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Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds

From: Photoshop for Designers: Textures

Video: Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds

In the previous movie about clouds I said don't be fooled by the name, the Clouds filter and the Difference Clouds filter are about so much more than creating clouds. But every once in a while may be that is exactly what we want to do with them and indeed that is what we can do with them. So here I have a picture with hardly any sky, very flat sky, virtually no color in it whatsoever, I mean really the best place for this picture is in the bin.

Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds

In the previous movie about clouds I said don't be fooled by the name, the Clouds filter and the Difference Clouds filter are about so much more than creating clouds. But every once in a while may be that is exactly what we want to do with them and indeed that is what we can do with them. So here I have a picture with hardly any sky, very flat sky, virtually no color in it whatsoever, I mean really the best place for this picture is in the bin.

But let's say that we have to resurrect this picture and we want to give it a bit of life, so wouldn't it be nice if we had a blue sky and that's what we can do with Difference Clouds and a color fill layer. So I'm going to close this, the finished version, and here is the starting point. Now there are a numerous ways we can do this and this is the way I'm going to do it. I'm going add a Solid Color layer, and that Solid Color layer I'm going to fill with blue that has this spec 78, 148, 218.

Now I got that color blue just by going and finding a sky that I liked using my Eyedropper tool and Sampling those values. So that's the color blue that I want, and now what I'm going to blend that in, first of all I'll choose Multiply as my Blend mode and it's going to look like that. And of course, that is looking kind of weird, making my whole image now look very blue, so to rectify that I'm going to come to my layer Mask. My layer mask, currently there is nothing on it.

So on my layer Mask, I'm going to set my foreground and background colors to Black and White, and then come to the Filter menu and choose Render. I could use Clouds but to get more contrast I'm going to use Difference Clouds, and it's going to look like that. So let's go and see what's happened here. The layer Mask now looks like that and let's say I want a bit more contrast still, then we just need to run the filter again and since that we've already run the Filter once we can just choose it from the top of the Filter menu or use the keyboard shortcut Command+F or Ctrl+F, and every time I do it, it's going to get a little bit more contrasty, and then when we see in the context of the whole composition it looks like this.

The lighter areas are revealing the blue and the darker areas are concealing the blue, effectively giving us a cloudy sky. No, I'm not a Meteorologist and I don't know the name of this type of cloud but, I've seen clouds like this. It's not the most convincing cloud in the world and there maybe better ways to do this, but it's a very quick and effective way of generating some clouds. Now just to improve things a bit though I am going to make sure that we don't have any of the clouds applying to the foreground, so I'm going to choose my Gradient tool by pressing G, and I want to make sure that I'm working with a gradient that is Foreground to Transparent with black as my Foreground color, and I'm going to drag up from the bottom to about there and that's going to put an area of solid black down at the bottom where there is actually detail other than the sky and the London Eye.

So we're not getting blue on top of the trees or anything else, and then I'm just going to turn down the Opacity on this because it's just looking a little bit too fake. So if I bring the Opacity down to about 50% then it looks quite plausible I think and if we turn it off, there is our starting point and then when we turn it on, there is a now blue and cloudy sky.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Textures
Photoshop for Designers: Textures

60 video lessons · 19319 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      28s
  2. 6m 52s
    1. Working with textures
      6m 52s
  3. 30m 19s
    1. Creating a rocklike texture with Clouds
      6m 17s
    2. Improving a flat sky with Difference Clouds
      3m 43s
    3. Creating a grunge effect with Fibers
      11m 30s
    4. Applying a texture channel with Lighting Effects
      4m 22s
    5. Adding an effect and blending with Lens Flare
      4m 27s
  4. 15m 20s
    1. Applying textures with Texturizer
      6m 8s
    2. Applying realistic cracks with Craquelure
      5m 11s
    3. Preparing an image for a stained glass effect
      4m 1s
  5. 30m 48s
    1. Adding noise to an overlay layer
      1m 33s
    2. Adding film grain
      6m 5s
    3. Painting with grain
      4m 10s
    4. Adding grain to a Camera Raw image
      2m 21s
    5. Matching grain when cloning
      5m 32s
    6. Accentuating texture with Speckle grain
      3m 4s
    7. Creating a split-toning effect with Stippled grain
      4m 20s
    8. Beyond the Mezzotint filter
      3m 43s
  6. 18m 5s
    1. Creating deckled edges and sepia tone
      8m 6s
    2. Adding water stains
      5m 41s
    3. Adding cracks
      4m 18s
  7. 38m 16s
    1. Blending textures with Soft Light
      4m 15s
    2. Blending textures with Hard Light
      54s
    3. Blending groups
      3m 59s
    4. Blending textures with layer masks
      3m 49s
    5. Creating an antique poster
      5m 59s
    6. Blending mode sandwich
      4m 34s
    7. Blending texture from a pattern fill
      4m 9s
    8. Applying texture to an uneven surface
      10m 37s
  8. 42m 43s
    1. Creating a watercolor effect
      5m 30s
    2. Painting on canvas
      9m 57s
    3. Creating a rubber stamp
      8m 42s
    4. Converting a photograph to a drawing with Find Edges
      2m 58s
    5. Combining a black-and-white halftone with color images
      5m 6s
    6. Creating a textured duotone effect with Conté Crayon
      2m 33s
    7. Creating an abstract image with Mosaic
      6m 2s
    8. Creating a reticulation effect
      1m 55s
  9. 59m 11s
    1. Finding and installing brushes
      2m 19s
    2. Creating a shatter effect
      3m 58s
    3. Creating a smoke brush
      3m 50s
    4. Combining Photoshop with Illustrator to create a sample brush
      9m 56s
    5. Creating coffee rings
      4m 13s
    6. Creating a Bokeh texture
      9m 50s
    7. Creating corner brushes
      4m 24s
    8. Sampling a brush stroke
      3m 3s
    9. Creating a rust jewel brush
      5m 43s
    10. Building density with brush settings
      6m 45s
    11. Painting with the Mixer Brush
      5m 10s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Adding texture to type using clipping masks
      2m 25s
    2. Applying texture to type with layer effects
      2m 53s
    3. Applying texture to type using a layer mask
      5m 33s
    4. Painting with a texture brush
      4m 31s
    5. Blending type into background texture
      2m 8s
  11. 17m 55s
    1. Using the texture actions set
      3m 12s
    2. Editing an action
      3m 18s
    3. Creating your own texture action
      5m 14s
    4. Finding, downloading, and installing actions
      3m 2s
    5. Applying texture styles
      3m 9s
  12. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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