Portrait Project: Changing a Sky Background
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Repositioning the clouds


From:

Portrait Project: Changing a Sky Background

with Chris Orwig

Video: Repositioning the clouds

In the next few movies, we'll begin to take a look at how we can improve some of the details in our project. In this movie, we'll begin to focus in on the clouds. Here we'll take a look at how we can reposition the clouds, and also how we can transform, or flip these horizontally. And eventually, fill in some gaps we might have created when we're working with improving the way that our background appears. Alright, well let's begin by zooming out. Press Cmd- a few times on a Mac, Ctrl- a few times on Windows, so that we can then view and evaluate the entire composition.

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Watch the Online Video Course Portrait Project: Changing a Sky Background
41m 56s Intermediate Feb 07, 2014

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What do you do with a sky that's dark and stormy, blown out, or just plain ordinary? You can spend hours trying to enhance it, or you can replace it in just a few simple steps. Chris Orwig shows you how in this Portrait Project. He'll show you how to make and refine a selection, mask out the sky, and insert a new, more dramatic sky—all in Adobe Photoshop. In order to make your replacement look natural, Chris spends the second half of the course showing how to improve the detail, color, and tone of your new composite.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Chris Orwig

Repositioning the clouds

In the next few movies, we'll begin to take a look at how we can improve some of the details in our project. In this movie, we'll begin to focus in on the clouds. Here we'll take a look at how we can reposition the clouds, and also how we can transform, or flip these horizontally. And eventually, fill in some gaps we might have created when we're working with improving the way that our background appears. Alright, well let's begin by zooming out. Press Cmd- a few times on a Mac, Ctrl- a few times on Windows, so that we can then view and evaluate the entire composition.

Now in order to begin to work with one of our new backgrounds, simply click into one of those layers. In this case we'll click into the middle layer here. Then select the move tool and here we can click and drag to move this layer around. Now as we move this around we really want to think about the overall composition. Here I'm going to click and drag this up, because what I want to do is create a little bit more of a horizon. Here I want to gap between the clouds and the ocean. Rather than having the clouds touch down on the ocean. again, I want to create, there's kind of a horizon line there.

Now, if we go too far with this, one of the things that will happen is we'll notice the original mountains, or the mountains which were part of the original photograph. And, you know, with this image, I think that could almost work. Kind of like this island just off of the edge of the seashore. Yet, I would rather, I think. Not have that in the frame to make it look a little bit more natural and authentic. So I'm just going to bring that down this way. And as we start to look at the photograph and think about the horizon. One of the things that you may notice is that the horizon is actually tilted a little bit.

You know, typically you want to have level horizons in your photographs. Yet sometimes, rules are made to be broken. Like with this picture, I like the tilt of the horizon and of the surf board. It's all leaning out towards the sea. So I'm going to leave that as is. Let's take a look at, another one of our options. Here we'll turn off the visibility of this layer, and then click into the layer which was captured of these clouds a little bit closer to sunset. Again, here we'll click and drag, this layer up so that it's higher.

I'm looking to try to find that gap so that we have a little bit of space underneath the clouds there. If we bring it up too far, we'll see the mountain. want to bring that down so that isn't there. I also need to zoom out just to make sure that this composition looks good here. And I think that that looks pretty good. As we start to work with new backgrounds, we will need to make other detail adjustments too. Yet we want to try to position the background as close as possible, so that later as we start to work on our edges, or the overall color, we have everything in just the right spot.

Now you know, I think this particular background looks pretty good. I also like this one a lot. I like the colors, and I think the colors, they kind of connect a little bit better. Yet one of the things that I notice here, is that there's something interesting happening with the light. You know I think that this could actually work as an image just fine. Yet something that we might want to experiment with is to flip this particular layer. Let me show you why. Notice how the sun is hitting the subject here on the right side so that there's a shadow on the left.

Well on the cloud layer, it's as, as if the sun is coming from the left right here. And there's shadows on the right. It's the exact opposite lighting direction of our actual image. Now, it isn't that noticable or that dramatically different, yet, just for the sake of experimentation, let's explore how we can change this layer here, and how we can have a different option and change that direction of the light with this particular layer. Well, let's work on that stage of our project here in the next movie.

So go ahead and leave this file open, as we'll continue to work on our backdrop in the next movie.

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