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How to "swap in" a new sky...!?? - Adobe Photoshop Elements

John, there are several approaches; here's one: 1. Open your building photo in Elements; I'll assume it's a one-layer photo at this point. 2. In the Layers palette, double-click on the layer, which should be named "Background." When you do that, you should get a pop-up dialog box called New Layer, which proposes to change the name of the background layer to Layer 0. Hit OK. 3. Open up your background sky photo. Do a Select>All, Edit>Copy. 4. Return to your building photo. Do an Edit>Paste and now the sky will be showing and you won't see the building except ...

  1. #1

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John, there are several approaches; here's one:

    1. Open your building photo in Elements; I'll assume it's a one-layer photo at this point.
    2. In the Layers palette, double-click on the layer, which should be named "Background." When you do that, you should get a pop-up dialog box called New Layer, which proposes to change the name of the background layer to Layer 0. Hit OK.
    3. Open up your background sky photo. Do a Select>All, Edit>Copy.
    4. Return to your building photo. Do an Edit>Paste and now the sky will be showing and you won't see the building except in the Layers palette thumbnail, where there should now be two layers (Layer 0 and Layer 1).
    5. In the layers palette for the building photo, drag the sky layer (Layer 1) beneath the building layer (Layer 0). Now you should be seeing the building with its old sky.
    6. Go to the layers palette and click on the building layer (Layer 0), then select the old sky area using the Magic Wand tool. If too much of the tree branches are selected, do a Ctrl-D (Cmd-D on Mac) to turn off the selection, then lower the tolerance of the magic wand and try again.

    7. When you're satisfied with your selection of the sky, do an Edit>Clear. This will make the area you selected transparent and the sky from the layer below should show through.
    8. It may be necessary to zoom in on the tree area and use the eraser brush to get rid of the remnants of the old sky. Be very careful, as this isn't reversible unless you do an Edit>Step Backward or go backwards in History states.

    There are lots of nuances to this and also some ways to do it that are 'non-destructive' to the original image, but this is one way to start. Please come back it you want to discuss more.

    Chuck

    Chuck
    Chuck Snyder Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John Nelson says: Thanks, Terry & Chuck! Great ideas! Yes, I am interested in Chuck's "non-destructive" methods: maybe adjustment layers? or selection layers? (-really haven't used either very much; does Elements 2 even have selection layers...?)
    I especially liked the temporary "fill layer" hint: that will save me mondo time immmediately.

    Also, please point me to your favorite Elements 2 advanced techniques books.

    Thanks!
    -John Nelson (with Erin)
    Erin Ohlsen Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John and Erin: If you're ready for advanced techniques with Elements 2,
    check out Richard Lynch's "The Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements 2"; not
    only is it loaded with cutting-edge techniques, it includes a CD with tools
    to customize your Elements and give it some of the features found in big
    Photoshop but not Elements. In a class by itself!

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Erin,

    A non-destructive method of replacing anything (and to accomplish many other tasks) would be to create a mask. This 'hides' unwanted portions of an image, but it still exists which lends a lot of flexibility for changes.

    Nancy
    Nancy S Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Erin,

    The capability for creating masks can be had (in an automated way) by downloading some of the third party add-ons which are available for download.

    Masks can also be created manually by;

    ctrl/A >ctrl/C > ctrl/shift/V > ctrl/J (for version 1)

    Painting on a mask with black hides that portion of the image. Painting with white would uncover any mistakes you made of 'going over the lines'. Masks create a selection in effect, but leave all data intact, non-destructive.

    Come back if you want more info. Many PSE users, including myself, have increased the power of the program tremendously with add-ons, in fact they render the program practically unrecognizable from 'out of the box'.

    Nancy
    Nancy S Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John D.
    Please disregard my previous post! I had thought I read this in a thread a while back. Being a Newbie myself I shoud not have led you astray.The fill layer does not work the way that I thought it would.

    Terry
    Terry Boyles Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Wow -- add-ons sound hot: thanks!

    Nancy, I can't find a "ctl/J" (or probably, on Mac, "Apple/J") in my version 2 Elements, and can't find i Help a way to create a Mask as simply as you describe; could that have been something that got lost between v1 and v2...?? (Or maybe it's hiding in a different place on the Mac?)

    I do love the Masking effect of grouped layers, and I can now use that to make desired parts of a layer visible (or invisible).

    But I still can't use a bottom grouped-layer mask to limit selection of the top layer. For instance (starting with a photo of a building, sidewalk, and sidewalk-colored sky), I can hide the sidewalk with a mask layer, but still the magic wand selects the sidewalk when I click in the sky, and then a Clear removes the sidewalk with the sky. (And I don't want to use a "contiguous" magic wand, because the sky is partly behind some complex tree branches.) So I'm still looking for a Mask that limits the magic wand...

