Adding Clouds

The first step is to select the sky area so substitute clouds can be dropped in. Luckily, the sky in this photo is a fairly uniform blue, so the Magic Wand is a good tool for selecting it.

1. Use the Magic Wand with Tolerance set to 20 and click in the center of the sky. This will grab most of the sky, as shown in Figure 5.33.

Figure 5.33. Grab most of the sky using the Magic Wand.

Figure 5.33. Grab most of the sky using the Magic Wand.

2. Use Select > Similar to capture virtually all of the rest of the sky. If you see any non-selected areas (they will "sparkle" with the selection border around them), press Q to jump to Quick Mask mode and paint in the small dots that remain unselected.

3. Choose Selection > Save Selection to save your sky mask.

4. Next, load the Sky photo from the website. Copy the image by pressing Ctrl + V, and, with your sky selection in the Mountain photo still active, choose Edit > Paste Into (or press Shift + Ctrl/Command + V) to insert the new clouds into the photo.

5. Use Edit > Transform > Scale and resize the clouds so they fit in the available area. Notice that you don't

This document is created withtrialversionof CHM2PDFPMot2.16.10°. direction or another to make the clouds fit. The "distortion" isn't apparent because clouds are just clouds and have no natural proportions.

6. Next, adjust the opacity of the new cloud layer in the Layer Palette. One key to making composites is not having one object stick out because it is overly bright, overly sharp, or overly dramatic. By reducing the opacity of the cloud layer, the clouds will blend in with the plain blue sky underneath. I reduced the clouds to 44 percent opacity, and they blended in just fine.

7. You may make one final modification. I returned to the original mountain layer, loaded the sky selection, then inverted it (press Shift + Ctrl/Command + I) to select the mountains and foreground. I then copied that selection and pasted it down on a new layer above the clouds. Then, I used the Smudge tool to lightly smudge the edges of the mountains, removing any sharp line between the mountains and the sky. The image so far is shown in Figure 5.34.

Figure 5.34. Once the sky has been merged, the image will look like this.

Figure 5.34. Once the sky has been merged, the image will look like this.

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