trying to replace this sky with a much nicer one

GL
Posted By
glenn_losack
Sep 27, 2006
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807
Replies
29
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Closed
The sky has grain noise and those omnipresent palm trees. I have used channel blue duplicated it and since there are underlying grain i cant get the sky totally white. I used a feather of 2. and i tried with levels on the sky layer mask to make the fringes and dots disappear to no avail. How could i get the cleanest selection of the sky
(((WHITE))) and the palms and rest of the photo ((BLACK))),’the big problem is that dirty sky difficulty totally isolating it from the bottom area so that i can place into a new sky. This dilemma comes up so often i have got to have an answer. PLEASE… all examples of doing this from tutorials or books
have idyllic situations. My grainy sky is not!
thanks
gl

< http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1tJSUePkcl3VC59aCo WSyUKbYyIe4E>

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AR
alan_ruta
Sep 27, 2006
You need to try FluidMask (VirtusTech) or Knockout (Corel) to get the best luminance mask.

FluidMask has a demo that doesn’t allow you to save but you should get an idea of how it will work.

alan
WG
Welles_Goodrich
Sep 27, 2006
I think I could get an excellent result in Photoshop on that image by using a two step approach. First I would use a series of selection tools (including the magnetic lasso for starters) to select everything beneath the skyline (camel, landscape etc. ) I’d copy that to a new layer. Next, on the original background layer (made into a floating layer so it supports transparency) I’d use the Color Range selection tool and while holding down the shift key use the eyedropper tool to select all over the sky. You’d see all the sky eventually get selected, but not the trees in the skyline. After loading the selection and deleting to make the sky go away, between the copied layer and the Color Range layer you would have eliminated the sky while maintaining all the trees.

My reason for selecting and creating the first copied layer is so all you have to worry about is the relationship of the trees to sky in the color range layer. No doubt Color Range will pick up quite a few colors in the foreground when the sky is selected and you eliminate lots of work by just copying all the stuff you don’t want touched to a new layer before you start.
GL
glenn_losack
Sep 27, 2006
WG
appreciate this tried and true but not in this baby !
the sky will not all get selected!
maybe you could prove it by doing it
the sky is not one color or one texture
and after what seems like a good select there are pixels all over the sky and the trees have that white fringe

I dare you to do it!

thanks anyway

FLUID MASK looks great can you lend me 250
AR
alan_ruta
Sep 27, 2006
Glenn,

profile me and get my email address and email me.

I made a mask real quick using knockout. You will have to manually brush ot the sand area but the palms are okay. I have two. There are so may jpeg artifacts.

alan
DK
Doug_Katz
Sep 27, 2006
Glenn, first off, l love the photo. Second, have you tried finding the most high contrast channel, duplicating it, increasing its contrast further (with curves or even levels) and defining your selection this way? I often (not always by any means, but often) can grab just the right pixels for a selection or mask with this approach. This photo may be a candidate.
GL
glenn_losack
Sep 27, 2006
Doug
yes i went with the blue channel
but the artifacts the grain gets in the way
or im not doing it right
thanks for the very kind words
if you like this one
you will absolutely love
www.glennlosackmd.com
WG
Welles_Goodrich
Sep 27, 2006
Glenn,

Your were right. That is not as simple an image as I supposed, primarily because of the intense JPEG artifacting which Alan mentions. Here’s a 20 minute job. There were a couple of extra steps involved including getting the palm trees on their own layer, looking at them with a solid black layer behind to see left over artifacts, erasing, and then using a blur tool brush set to darken (and use all layers) over the light parts. I’m not uploading a big version as that was 600K or so. Here’s a 50% size. I just used a gradient for a sample replacement sky.

<http://homepage.mac.com/wellesgoodrich/SkyReplace.jpg>

Now I’m back to moving firewood!
DK
Doug_Katz
Sep 27, 2006
Glenn, I’ve been. A while back. I know.
B
Buko
Sep 27, 2006
this is about 15 min.

<http://www.bybuko.com/test_mask.jpg>

I could have spent a bit more time around the trees but most of this was done by making a new layer bringing up the shadows and increasing the highlight. Then using color range to select the sky and delete it.
PT
Phil_Taz
Sep 27, 2006
< http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1ktCzRYxZfy5wIxZwU BlBMafAqrgd>

3 minutes….I know the sky is plain, but would pass for brochure work…..

The hot trick is

1. use select color range….

< http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1BMUNC8o3LFF23mw7Z 7GxcWG9UGxn1>

Using the add selection here is the key….you will have to do a little tidying up but it is excellent for this kind of thing.

2. feather the mask by 2 px

3. do not delete the old sky

4. sample a light blue from the sky as foreground color

5. sample a dark blue from sky as background colour

6. create new layer

7. create new group from that layer (set to normal instead of passthrough)

8. add mask to that new group

9. go to the new layer

10. filter/render/clouds (and then distort that layer to give some perspective)

11. add another new layer within that new group on top of new sky

12. with dark color as foreground palette, fill with gradient (foreground to transparent)

13 distort that layer to taste

Actually took longer to write this than to do it!

There are a couple of useful things here for new users…..the soft edge created by the feather allows a nice blend of old and new;

not deleting the original sky means not having to create a hard mask and saves LOTS of time.

selecting color range is a very useful technique and fast, once you get the basic color area selected, it is simple to tidy up with marquee tools, just swoop around the little holes with add/subtract mode as needed.

This is a quickie, the techniques suggested by the others are aimed at a better result but this is pretty good and FAST.

