How to Apply Sky Overlays in Photoshop

 

METHOD 1

1. Open your image in Photoshop

 

2 (Optional - for photos with existing skies that are dark). Use the quick selection tool to remove the current sky. Select the quick selection icon, trace the foreground, then delete the background.

Remove sky with quick selection tool in Photoshop

 

3. Place your sky overlay on top of this image as a layer. To do this, go to File --> Place or File --> Place Embedded

 

4. Once the overlay is placed, size your overlay to fit the skyline where it will be placed. Make sure the sizing overlaps onto the image. Then, click on the check mark to confirm this change.

Size the Photoshop sky overlay to the image

 

5. If your image background is out of focus, blur your sky overlay to match by selecting Filter --> Blur. This will allow for a more realistic application. In this example, this action was not necessary.

6. In your layers panel, select the drop-down menu to the left of opacity and change the selection from Normal to Multiply.

Change the Photoshop layer from normal to multiply

 

7. Add a layer mask by going to Layer --> Layer Mask --> Hide all. Adding this mask with temporarily result in your sky overlay disappearing.

Add a layer mask in Photoshop

 

8. Select the Gradient Tool by selecting the appropriate icon on the left-hand icon menu. Make sure white is on top and black is on the bottom.

Use the gradient tool in Photoshop

 

9. Using the gradient tool, drag the tool from the midline of the sky to the foreground horizon. If this lightens the area too much, select a soft brush set at a low opacity and paint over the area where you used the gradient tool to darken that area.

Use the gradient tool to apply a Photoshop sky overlay

 

METHOD 2

1. Open your image in Photoshop.

 

2. Place your sky overlay on top of this image as a layer. To do this, go to File --> Place or File --> Place Embedded.

Place overlay in Photoshop

 

3. Once the overlay is placed, size your overlay to fit the skyline where it will be placed. Make sure the sizing overlaps onto the image. Then, click on the check mark to confirm this change.

Save Photoshop overlay as a layer

 

4. If your image background is out of focus, blur your sky overlay to match by selecting Filter --> Bur. This will allow for a more realistic application. In this example, this step was unnecessary.

 5. Add a layer mask by going to Layer --> Layer Mask --> Hide all. Adding this mask with temporarily result in your sky overlay disappearing.

Create a layer mask in Photoshop

 

6. Select the layer mask. The layer box is black (remember: black conceals).

Select the layer mask black box

 

7. While the layer mask is still selected, select the paint brush tool with soft edges in the color white (remember: white reveals). Decreasing the flow gives more control over intensity of the sky.

Paint on sky overlay in Photoshop

 

8. Paint on the new sky.

 

For the best photoshop sky overlays, check out our collection of sky overlays.

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