Quick Fix – Turn Gray Skies Blue in less than a Minute.

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Services for Real Estate Pros with CPG Tours
http://actvra.in/Ydw

I’ve seen various articles, tutorials, and blog posts on how to fix or replace a blown-out sky. So, this topic is nothing new. However, this may be the fastest way there is to do it. And it can be done without any magic wands, layer masks, extraction tools, or even any pictures of a sky. All in less than one minute.

I’m going to be using Photoshop CS2, but there should be ways to accomplish the same thing in Photoshop Elements.

For the main photo, I obviously wanted one with a washed-out sky. But, to show how well this technique works, I also wanted one that has a lot of intricate detail - like the leaves on the trees, which can often be problematic and difficult to work around.

Okay, are you ready? Let’s get started.

Step #1: Open your photo and duplicate the layer. In Photoshop CS2, there are four different ways I know of to duplicate a layer. But instead of going through all of them, just select your background layer and right-click on it. You’ll see the Duplicate Layer option.

Step #2: Next, select your rectangle Marquee Tool in your toolbar (see red oval above) and draw a box around the sky area you want to replace. If you notice the little ‘marching ants’ you’ll see I’ve selected the top half of this photo.

 




Step #3: Now, go to Image>Adjustment>Selective Color, which will open up a separate little control window (see below image). Go to Colors at the top of that window and select White. Now, just use your Cyan and Magenta sliders to add color until you get a shade of blue you like, and click OK. I have found that typically cyan is going to be about 10% higher than the magenta to get a nice natural looking blue.

Step #4: The only thing left to do is select your Eraser Tool (see red oval on left) and erase any residual blue in areas it shouldn’t be. In this photo, you can see there’s some blue on the right side of the house that needs to be removed. There’s also some on the front windows. Now, if I wanted to have more accurate ‘reflections’ in those windows, I could always leave that blue and just erase it off the window panes.

 

 

But either way, you’re done. That’s all there is to it. Gray skies turned blue in less than a minute.

 

 

However, to have thing a little more realistic looking, I created my own ‘clouds’ brush that’s now part of my permanent brush set. So, with a couple of extra clicks I can add some clouds and have a pretty nice looking sky – all without any magic wands, layer masks, extraction tools, or even any pictures of a sky.

And it can all be done in less than one minute.

Hopefully, you found this helpful. Maybe my next tutorial will be how to make your own cloud brush and clouds. They can come in very handy.

 

 

 

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  1. John Palmisano 02/22/2009 10:06 AM
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Rainer
15,305
John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL

Mike a film colorist, Spirit, DaVinci, Cintel, and Scratch. I will check out the other site.

January 20, 2009 08:51 PM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi John: Ahhh...all the big stuff. That's what I thought.  : )

January 21, 2009 06:34 AM
Rainer
15,305
John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL

Hi Mike, yes but I still have trouble programming a VCR, LOL.

January 21, 2009 06:56 AM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi John: That's because you're suppose to be using a DVD player, and they don't need progamming. (lol-lol)

January 21, 2009 07:10 AM
Rainmaker
127,729
Vicki Burton
A local Buyer's Agent - Southport NC Real Estate
Southport Realty-Southport, North Carolina

Hi John. I probably one of the few who doesn't have photoshop. That's a neat trick! I use Picnik for resizing and editing. It's free and has great features but no way to edit just the sky. So whenever we have one of those great bright Carolina Blue sky days, I think oooh....  gotta go take pictures! Great tutorial.

January 30, 2009 09:11 AM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi Vicki: Thanks for the comment. I thought the Carolinas always had blue skies. I haven't tried Picnik, but I'm one who likes a LOT retouching tools. Here's an example of a retouch job I just did for a magazine. It has nothing to do with real estate, but was fun to do.

