Skip to main content

Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 53 of 60

Replacing Sky with Layer Mask


Creating Your Reality with Composite Photography

Lesson 53 of 60

Replacing Sky with Layer Mask


Lesson Info

Replacing Sky with Layer Mask

So the next thing I wanna look after, is I want to get rid of that sky. So, I am going to do what we were doing yesterday. Well, the first thing I'm gonna to do is I'm gonna to find a sky image that I like. So, I'm gonna go here, and let's pick one. Do I like that one? I think I need something more horizon line. That one's better. I like this one, this one's cool. So double clicking it. I'm probably gonna make it just a little bit brighter. It's a little bit dark. Just gonna bring up the exposure a tiny little bit. I'm not going to worry about bringing up any ... Contrast, or anything like that. Just leave it alone. Open Image. Command + A, or Control + A. Select All, Copy, Control + C, oops. Aww man, where'd it go? Control + Shift + V, paste. So I'm going to throw this blending mode of the clouds on multiply, same as I did yesterday. Gonna hit V, which is gonna move my background around, and see how we have this nice horizon line coming along here? Because I shot it pretty close to th...

e same angle. And there's enough going on here. So I'm going to create a luminosity mask, like we did yesterday, when we were using channels. So, first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna create a curves layer, 'cause I just wanna extract the sky. So I'm going to bring that up, and bring this down. So I'm just creating enough contrast. And hopefully I'm gonna get like a relatively clean cut on the trees. 'Cause like I said, we don't... You guys have seen how to do trees and cutting all that stuff out. So, I'm going to go to my channels. Red channel looks like that. Green channel looks like that. Blue channel looks like that. So I'm gonna try to, I'm picking the channel that's giving me the most black along this horizon line. I'm gonna hold Control, which is going to bring up that square. Gonna go to Layers, I'm gonna go to my sky layer, and I have my dancing ants, so I'm just gonna click on the mask. I'm gonna get rid of that curves layer. And so of course this isn't going to be totally perfect. I'm gonna hold Alt on my model. Sorry, Alt + Control on the model. I'm gonna go to my brush, and I'm going to invert my selection, Control + Shift + I, and I think that'll get me where I need to be. Oh no, damn it! See there's 50% chance right of getting it right, remember I was saying this? This is one of those things. Make sure we're clicking on the layer mask. There we go. Okay select that, and now I just have to clean up ... All this stuff here. So, I'm using far too soft of a brush, and I'm gonna use that dodge and burn technique here. Actually gonna lighten this up along the horizon line a little bit, whoops. Nice and low ... Too much. So remember the things that are further away, have less information. Alrighty. Now, I'm going to hold Alt, click on this, and see how we're doing here along the horizon line. So I'm going to go back to that dodge and burn technique, and I don't remember which retoucher it was. It could've been Glenn Duis, who's out of the UK. He does really nice work in retouching. It totally could've been him, but I don't remember who it was who showed me. It was just like some random YouTube video, so I cannot take credit for figuring this out. It was definitely on the internet. So, we have a little bit of haloing going on here. This grass, like these foresty trees and stuff like that, I probably would spend a lot of time going in and cleaning it up. We don't have time for that today (laughs). I don't wanna do that to you. So, I am just gonna take my brush, nice and small, and I'm gonna bring over some of this sky into her hair because we can, and it's going to look a lot more realistic. So, I've got some malfunctions in her mask going on here. Oops. Here we go.

Class Description

With the right Adobe® Photoshop® know-how and studio shoot experience, you can merge fact and fiction into a reality that lives up to your imagination. Renee Robyn has made a career of turning everyday photos from her travels into eye-catching images. Robyn will teach you how to add people and other elements to your existing landscape photos using ethereal custom effects.

