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2.1 Sky Replacement in Photoshop

All right, it's time to get started in Introduction to Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. And there is no better place to start off than by doing a sky replacement. The starting canvas ratio is going to be about 16 to 9 with the exact pixel dimensions being 4815 by 2708. However, you can always size down if you find this to be a little larger than you might need. So first, let's bring a bit more interest and detail into the sky. When dealing with a flat gray sky like this one, my favorite trick is to do a sky replacement and add in some dynamic clouds. To do this, we will be using a mix of both of the blend modes and layer adjustments. Let's place the alternate sky on top of our base image, setting its layer mode to darken. Different image combos will call for different layer modes. So always feel free to flip through each mode and see what works best. Now go ahead and match the two images' horizon lines. The horizon line is where the sky meets the ground or water in our case. Next, select the new sky layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Setting the brightness to 31, helping the sky blend much better, and the contrast to 9 to give the sky a bit more punch. As our image is a smart object, we can go back and change the settings at any time. So feel free to tinker with these or any other settings going forward. Finishing up the blending by selecting the lake layer and again, going to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Setting the brightness to 49 and the contrast to -50 will make the hills in the background a bit more hazy looking, a bit more far off looking. Let's add some deepness to the sky by adding a dark blue hue to the upper portion of the canvas. Go ahead and create a new layer, setting its layer mode to Soft Light. Now using a muted, medium blue color, paint towards the upper middle portion of the sky using a large soft round brush. I like to keep my brush's flow rate nice and low so I can build things up slowly. You will hear me go on and on about how great low flow rates are. If you don't know what flow is, flow allows you to build up paint over and over again with each pass of the brush. The lower the flow rate, the less paint will be placed at once, giving you much more control, hence why I'm a big fan. Now deepen the sky even more by creating a new layer, also setting it to Soft Light, and repeating the same technique, only this time using a darker navy blue. Let's lower the opacity of this darker layer to around 65%. I always encourage creating multiple layers, as this gives you not only more variation in color and contrast, but more overall control. Most of my composites go well over the 100 layer mark. So if you feel the need to use five layers just to make a sky that perfect shade of blue, I say go for it. So with our base done, let's start adding in our star and moon elements in the next video. See you soon.

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