Sky Replacement in Photoshop Without the Ugly Edges

post-header-image-skyWhen you replace the sky in your images, it can be extremely difficult to get the seams where the sky meets the foreground to look natural. More often than not they’ll look like a bad paper cut-out, and fixing this seems way too difficult. I’ll show you how you can use Photoshop’s “Color Decontaminate…” tool to solve this problem.

In a nutshell…

If you want to replace the sky in a landscape photo, for example, you will typically run into problems right around the edge where the foreground meets the sky. You will need to select the sky to hide it and to reveal the new sky in the image layer below. But most selection techniques will leave you with a relatively harsh edge around the foreground that display color artifacts. This looks unnatural and ugly, but it’s very hard to fix with conventional tools.

We will use Photoshop’s “Select and Mask” feature in combination with the “Color Decontaminate…” tool to get a smooth edge without the typical glow around it. As a result, the foreground and sky will blend much better.

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4 replies
    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hi Christopher,

      thanks for the feedback. Yes, this should work for a variety of different subjects. But every photo is a little bit different and poses different challenges. If you need to mask hair, the Select and Mask tool in Photoshop CC is a great way to start off. Try if you get a good result there, and if the edges are still a problem, try this technique. The Select and Mask tool has its own decontamination option, but you cannot control it as nicely as the tool you find in the Layers menu.

      I hops this helps!

      Take care

  1. Carl Blank
    Carl Blank says:

    Hi Klaus,

    I’m trying to get this to work but when I set the Blue Channel as a layer mask it appears as a layer but the layer itself contains nothing. At 3min 13 sec on your video the mask can be seen appearing over the grey and white “checked area” my layer stays as grey and white checks with no mask appearing. Any idea where I am going wrong. I follwed everything Ok up to this point.

    Thanks, Carl.

    • farbspiel
      farbspiel says:

      Hi Carl,

      It sounds like you’ve clicked on the “new layer” button instead of the “new layer mask button”. Please double-check that you get the right button.

      Let me know if that helps.



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