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to choose or set up a shoot for your background image
  • How to direct posing during a shoot, and work with directional light in-studio to make your subject fit into the background image
  • How to composite your subject into your image using Photoshop

Photo compositing allows you to breathe interesting ideas into your photos. Open your hard drive, walk into your memory, and turn past experiences into fantastic new realities.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Why You Should Sketch Your Composite
  3. What to Look for in Your Background
  4. Posing Your Model
  5. Communicate with Your Team
  6. Elements of Compositing
  7. Learning from Failure & Criticism
  8. On-Location Safety Tips
  9. How to Nail the Right Perspective for Your Composite Photo
  10. Gauging Light & Exposure On-Location
  11. On-Location Posing
  12. Cliff Shoot Location Final Thoughts
  13. Tips for Culling Images
  14. Culling Images Q&A
  15. Preparing Your Image for Composite
  16. Composite Image Cleanup
  17. Adding Background Image to Composite
  18. The Difference Between Flow & Opacity
  19. Composite Sky Elements
  20. Using Curves to Color Match
  21. Adding Atmospheric Depth to Image
  22. Using Color Efex Pro to Manipulate Color
  23. Using the Liquify Tool
  24. Color Theory & Monitor Calibration
  25. Adding Smoke Layer to Image
  26. Selective Sharpening
  27. Crop Your Image
  28. Goal Setting for Digital Artists
  29. Review of Location Composite
  30. Understand Angle & Height for Your Base Plate Image
  31. Base Plate Focus Point
  32. Base Plate Lighting Tips
  33. How to Use a Stand-In for Base Plate Image
  34. Capture On-Location Base Plate Image
  35. Student Positioning Demo
  36. Base Plate Sketching
  37. On-Location Sky Capture
  38. What to Look for in a Base Plate Model
  39. Building Composite Model Lighting
  40. Composite Model Test Shots for Angle Matching
  41. Composite Model Shoot: The Art of Fabric Throwing
  42. Composite Model Shoot: Working with Hair
  43. Composite Model Shoot: Posing Techniques
  44. Composite Test with Final Shot
  45. Lighting Setup Overview
  46. Culling Model Shoot Images
  47. Adjusting Skintone Colors
  48. Merging Background with Model
  49. How to Mask Hair
  50. Creating a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool
  51. Creating Shadow Layers
  52. Removing Visual Distractions with Stamp Tool
  53. Replacing Sky with Layer Mask
  54. Drawing Hair Strands and Atmospheric Depth
  55. Creating Contrast in Your Composite
  56. Adding Atmospheric Elements
  57. Using Particle Shop
  58. Selective Color Adjustments
  59. Cropping, Sharpening, & Final Touches
  60. Closing Thoughts


Dino Maez

i have to say, the class was AMAZING! in every way from the tricks and technique's of mastering this art form to the personalized attention given by Renee. through the class you are able to learn information that would normally take the average person years of trial and error. Renee gives you the gift of benefitting from her her experiences and what she has learned THE HARD WAY! Renee is an outstanding instructor full of passion for what she does, and with a strong desire to not only improve the art, but more importantly, pay it forward, by sharing her knowledge with others. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the event in person, truly a once in a lifetime experience for me, the staff at creative live were THE BEST! they are helpful in every way and really made this event something special, i can't say enough about the experience i had and would highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to go down for a class, it will be an experience that you will never forget. but the best part of creative live is that wether you are there in person or wether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, you are involved in the class in REAL TIME, you have the ear and attention of the skilled artist giving the instruction, being there myself i can tell you that Renee was regularly given questions and comments from the viewers via the creative live staff and she would respond to them as they came, in that way you are very much apart of the class you are never left without getting that personalized attention of an amazing artist or that specific question you have answered, and even better you have the option to purchase the class and have it as a constant resource in your tool kit that you can refer back to at any point that you need a refresher or want to recall that special technique that was demonstrated. thank you thank you to renee and all the staff at creative live you have a life long member in me. and i would recomend that everyone take advantage of this valuable resource dino maez

stephen lenman

I have completed many creative courses. This is by far the best so far. Quite the most amazing and inspiring presenter with a true passion for their craft. The core information is excellent, but the thing i liked most were her subtle tangents, dropping incredible information completely on the fly. A complete real world honest view of business and practical side of the industry. Especially her advice on how she started to her business. Saving up enough in her day job so she could pay the rent, and do photography for 3-6 months.

Sheldon Carvalho

Awesome class. I've been following Renee for a very long time. I love her work and to finally see her work and get an image done from start to finish was quite something.. I love the way she sees things and the way she treats her work and all fellow creative. I would recommend this to everyone interested in getting into composting. Looking forward to creating and making my own art work. But it now :) Have fun creating. :)