Making A Selection using Colors
Always process your images in Camera Raw before you send it to Photoshop.
Step 1 --Setup Selection > Color Range…
I'm using Photoshop CS6 for this…
Use The Menu item Selection > Color Range… The dialogue box looks a bit different in CS6, but it doesn't affect what we are doing.
Select "Sampled Colors"
√ Localized Color Clusters
Set Fuzziness to about 50
Range to about 30 (for now)
Choose Selection (radial button)
and Set Selection Preview to Grayscale
√ Invert and Select
The + Eye dropper to add to the color range
The alt key (PC), The Option Key (Mac)
Changes the +eyedropper to a subtraction eyedropper.
With the + eyedropper click in the picture, holding down the mouse button and Drag over the area you want to select...
Click and drag in all the areas you want to select
Adjust the Fuzziness and the Range sliders until you get the best detail…
You will need to experiment here to get the settings right.
When you are done, click okay.
In the layers palette at the bottom
Add Layer Mask icon (Rectangle with a circle)
(they are called panels now)
When the pointer "hovers over" the Add Layer Mask…
In Photoshop CS 6 it is showing the description "Add Vector Mask"?
Refining the Masks Edge
Select the mask in the layer panel
In CS 5, the Masks have their own panel called "Masks".
In CS 6 the Mask panel has been relegated to the "Properties" panel
Just click the Mask Edge… button
I also added the cumulus cloud background… (It's from NOAA). If you are an avid photographer you should start a collection of "beautiful clouds" for pictures that need some improvement over the Pacific Northwest drabby skies!!!
I used "drag and drop" to place the clouds as layer in with the Bell Tower… Arrange your 2 photos using "2up", so you can see both of them on the screen You’ll find the 2up button on the Arrange Documents drop down menu in the very top row of the Photoshop window. To Drag and Drop, Choose the Move Tool (the V key) and Click on source image you want to Drag and Drop onto your new document. Hold down mouse button and drag the layer onto the new document, then, let go of the mouse button! If you want the dropped image centered… while you drag and drop hold down the "Shift" key. Have fun dragging and dropping!
Refine Mask Settings
Step one --In the View Mode box:
Choose "On Layers" so we can see the replacement sky as we work on the edges of the mask… Remember, the mask is a 256 shades of gray pixel layer and can be edited as a pixel document in Photoshop. This wizard is doing the hard work for us…
Use the zoom tool to get up close to the detail in the trees…
As you can see we need to make some adjustments.
Step two --In the Adjust Edge box
Start with Shift Edge. A negative number will shrink the mask… I stopped at -35% Your milage may vary.
I found a small feather amount of 1 pixel helped
I set a smoothness value of 9
Step 3 --In the Output box
Decontaminate colors helped the most… I used a setting of 65%
The Mask still needs help
Step three --The Edge Detection Box.
√ Smart Radius
Move the Radius slider until detail starts to disappear. I stopped at Radius = 9.8 pixels
Step four --The Refine Radius Tool
Press the "E" Key to activate the brush.
As you paint along the edges of the leaves in the trees you'll see a white area… When you let go of the mouse button the computer will do it's calculations and find the edges for you… It can take a few moments to finish…
You'll need to zoom out and in and scroll around the image to work on all the edges!
Click to √ Remember Settings
Set Output to "New Layer with Layer mask"
You'll might need to touch up the mask with a "white" brush…
Before and After