    This is great stuff, you guys -- thanks again!

    -John
    John D. Nelson Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John - that trick doesn't work in PE2 - if you don't have any of the addons (Layer masks are included in both Richard lynch's and Paul Shpley's free downloads) grouped layers work well - i tend to use them rathr than layer masks.

    If I want to select a sky with the magic wand but not the sidewalk or whatever I select the top half of the photo including all the sky and as little as possible of the background. Copy and paste this onto a new temporary layer (so this layer will then have just the top half of the photo, excluding sidewalk) You can then use the magic wand on the half photo layer to create your selection. Get rid of the temporary layer and your sky selection should now just be sitting on the whole photo..
    susan S.
    Susan S. Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John,

    As I said, shortcut works only in Version 1, but Susan has given you some good advice for your current project.

    If you want to increase the functionality of PSE, you might want to explore these free downloads;

    <http://member.melbpc.org.au/~pshipley/Download.htm>
    Nancy S Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John, Susan's approach of creating a temporary layer is a very good way to
    limit the magic wand's selection. After making your rough selection of the
    sky but not the sidewalk, you can also get the temp layer by doing a
    Layer>New>Layer via Copy - does the same as Susan's Copy and Paste, I
    believe. One great feature of Elements is being able to accomplish the same
    thing in more than one way!

    Chuck


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    John & others,

    You might want to try this:

    Step 1 - Put the layer with the good sky behind the layer with your original image, as per previous suggestions.

    Step 2 - Change the blending mode of the layer with the original image to "darken".

    This should solve the problem with the tree branches, because these will be darker than the sky and therefore will be left as is.

    Not sure if it will solve the problem with the sidewalk, you might find it also changes to sky colour. You may need to make the sky layer white below the "horizon".
    Brett Matthews Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Brett, great suggestion - thanks!


    Chuck Snyder Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Erin,

    The internet is a great source for tutorials. A lot of the ones written for Photoshop are also applicable to PSE. A search on Google will overload you with hits! Here is a quick starting point...the first link lists many great sites dealing with digital imaging.

    <http://.photofoolery.com/tutorials.html>

    <http://photoshoptoday.com/tutorials.asp>
    <http://med.stanford.edu/web/training/photoshop2/part1.html>

    <http://www.teresalunt.com/photoshop-tutorial-5.html>
    <http://www.tutorialfind.com/tutorials/adobe/photoshop/default.asp?ob=3&pg=30>

    <http://www.digital-creativity.org.uk/tutorials/tutorial_04.html>
    Nancy S Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Nancy, thank you. Yes Lynch a heavyweight which is how come John has it. Spent some months in the online & book jungle, purchasing Photoshop Elements Solutions by Aaland and Digital Printing Handbook by Daly neither of which solved the mystery of the sky. John is the 'tutorial'; he knows what has to happen and in his personality is this big plus called fun & curiosity about stuff beyond the sky which may be needed later?
    Will also have a look-see at your latest suggestions when possible.
    John & this forum are giving me the opportunity of a crash course before he goes away in August (without the crash, of course)!
    Erin Ohlsen Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    Erin,

    Ahh...John is your mentor and has taken you under his wing..??

    Nancy
    Nancy S Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    I'm a computer tutor & instructor in the Seattle area, the "Seattle 'Puter Tutor"; Erin is a client who's especially interested in creating high-quality business cards from scratch, emphasizing her use of image processing for corporate real estate. Though I've spent many years in the software industry, working with the actual users of these programs is a new and very rewarding career for me! Image processing hasn't been one of my areas of expertise as a programmer or user; so Erin and I have both been having a great time in this learning process. I'm sure you'll be seeing us both regularly on these boards -- and meanwhile, thank you all for your help so far!!

    By the way, we discovered "Replace Color": when we found some pixels on the edges of the tree branches with a particular color cast that looked bad against the new sky, pixels we didn't really want to erase (to let the new sky show through) because they "belonged" to the branches -- we did a Replace of those color pixels with a color closer to how the branches should look. Very effective!

    -John
    John D. Nelson Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: How to "swap in" a new sky...!??

    You are all mentor's. Forget under wing, just hanging onto tail feathers as you all soar high! Even an idea that doesnt quite work reveals another something.
    Seems John is touching all suggestions, Chuck's right... "so many ways." The never really an end result is actually art form. 'Back to the drawing board! Maybe someday I'll have feathers too. Erin
    Erin Ohlsen Guest

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