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The Sky Replacement Tool is one of the major improvements in Photoshop 2021 that allows you to replace the sky portion of a photo with a simple click. In this tutorial, I will run through all that you need to know about this tool.

Problem with Existing Sky Replacement Process

If you’re like me who having been using Photoshop for a long time, replacing the sky is definitely not an easy feat. Simply put, it involves too many steps and take too much fine-tuning to achieve a seamless look.

Why Do Adobe Introduce this New Tool?

The amount of time that you need to perform sky replacement is surprising, A LOT! It’s a tedious process that requires a lot of fine-tuning, clearing up the edges and dealing with complex objects.

With the introduction of the Sky Replacement tool, all these above processes are simplified, thus saving huge amount of time.

Where Do I find Sky Replacement Tool

The Sky Replacement is located under Edit > Sky Replacement

What Are The Tool Options

Once you click on Sky Replacement, the following window will pop up:

You will notice that the Sky has been replaced perfectly from the preview, much better than you do it manually in the previous version of Photoshop! If you wish to further enhance the look, there are many options you can use. You can find detailed explanation of each option at Adobe Help.

You don’t need to use all these options – However, from my experience, you will definitely need to have a look & adjust the following options to achieve the optimal outcome:

Fade Edge – This helps clearing any blending imperfections you may have between the new sky and original photo;

Lighting Mode – experiment with different blend mode and see what they bring;

Lighting Adjustment – this is the setting you need to fit your new sky perfectly with the rest of the image, especially around the edge;

Color Adjustment – you need to adjust this in order to ensure the colors are consistent throughout the image.

Pay Attention to the Output Options

The Sky Replacement tool offers you two different Output options: New Layers or Duplicate Layer:

If you choose “New Layers”, you will see Photoshop creating a layer group with the sky layer, lighting layer and color adjustment layer inside it:

On the other hand, the “Duplicate Layer” simply makes a new layer for you without any individual layer:

I suggest you use the “New Layers” option – simply because it is a non-destructive way of editing your photo. Plus you have more freedom on adjust each layer on its own.

Before and After Photo Comparison

Here is a couple of before-and-after result of a photo effect using the new Sky Replacement tool:





As you can see, the replacement was done perfectly even with complex objects like those tree branches. All these took me less than 30 seconds from start to finish.

That’s it for this tutorial! Have you tried this new tool yourself? Share your experience in the comment section below!

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