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Paint a boring sky in Photoshop

You have a great landscape shot but the sky came out gray and boring? This tutorial will show you how to color the sky using Photoshop.

The biggest challenge though is to select just the sky pixels so that only they receive the color change and the best selection tool for this is the Magic Wand tool, which selects pixels based on color. 

On an overcast day, the sky looks gray boring

The following steps show you how to select the sky and then add a natural blue tint in Photoshop:

With your file open, click the Magic Wand in the toolbox (see Figure 1).

Fig.1.

On the Options bar, select the Contiguous check box and set the Tolerance value to something around 20, as shown in figure 2.

Fig.2.

Click on a sky pixel. Photoshop automatically selects any pixels that are closely similar in color and contiguous to that pixel—that is, no pixel of another color comes between them and the clicked pixel depending on the level of Tolerance you set. 

The 'marching ants' outline appears to show you what areas are now selected

If the tool didn’t select all the sky areas you want, press SHIFT as you click on those unselected regions. Photoshop adds the clicked pixel and any contiguous, similarly colored pixels to the selection. Keep SHIFT-clicking until you grab all the sky pixels.

If necessary, adjust the Tolerance value between clicks. At a lower value, the tool selects only pixels that are very close in color to the clicked pixel; at a higher value, the tool is less discriminating. 

Add a new empty Layer. This new layer will hold your sky color. Set the layer blending mode to Color using the menu at the top of the palette. 

Click the Foreground Color icon in the toolbox to open the Color Picker, and choose your desired sky color. something close to blue will do. 

Once happy with the color selected, press ALT-BACKSPACE (Win) or OPTION-DELETE (Mac) to fill the selected area with the foreground color. Alternatively you can also choose Edit | Fill and select the Foreground Color option from the Use drop-down list in the resulting dialog.

Add a Hue/Saturation layer and lower the Opacity of the clipped layer as needed.

As always, be subtle and gentle with your Photoshop process. For the sake of demonstration, I have exaggerated the saturation a bit so that you can view the final result (below). Now it's your turn to try. You keep shooting!