My first sky replacement - Critique please

Started Aug 3, 2014 | Discussions
JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 5,238
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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 Contributing Member • Posts: 814
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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!

Timur Born
Timur Born Veteran Member • Posts: 4,763
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,706
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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
19andrew47 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,245
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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

vin 13
vin 13 Senior Member • Posts: 1,466
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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
Lights Veteran Member • Posts: 3,574
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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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Lee Beasley Senior Member • Posts: 2,468
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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
Paco 316 Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
1

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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nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,681
Can you work with the original sky?

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 Senior Member • Posts: 1,447
Re: Can you work with the original sky?

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: Can you work with the original sky?

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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OP Florida Nature Photographer Veteran Member • Posts: 8,111
Re: Can you work with the original sky?

Scotsman wrote:

Florida, I think you did a GREAT. Job for your first try. I

I was encouraged but not satisfied. I've received great feedback in this thread that will help me do better in the future.

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Bassam Guy Regular Member • Posts: 421
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

On the first: well done. I don't pixel peep and I'm sure I could find some faults if I did.

On the second: blue sky doesn't match the color balance or ambiance of the water. It looks photo-shopped :).

You have far more skill and patience than I.

However, you can get skies that pop with a simple polarizing filter.

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duartix Veteran Member • Posts: 3,588
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please

Too much uninteresting space below the car. Crop it out. It makes the composition better and the car stand out.
I'd also go with a bit of a crop on the right but a bit smaller.
TheĀ grass and trees should have been feathered when selected. You can see a few harsh artifacts (but only at 100%). Look out for the mirror on the passenger side. It's got artefacts too. But as I said before, it's hard to notice at 100%.

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rickreyn
rickreyn Senior Member • Posts: 1,507
Re: My first sky replacement - Critique please
1

You are quite ambitious. I admire your desire to tackle all aspects of photography, and your willingness to ask for CC. I think that technically you nailed the replacement, and there would be times that it's very necessary. A friend taking million-dollar home shots for a realtor has to do it frequently when the sky on the day of the shoot does not comply.

As for the composition of the car, nearly all the time a tighter shot would be better. My normal procedure is just get a part of the car. The eye imagines the rest. Of course, if you are taking shots for a dealership it's another story.

Anyway, it's a shame you have to go on vacation to really shoot something these days.

http://www.gloriography.com/Photography/AmeliaSavannah-2013/i-ffGLSX9/A

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