My first sky replacement - Critique please

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JosephScha
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Above there are plenty of justified but nit-picking (IMO) comments.  I have to say overall the picture with the substituted sky is much more appealing than the original!  I may have to try that some day.

I did look at 100% with the loop, yup I see where a leaf seems partially obscured by cloud, for example.  But without looking at 100% that is invisible.

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Tidewater
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

I know a guy, that whenever he sees an interesting sky, shoots it from several angles and directions and has evolved quite a nice file for later use. Personally I think the background sky needs to have been taken from the same angle and direction as the shot being enhanced, and probably near the same time of day. I have never done it but when it gets really easy I suppose I will for those special picks.

Enjoyable thread!

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Timur Born
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Timur Born wrote:

I am not so sure that this sky works the way you used it. The clouds look strange around the horizon tree line, too big and unnatural.

How do I do better? Use online skys? If I go take my own sky photo, how do I do it best?

Sorry, I lack the experience to give good advice. But it may be more about the crop you used from the original sky than the sky itself. In the third image it looks natural towards the horizon/tree-line because the clouds look as expected. In the replacement image it looks strangely unnatural, because those big cloud mountains are not what my brain expects to see around the horizon.

It's more of a gut-feeling, so more experienced people may be able to give more useful comments.

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yyr
yyr
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

An impressive result (I haven't done any pixel peeping) I'm going to check out that video. Thanks Florida.

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19andrew47
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

This is much better than the other try.  Still a little uneven but that is really picking nits.  I do a lot of cloning at 2:1 or higher magnifications when trying to smooth out things like this and have tried some other tools afterward to smooth out these remaining jagged edges.  Sometimes they work, sometimes not.

I think this is a very good result from the aspect of sky replacement.  As to the comment on the placement of the clouds it didn't really strike me as a problem but after looking again I would say that one often sees a band of blue below the clouds between the base of the clouds and the horizon where the ground is relatively flat.  If that band of blue had been there with the clouds placed higher it may have made it easier for the masking tools to differentiate between the edge of the car and tree line and the sky and also give a look more in keeping with what some people would expect.

You would have to try that to see what you think about it.

Again, a very good result.

Andrew

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vin 13
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Firstly that's something I wouldn't even have attempted unless a awkward client asked, and even then I'd say what I'm going to say now - it just wont work!  Where the sky meets the trees is clearly the give away, and I don't think you could have done a whole lot better, if at all.  Also, even though it's not as obvious, the car was shot under different light and IMO even though the average person wouldn't spot that they'd still know something was amiss even if they weren't sure what.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to vin 13, 1 month ago

vin 13 wrote:

Firstly that's something I wouldn't even have attempted unless a awkward client asked, and even then I'd say what I'm going to say now - it just wont work! Where the sky meets the trees is clearly the give away

At 100% I can see evidence of what I did. However, at normal viewing I find my composite (even with it's flaws) more pleasing than the original. Do you disagree?

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Lights
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Well the second one sure has a lot more "snap" to it. The first is kinda bland. You did a good job on replacing the sky, that sky fits in well with the scene to my eye...haven't looked at 100%. I've tried a few myself a long while back, with my editors were a lot of work. So much so that I've ended up waiting for better skies, but with a deadline what'dya do?

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Lights, 1 month ago

Lights wrote:

with my editors were a lot of work. So much so that I've ended up waiting for better skies, but with a deadline what'dya do?

Photography is fun for me. Any deadlines I have are self imposed because I want to show my photos to people I think may enjoy them.

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Sdaniella
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Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

I am finally getting serious about doing more advanced post processing. Up until now I have been focusing my efforts on learning how to use my E-M1 and the quirks of each of my three lenses. I've been trying to learn about composition. And I've been trying to tweak more and more advanced in Lightroom.

This is the first time I've ever done anything close to this.

The first one is what I would have normally been stuck with after using Lightroom.

The second one is what I ended up with.

The third is where the new sky came from.

Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear

Let me know how I can do better.

My process was:

  1. Do as much as I can in Lightroom
  2. Edit in Photoshop Elements 10
  3. Use Topaz Remask to mask out the sky
  4. Back to Elements
  5. Find a sky that look decent in my existing photos

match skies at least with sun in similar position: front+ front, left+left, rear+rear, right+right

  1. File | Place and select my sky photo
  2. Cntrl - T to free transform to get something that looked nice

Do you take your own sky shots or use those you can find on line?

shadows are dead giveaways as are wrongway lit skies

worse, if one had visible celestial objects (moon phases wrongway round vs sunset/rise wrongway round; even rainbows in the wrong position (easy to tell whichway sunlight is shining wrongway round)

getting the scene with a modified new sky lit wrongway round always look fake

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear
In reply to Sdaniella, 1 month ago

Sdaniella wrote:

Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear

Thanks very much for raising this issue that no one else mentioned, previously.