HTH
GL
glenn_losack
Sep 28, 2006
Buko phil

am so jealous of the both of you if only i had your experience and know how

will go thru these recommendations slowly and ask you for some help if you dont mind

thanks so much

when am i going to learn how to do difficult skies????
AW
Allen_Wicks
Sep 28, 2006
This took about 30 seconds with the magic wand tool set to 22. I did not bother to add a sky or fully detail the sky areas among the palms. I use Corel’s KnockOut 2 for difficult higher technical quality images.

< < http://www.pixentral.com/show.php?picture=1tVJd9ICigbf8WDTWz xBdOvMVpHmI0>>

I live at 6000 feet and still have not ordered the damn firewood because I am not fond of stacking it, which requires semi-annual house rearranging.
R
Ram
Sep 28, 2006
Insolent question:

Why are the camel, the kneeling man and the palms throwing shadows in opposite, different directions?

Just curious.
AR
alan_ruta
Sep 28, 2006
Obviously the shot was taken on another planet, a planet with grainy skies and 2 suns.
CB
charles badland
Sep 28, 2006
Why are the camel, the kneeling man and the palms casting shadows in opposite, different directions?

I think there is a camel, just out of view on the right, casting the main shadow in the foreground.
R
Ram
Sep 28, 2006
…there is a camel, just out of view on the right, casting the main shadow in the foreground.

Yeah, if it’s standing on a flagpole. 😀
R
Ram
Sep 28, 2006
Charles,

Scroll horizontally. The image is wider than it shows. The shadow does NOT reach the edge of the picture.
CB
charles badland
Sep 28, 2006
Scroll horizontally. The image is wider than it shows. The shadow does NOT reach the edge of the picture.

I disagree.
I see two skinny camel leg shadows running right through the little pile of… um,… "camel berries" on the right edge of the picture. 😉
D
Dirk
Sep 28, 2006
It’s a conspiracy! They are left over shadows from when men supposedly walked on the moon…

…they must of filmed the moon walk in that desert
B
BranderChatfield
Sep 28, 2006
From Phil: 10. filter/render/clouds (and then distort that layer to give some perspective)

Jeepers, I had never thought about doing the distortion perspective and always was less than thrilled with the cloud rendering. Thanks for a new insight!
GL
glenn_losack
Sep 28, 2006
Hello to you all & thank you for your ongoing help which i and others appreciate. THough i have to admit i wish you would explain how to do things as if you were layman so that people like me could learn and not just marvel at your skills and sophisticated use of the program.

there seems to be much discussion here and im glad if i instigated that. I quote!
Why are the camel, the kneeling man and the palms casting shadows in opposite, different directions?

I am holding the actual negative 200 fujicolor in my hands, both camel and praying man are there. I have made no manipulation at all!!! My honest and truthful wife is standing here and can vouch for this.
Again i want to get a clean spotless selection of the sky and cannot. All the attempts i have seen have in some way or the other lost some detail from the PALM trees. what can i say, i have seen fluid mask and it seems like i might have to spend 250 dollars. I wonder if pshop CS3 will have some way of doing this easier?

anyone interested in going step by step instead of paraphrasing would win a place in my heart and soul forever.

thanks for everything

glenn losack
www.glennlosackmd.com
the absolutely marvelous photography of glenn losack
B
Buko
Sep 28, 2006
Glenn,

try this.

take the image and dupe the background into a new layer. you now have 2 layers.

make a new blank layer above the background so that it is in between the 2 layers. make this layer red. by having a drastically different color behind the image you are deleting you can easily see where you need to clean things up.

Now go back to your copy of the background. open levels or curves and boost the highlights and shadows. you now have a contrasty image. now you can use color range to select the sky and delete it. you can the trees and sand and camel black if you wish. you will need to paint in the white bits on the camels blanket. now on a new layer above the background paste in the new sky in the mask you just made.
P
Phosphor
Sep 28, 2006
Have a look at the tutorial by Anson Vogt at Phong.com, linked in the following thread. Lots of other good masking and selection info is linked there too. Check out the entire thread:

Phosphor.Digital, "Advanced masking and isolation" #4, 27 Sep 2005 12:26 pm </cgi-bin/webx?14/3>
GL
glenn_losack
Sep 28, 2006
Buko
wow think i got somewhere here…. havent got a clue what made this work but it did!

followed this as close as i could then had to fix things up at the end like get rid of the red layer

BUT

it works great I THINK

youre a genius!
let me go slowly at this again and see what i did here so i can replicate it in the future but the trees look detailed as is the sky

buko thanks
B
BranderChatfield
Sep 28, 2006
For selecting around the palm trees, try this link from CreativePro:

Photoshop How-To: Sophisticated Selections Made Simple

by Mark S. Johnson
Mark S. Johnson Photography | Radiant Vista

Need to select hair or fur in a photo? Forget the Magic Wand or Lasso Tool. There’s a much better way.

< http://www.creativepro.com/story/howto/24159.html?cprose=dai ly>
B
Buko
Sep 28, 2006
like get rid of the red layer

the red layer is only an aid to help you see how you are doing.

now try feathering the selection where the sky goes 1 or 2 pixels.
P
Phosphor
Sep 29, 2006
The link Brander posted is also included in the thread I linked to above.
JS
John_Slate
Sep 29, 2006
The heck with the shadows.

I wonder if that camel-driver is eating the same thing as the camel?
B
BranderChatfield
Sep 29, 2006
Whoops, sorry, Phos.

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