February 02, 2009 06:14 AM
Rainer
207,933
James Wexler
wexzilla.com

thanks for the very cool, and really helpful , tips and tricks, this will help me out a lot, have a great rest of the weekend

February 12, 2009 09:01 AM
Anonymous #35
Anonymous
Anonymous

Ahhh Michael - you are so good and we need you here on Active|Rain.  Realizing it can be time consuming, if you could even do one tutorial a week and show us some of your work...I think a whole bunch of people could benefit.  Thanks so much for the call back,  you're a great guy :-) BTW, if you check in with our submissions on Speechless Sundays and Wordless Wednesdays, I think you'll find some of us asking for constructive critique...especially me!!!  Looking forward to "more Michael"

February 12, 2009 07:46 PM
Rainer
15,305
John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL

Michael, just used your trick on a new listing. Worked out great. thank you for the information.

I also used a vignette to add to the overall shot.

JohnP

February 21, 2009 05:18 PM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi John: Thank you for the comment. And glad to hear it worked well for you. I too sometimes use a slight vignette, just to bring a little more focus to the center of the picture.

I'm in the process of writing a few more posts on some Quick-Fix things that can be done to make a photo a little nicer. When I get those done, if they prove to be of any value, you can thank Gail MacMillian as she's been 'encouraging' me to write some more.  ; )

February 22, 2009 07:45 AM
Rainer
15,305
John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL

Hi Michael, Please write some more post. I use Photoshop 7 and I am always looking for additional knowledge. I appreciate your time and knowledge on this subject. You have a great day.

 

Sincerely,

 

John Palmisano

Keller Williams

Weston, Fl  33326

February 22, 2009 10:04 AM
Rainer
15,305
John Palmisano
Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL

Michael, P>S. I use to work with a great editor here in Miami named Michael Cole. he is an owner of a company called 2150 in Miami.

 

February 22, 2009 10:07 AM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi John: Thank you. Actually I just posted another article this morning. Quick-Fix-That-ugly-yellow-orange-cast-in-my-pictures I haven't used Photoshop 7 for quite some time, so I don't recall if it has the tools referenced in this tutorial or not. Hopefully it does.

You used to work with someone named Michael Cole? As long as he was a good guy...  : )

February 22, 2009 12:18 PM
Rainmaker
605,639
Sharon Simms
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS
Coastal Properties Group International

Michael - what a timesaver not to have to retake photos on a day with blue skies. Fortunately here in Florida most days have blue skies.

February 28, 2009 08:58 PM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi Sharon: Thank you for the comment. Yeah, we have a lot of blue sky days in CA too. But often they come out looking gray or hazy in photos. : )

March 01, 2009 06:20 AM
Rainmaker
291,777
Kathy McGraw
Riverside County CA Real Estate
CELLing Realty

Michael- Great tutorial....I have never really tried so many of the tools in my Photoshop or any of the other programs I have.  But your tutorials (this is the 3rd on I just read) look very easy.  Does this work with PS6?

March 27, 2009 04:43 PM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi Kathy: Thank you for the compliment, and for reading my tutorials. I'm trying to writes tips that are easy for most anyone to do, but that will have a big impact on how their photos look. It's been so long since I've worked in PS6, I don't recall if it has Selective Color or not. But I believe it does. So, it should work the same way.

March 27, 2009 06:39 PM
Rainer
11,713
Interactive 360° Virtual Tour provider for SW Michigan/360 Vision
360 Vision

Hi Michael, if you ever get bored and wanted to teach us another trick...the process of the custom brush and adding clouds would be a good topic...I can't believe how real those look.  Great Job!!  You're very talented!!

Les Morehead Jr

360 Vision logo

www.360-virtualtours.com

Interactive 360° Virtual Tour provider

April 14, 2009 04:31 AM
Rainer
121,635
Michael Cole
CPG Tours

Hi Les: Thanks for stopping by, and for the idea. I've been wondering what I could write about next, and creating clouds and sky might be a good topic. A little more complex than others tips I've written about, but it could certainly be useful for people. Again, thanks for the idea (and the compliment).

April 14, 2009 05:58 AM
Anonymous #47
Anonymous
karen

Hi Michael,

how do you make the clouds for the sky using cs2...your ideas are wonderful!

March 22, 2013 03:25 PM
Anonymous
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Rainer
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