It is obvious to me where the sun is coming from in the car photo due to the shadows. It is much less obvious in my sky photo. How can you tell that it is right rear?

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Lee Beasley
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Right! Star Effects it is. Just put a little glint on the left front fender and maybe the left rear view mirror--not a real star, just as if the sun were reflecting off that shiny white car. People love to think of their possessions as flawless and sparkly.

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Paco 316
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

You seem to have some good skills, just get rid of the whole background and the sky you are adding add a little drama to it.

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Sdaniella
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Re: Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

Sdaniella wrote:

Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear

Thanks very much for raising this issue that no one else mentioned, previously.

It is obvious to me where the sun is coming from in the car photo due to the shadows. It is much less obvious in my sky photo. How can you tell that it is right rear?

none of the clouds are rear lit (happens if sun is front of you)

none of the clouds were left-lit

so it means the sun is to your right (right lit) plus behind you (front-right lit clouds) requires sun positioned right/behind your right shoulder.

in aviation parlance:

corvette is lit by sun at 10 o'clock high

new sky clouds are lit by sun at 4 o'clock high on the opposite side of your viewing stance

this is a 6 hour sun position discrepancy

even though you took the images 3h17m apart, it tells me your view bearing changed by 2h43m counterclockwise. (turning your bearings a bit towards your left in the new sky shot: assuming your exif GMT times haven't been altered between shots; it doesn't matter if your time zone is right or wrong if not changed between shots)

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nevada5
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Can you work with the original sky?
In reply to Florida Nature Photographer, 1 month ago

I've tried to replace skies in the past and never liked the results. I have good success changing dull grey skies to blue. I use PS CS5. I can't say if the procedure can be used in Elements, but I'll post it just the same.

Click on Magic Wand Tool. Set tolerance to 30. Uncheck Contiguous, uncheck Anti-alias, uncheck Sample All Layers.

Select the sky. Using shift, select all sky areas. Then Select>Modify>Feather, select 10 pixels +/- (I think I usually use 3-5 pixels).

Click on Gradient Tool. Select “Foreground to Transparent” from drop-down menu. Select “Reverse”, select “Dither” and select “Transparency” (check all). Set Opacity to 30%.

Click on the Foreground Color box and select a natural blue sky-like color. Color picker #1A56B1 is a good color.

Click on Gradient Tool again. Put mouse cursor on bottom of sky, drag to top of sky. Drag at an angle for a different look. If needed, click on “Edit” and “Fade.”

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Scotsman
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Re: Can you work with the original sky?
In reply to nevada5, 1 month ago

Florida, I think you did a GREAT. Job for your first try. I hope when I try it , it looks as good. While I saw what the poster said about the clock positions of the sun, it was only after it was pointed out. I bet not 2% of everyone else could have figured it out.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Lee Beasley, 1 month ago

Lee Beasley wrote:

Right! Star Effects it is. Just put a little glint on the left front fender and maybe the left rear view mirror--not a real star, just as if the sun were reflecting off that shiny white car. People love to think of their possessions as flawless and sparkly.

I will give it a try and see how I do and how I like it. Thanks for the novel idea, novel to me at least.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
In reply to Paco 316, 1 month ago

Paco 316 wrote:

You seem to have some good skills, just get rid of the whole background and the sky you are adding add a little drama to it.

I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Car Scene car shadow has Front-Left sun position vs New Sky highlighted clouds w/sun right rear
In reply to Sdaniella, 1 month ago

Sdaniella wrote:

Florida Nature Photographer wrote:

It is obvious to me where the sun is coming from in the car photo due to the shadows. It is much less obvious in my sky photo. How can you tell that it is right rear?

none of the clouds are rear lit (happens if sun is front of you)

none of the clouds were left-lit

so it means the sun is to your right (right lit) plus behind you (front-right lit clouds) requires sun positioned right/behind your right shoulder.sn't matter if your time zone is right or wrong if not changed between shots)

Thanks for the added info. I will have to start paying more attention to that. I wouldn't have noticed it without your help.

BTW not only were the images were taken in different seasons but also in different states.

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Florida Nature Photographer
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Re: Can you work with the original sky?
In reply to nevada5, 1 month ago

nevada5 wrote:

I can't say if the procedure can be used in Elements, but I'll post it just the same.

Click on Magic Wand Tool. Set tolerance to 30. Uncheck Contiguous, uncheck Anti-alias, uncheck Sample All Layers.

Thanks for the steps. I suspect it will work in Elements. I will give it a try to see how I like the results.

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