Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9
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Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9

with Chad Chelius

Video: Making a blue sky

One of the most common image editing requests I hear from people is to be able to make the sky of an image blue, or in more cases than not, bluer than it currently is. Photoshop Elements 9 provides a tool that is pretty much built for this job. Let's take a look at how it works and how to refine it to suit your needs. I'm beginning this video from the Elements 9 Organizer and I'm going to do a quick Text Search for the word, Bridge. And as you can see there's image in here called bridge.jpg. So, I'm going to select this image and I want to edit this in the Photoshop Elements Editor. So, I'm going to come over to the Fix tab, click on the triangle to the right and choose Full Photo Edit.

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 9
3h 57m Beginner Nov 25, 2010

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Get quickly up to speed on Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. In this course, author Chad Chelius shows how to master the program's interface and shares techniques for organizing and sharing your images, cropping and straightening photos, creating collages and calendars, retouching images, and more.

Topics include:
  • Working with photos in the Organizer workspace
  • Understanding the Editor workspace
  • Organizing and sharing your images
  • Basic image editing
  • Understanding layers
  • Creating a photo collage
  • Using Photomerge
  • Removing unwanted items using Content-Aware Fill
  • Creating a greeting card or calendar
Subjects:
Photography video2brain
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Chad Chelius

Making a blue sky

One of the most common image editing requests I hear from people is to be able to make the sky of an image blue, or in more cases than not, bluer than it currently is. Photoshop Elements 9 provides a tool that is pretty much built for this job. Let's take a look at how it works and how to refine it to suit your needs. I'm beginning this video from the Elements 9 Organizer and I'm going to do a quick Text Search for the word, Bridge. And as you can see there's image in here called bridge.jpg. So, I'm going to select this image and I want to edit this in the Photoshop Elements Editor. So, I'm going to come over to the Fix tab, click on the triangle to the right and choose Full Photo Edit.

And when this opens in Photoshop Elements, I'm going to select a tool down here at the bottom called the Smart Brush tool. Now, if you don't currently see this icon, you can just Click and Hold on it and then select it by choosing it from the list. And the minute that you select this tool, you're presented with another panel that allows you to choose the adjustment that you want to apply. So, you can see that there's a number of different adjustments in here, and we can make, you know, grass and foliage greener.

We can do a high contrast red fill, we can do lipstick, teeth for pearly whites. We have a bunch of localized adjustments that can be used. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to come up to the top and I have an option called Blue Skies, so I'm going to double-click on that option and that's going to select that. Now if for some reason you select the wrong one, you can always come back up here to this icon, click on it, or choose a different one. So, I'll make sure that Blue Skies is selected. And the Smart Brush tool works off of a Brush Shape.

So, much like other tools in Photoshop Elements, it's based on a brush size. So, we can come up here to our Brush, and I can click on the triangle, and I can increase the size or decrease it. I can adjust it to suit my needs. So, I'm going to go with somewhere around a 100, maybe a little bit more. That looks pretty good. And then I'll click back on the Brush Picker to close it. And what I want to do is I basically want to paint in the area that I want to adjust. And Photoshop Elements is going to try to detect, you know, the boundaries and the contrast edge where it's going to be applied.

So, this is kind of like the Quick Selection tool, if you've used that before. But I'm just going to Click and Drag to start painting. And you can see that it's starting to detect the contrast edges and I'm just dragging across. And you can see that Photoshop Elements has detected the boundaries, or what it thinks are the boundaries. And when I let go of the mouse, it's automatically going to apply that nice blue hue to the sky area. Now, I'm going to Zoom In a little bit. I'll actually go into 100% so we can double-click on the Zoom tool to Zoom In here and I'll just hold down this Space bar to look at the different areas.

Now, I'm going to click on the Smart Brush tool again, and I'll just go ahead and close this, that's fine. But you see that we still have this area selected. Now, you can see how this is creeped in to the building here, and it's gone a little bit too far. S, what I'm going to do is I'm going to hold down Ctrl + Alt on Mac and I'm going to Click and Drag to make my brush smaller. If you're on Windows, you'll hold down Ctrl + Alt and you'll right-click and Drag. So, what I'm going to do to remove from this selection, I'm just going to hold down the Option key on Mac or the Alt key on Windows, and I'm going to click to remove this area from the selected area. I'm just going to kind of drag on the buildings here to remove this from the selection.

And you can see that it kind of readjusts itself. And I'm just going to look around here to see if it's creeped in anywhere else. You can see it's, it's creeping in there. So, once again, Option on Mac, Alt on Windows. And I'm kind of removing that area from the selection, trying to get it not to affect the building so much. And quite honestly, the way that this effect is applied is that it's really now affecting this portion of the sky as much as the top. you'll notice it's kind of vignetted, and the top portion gets the most effect and the bottom portion gets less of an effect.

So, I'm just fine tuning this. We probably don't have to get too crazy here. I'll press Cmd + 0 on Mac, Ctrl + 0 on Windows. And once again, we can see how this effect is being applied, and it looks pretty good. Now what we can do now is, if we're happy with the selection, we can deselect this. So, we can press Cmd + D on Mack or Ctrl + D on Windows. And the way that this effect is applied is that an Adjustment layer has been applied and you can see that we have a new layer called Blue Skies. And here's mine, I have a 1, 2, or 3 depending on how often you've used this with the image open but this looks pretty good.

And we have the Color Adjustment and then we have what's called a layer Mask. And the layer Mask is basically letting this effect be applied only in the white area of that mask. Now, if it got too intense for you, you can come down here to the Opacity slider and we can pull it back if we want to, to decrease the intensity of the effect. Or drag to the right to increase the intensity of the effect. Now in addition, we can even take it one step further because once again, the way this effect is applied makes it very versatile.

And by the way, if you want to see before and after, just click the Visibility icon next to the layer and now it's Before, we turn it on, and it's After. Now, what we can also do is we can, with this layer selected, I'm actually going to drag this layer down to the New layer button, which is basically going to duplicate this layer. And now, you can see that we've doubled the application of this layer and we have twice as much intensity on this layer than we did before. So, we can turn one of them off and see that that's one layer applied, turn the other one off and now, we're back to our original.

If we turn both of them on, now we've got that double intensity. That might look a little bit too, too intense for us. So we can click on one of these layers and then click on the Opacity slider and just reduce that to find some happy medium between the full strength and somewhere less. And once again, I'll do Cmd + D on Mac, Ctrl + D on Windows, and you can see that by adding a couple Adjustment layers and using that Smart Brush tool, we've really enhanced this photo and made it look quite a bit better. We've got a couple of spots in here that we can do some retouching to at our leisure, but it definitely looks much better than it did before. As you can see, Photoshop Elements 9 does a fantastic job at making a sky blue in an image.

With a little bit of know how, you can make refinements that will leave the sky looking realistic and you'll have everyone wondering how you took such a great shot.

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