RGB channels. And let us look at our layers pallet.
There we go; we have got the sky selected and not the building. We could then simply add a layer mask to that layer. And you’ll see what happens is that the building has remained untouched while the sky is going all dramatic. Now, this is a great looking sky but I am going to tone it down just a little bit by lowering the opacity of that layer to about 75%. Now the sky is gray but the building itself is a little washed out. So, let us go after that. Let us choose select, reselect and we will select inverse that so just the building is selected. We will add a hue saturation adjustment layer and put a little bit of saturation back into the building. So, it is a little bit more intense and matches the overall color values of the image itself. That is looking pretty good, select, reselect and we will add a quick levels adjustment layer. And let us just pull the blacks in there so they pop on that tower. Open up the middle a little bit and pull the whites in so they get a little bit brighter. There we go, that’s dramatic improvement. We will click okay and in our history pallet here make a quick snapshot. So, here is where we started, here is where we ended up and it really did not take that much work.
One of the things that I always like to emphasize about Photoshop is when you understand how the basic commands work. The advanced commands are not far away. Here, we combined super basic tools like clone stamp and the gush and blur filter with slightly more elaborate tools like layer masks and the end result is a much more impressive image that really captures the emotion of the subject.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of understanding Adobe Photoshop. My name is Richard Harrington and be sure to check out our resource blog at rastervector.com. We could find free tutorials and bonus information. You will also want to keep an eye out. We have a new book coming out that I think most of you will be interested in. Thanks again.