Replace A Sky using Photoshop Elements

I created this tutorial (back in 2008) for someone who asked specifically for a way to make a better sky using Photoshop Elements (back then, it was PSE V. 6 and V.7) which was a little more limited than the Photoshop’s full offering, and many of the tools were located under different menu items on the PSE version..  This tutorial for replacing a sky used Photoshop Elements 7. Usually I work in Photoshop CS (currently, I still use CS5) but I also owned a copy of Photoshop Elements back then (well, I still have it but haven’t loaded it onto my newer computer since I don’t really use it.)  I think today, even Photoshop Elements is probably a lot more advanced than it was at the time I created this tutorial, but this tutorial can also be used in Photoshop, so it still can many downloads.

An image with trees after replacing the background sky.At the time I created the tutorial, I also discovered there were tools in Photoshop CS that didn’t exist in Elements, so some of my other tutorials might be a little difficult to complete for Elements users.  couldn’t find the pen tool (though I’ve only used Elements once to write the tutorial, so it requires a more in-depth look through), nor could I find the quick mask, which I use fairly often. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t gone back and used PSE for anything and it’s probably about time to rewrite this tutorial using Photoshop CS 5 since it’s more advanced and I use several different methods now when I need to replace a sky.

So, for beginners in editing, or new users of Elements or Photoshop, this tutorial should still help you get started. The technique used for replacing the sky can be used to replace any background.

There are other methods for replacing a sky, but I opted for this method for two reasons: one, it was something I could achieve quickly in PSE and two, it will hopefully allow beginners in image editing to feel confident enough to experiment with some of their own methods.  To be really honest about it, replacing a sky is really only “easy” when you don’t have a lot of small elements in the image, such as trees, shrubs or grasses. Replacing skies in images with large buildings and roof lines may be time consuming when coming up close to the details, but is still much quicker and simpler than replacing a sky behind a bunch of trees.

Download the pdf containing instructions and screenshots from here.


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