How to Re­place an un­wanted sky


1 Com­bine two im­ages

Use File > Open to browse to a shot that needs the sky re­plac­ing. Choose Select > All, then Edit > Copy. Open a photo with a more spec­tac­u­lar sky. Choose Edit > Paste to put both shots into sep­a­rate lay­ers in the same doc­u­ment.

2 Choose se­lec­tion tool

Switch to the Flood Select tool. Us­ing a tol­er­ance of 30 helps to select the church, while tick­ing the Con­tigu­ous box en­sures only con­nected black pix­els will be se­lected. Click in the photo to make a se­lec­tion. A mar­quee will ap­pear.

3 Cre­ate a layer mask

Choose Layer > New Mask layer. This at­taches a black and white mask. You can see a thumb­nail of it in the Lay­ers panel. The mask’s white sec­tions keep the se­lected pix­els vis­i­ble. The black parts make the rest of the layer trans­par­ent.

4 Mod­ify the mask

Use ç+D to de­s­e­lect the mar­quee. Some of the orig­i­nal ocean is vis­i­ble. Use the Rec­tan­gu­lar mar­quee tool to draw a se­lec­tion over the un­wanted sec­tion. Choose Edit > Fill. Set the cus­tom colour to black. Click Ap­ply to hide the se­lec­tion.

5 Blur the mask

å-click on the layer mask’s thumb­nail to see its black and white pix­els. Choose Fil­ter > Blur > Gaus­sian Blur. Set Ra­dius to 0.6. This blurs the edges of the mask, which helps make the sub­ject look less ‘cut-out’.

6 Copy the sun

Click on the Back­ground layer’s thumb­nail, then switch to the El­lip­ti­cal mar­quee tool. Hold ß and drag to draw a cir­cu­lar se­lec­tion around the sun and clouds. Press ç+J to copy the sun se­lec­tion to a new layer.

7 En­large the sun D

Press to de­s­e­lect the mar­quee. Click on the copied sun layer. Switch to the Move tool, then drag a cor­ner han­dle to in­crease the size of the sun. Go to Edit > Layer > New Mask Layer. A layer mask will at­tach it­self to the sun layer.

8 Blend the sun

Switch to the Paint Brush tool. Click on the copied sun layer’s mask thumb­nail to tar­get it, then open the Colour panel. Make sure the pri­mary colour is black. On the mask, spray over the edge of the cut-out sun layer to hide its pix­els.

9 Fine-tune the blend X

Black strokes hide the pix­els on the copied sun layer. Press to tog­gle to a white colour if you need to re­store any pix­els you’ve hid­den. This non-de­struc­tive edit­ing helps you blend the en­larged sun with the clouds on the layer be­low.

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