How To Make A Boring Sky Exciting In Photoshop
There’s always different techniques and methods we can try to bring more drama to skies in Photoshop. Usually, this involves adding a wash of colour or emphasising what is already there. But what if we have a particularly dull or flat sky? Here is one way that we can add realistic details into a sky the otherwise has none. Follow this quick 2-minute tutorial to learn how to make a boring sky exciting in Photoshop. We’ll also share some advice on how you can deepen the effect.
How Can We Deepen The Sky in Photoshop Using This Effect?
Repeat it. Don’t duplicate the cloud layer you previously made, instead make another brand new layer from scratch. Every time you use the Cloud filter the effect is different. We’re essentially using the Cloud filter to generate a mask for us. And seeing as the pattern different every time, the affected areas will differ for each and every layer.
This technique is an adventurous and exploratory one.
- Try different blend modes.
- Try a layer filled with colours.
- Vary the opacity of the layers.
- Stack layers in different orders.
Don’t be afraid to have a play around. If you make a mess of the process just hit Undo, or delete the layer and start again. The beauty of this is that the image probably wasn’t going to be used anyway because of its flat sky so you can more or less treat it like a blank canvas and go wild with it. We’re not damaging the original image because we’re working on individual layers so this is a completely non-destructive process. Now let’s fix enhance a dull sky in photoshop.
– Tutorial continued below –
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How To Make A Boring Sky Exciting In Photoshop Step-By-Step
1. With your image loaded into Photoshop, the first thing we do is add a new layer.
2. We fill this new layer with 50% grey by pressing SHIFT + BACKSPACE. Make sure your settings are the same as mine and click OK.
3. Now enter Quick Mask mode by clicking on the Icon or pressing Q on your keyboard.
4. Go to the Filter menu and select Render > Clouds.
5. Exit Quick Mask mode by hitting the icon again or pressing Q on your keyboard.
6. Now add a mask to your layer by clicking on the Add A Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
7. Click on the layer thumbnail to select the layer and not the mask.
8. Press Ctrl/Command +T to Transform the layer and drag the bottom of the layer to the Horizon and Press Enter.
9. Transform the layer by pressing Ctrl/Command +T. This time right-click on the layer and select Perspective.
10. Zoom out of the image and drag one of the top corners out from the image to give the impression of perspective distance to the layer and hit enter when you’re done.
(At this stage I used the quick select tool to make a rough selection of the sky. Then I inverted my selection (SHIFT + CTRL/Command + I) and selected the mask of the cloud filter layer. Selected the Brush tool with a black foreground and 100% opacity and painted our the mountains from the mask so they’re not affected by the technique.)
11. Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay.
12. Select the Paint Brush Tool by pressing B on your keyboard. Choose a black foreground and set the brush opacity to around 30%. Now paint the areas of the sky that you want to darken.
13. Change the foreground to white and paint the areas that you wish to brighten. Change the brush size and opacity to suit.
14. You can also add colour to the sky. I like the orange that is on the mountains on the left so I selected orange as my foreground colour and painted near the top of the mountain on the right to balance the colour with the composition.
What I like about this technique is that we paint lines that can help to point toward a focal point. I have used the black and white brush alternately and paint toward the centre of the image. This will help to guide the viewer’s eye.