adobe elements 6 - layers and layer masks


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 20:35
Hi folks. can someone please help me out. I am learning a technique of adding a new sky to a previously taken image using a multiply blend etc . this technique is being explained in a photo mag etc using photoshop cs and I am following it step by step but I have now hit a snag. the article now calls for a layer mask to be added to the new sky layer and then apply a gradinet mask to that layer mask.

I dont know how to do layer masks etc in elements6. is there a way or another method of achieving this in elemetns 6?

any help would be appreciated


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 20:45
This is the proven way from Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski:

Select the sky you want to replace using the lasso tool or the magic wand tool or even the quick selection tool, or any combination thereof.
Open your blue (or cloudy) sky picture. Either select the whole photo or use one of the selection tools as before to select the sky you want. Then press Ctr-C to copy it.
Swithc back to your original photo. Create a new layer and then under edit menu choose paste into selection. the new sky will appear over the old sky. Press ctrl-D to deselect.
If the sky seems too bright lower the opacity in the layer in the layers palette.

Can I recommend you buy their book The Photoshop Elements 6 book for digital photographers?


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 20:54
Layer masks are not a native part of Elements. However, you could always use "Clipping Masks". A long while ago I did some tutorials on them:

There are plug-ins that expose the Layer Masks that are buried inside Elements... but clipping masks will easily sort out sky replacement issues

The best thing is that you can continually adjust the mask... rather than trying to get the image perfectly cut out in one hit

(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 20:57
yes, I have tried this but this approach appears to either fall short of the mark or create a lot of manual work when one encounters a tree, which is in the foreground, that extends into the sky area (sorry, I forgot to mention the tree). In the article using photoshop cs the new sky (layer) is added simply on top of the old one and setting the blend to multiply. this brings in the new sky over the bland old, plain light sky. following this, adding a layer mask to the sky and manipulating this layer mask with gradients etc does the trick etc etc .

so, unfortunately, having a tree in the foreground complicates things for elements 6, i have found. so, how does one select the sky in the overall sky areas AND beyond the tree (inbetween the leaves, branches etc)?


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 21:23
Blow the photo as large as possible and select the bulk of the sky. Hold the shift key down to add all the little areas. You could use a brush to make the selections if it is easier.
Did you try the method I described above?
Do buy the book - it will teach you so much.


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 21:41
thanks for the advice chaps. btw, Matt I will study your tutorials. I have also found the following (useful!)


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 21:51
Mmm. I have just been experimenting a little more, as follows:

1. opened new sky image (darker sky with sunset aspects)
2. opened image with building, tree etc with very light sky (very bland white sky)
3. copied the second image over the top of the first (now have building, tree and light sky shown over the new sky)
4. on this image I have now selected 'Darken' blend method, which brings the new sky through

seems ok


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 21:54
try layer duplicate
filter threshold (adjust til you can see the sky in white and foreground in black.
select the black area with magic wand, then use you selection tools to add any other elements you may have missed, take out anything you didn't want to add..... now inverse the selection to have only your sky selected.
turn off that layer, and go to the full color layer below.

you should now have (in great detial (esp around leaves and such)) your sky selected and ready for removal (you may want to soften the edges alittle or do some minor clean up....)
great time saver.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.


Link Posted 17/06/2008 - 22:14
thanks Don. Thats quite neat!. although, i haven't used the adjustments/threshold feature before. i realise now that if you dont set your threshold enough you can end up with areas 'showing through' where you dont want them.

thanks for that


Link Posted 25/06/2008 - 11:00
Can't you just pull up an Adjustment Layer and use the mask on that?

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