We process the sky with Bamboo Special Edition A6 in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we will look at how to improve the sky in a landscape image with a graphic tablet. Bamboo special edition and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

The sky in any landscape plays a very important role, in other words it just makes the frame more expressive, expressive and complete. Many photographers, especially beginners, pay very little attention to this important component of a beautiful harmonious picture. The nature of the sky plays a big role, it revives the landscape and gives it originality, and the seascape with a beautiful sky is generally unique in the truest sense of the word, since the sea, like the sky, is always different and the clouds together with the waves will never line up the same time . Beautiful landscapes are obtained at dawn and dusk, in foggy and clear weather, it all depends on what the task is, what needs to be conveyed in the picture.

So, in this tutorial, we will look at how to enhance the sky in a landscape photo with the Bamboo Special Edition graphic tablet and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Open the original image in Photoshop with zero exposure, without lightening or darkening anything. Desirable good quality:

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Duplicate the layer (ctrl + J). Any action that you perform in Photoshop needs to be done on a new layer, since then you will always have the opportunity to go back, undoing the latest changes and not affecting what you did before.

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The undo function can be configured on one of the buttons on the Bamboo Special Edition tablet – this will allow you to reach for the keyboard less often and, accordingly, speed up the process. The Bamboo series graphic tablets have 4 buttons, the upper one is configured by default to enable / disable touch functions, so for the remaining 3 you can “hang” the most frequently required keyboard shortcuts.

A new, just created layer is necessary in order to create an image with a positive exposure on it in order to develop the image areas in the shadows to achieve the maximum volume. To do this, we adjust levels on this layer (image – correction – levels). In the window that appears, you need to move the sliders on both sides of the histogram to the beginning of the slide as shown in this figure:

Next, on the same layer, adjust the shadow and light areas of the image (image – correction – shadow / light) and set, approximately, such parameters as shown in Fig. 4. These parameters are optimal for our image. They may differ slightly, it all depends on the specific image.

Now we can merge the layers (shift + ctrl + E) and save the image in the right place. Next, create another layer (ctrl + J) to adjust the colors.

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Open (image – correction – selective color correction). It should be noted that all coordinates in this case are also purely individual for each particular image, it all depends on what you need to get in the final result. In this case, you need to enhance the red color, as this will make the picture more expressive. To do this, select the red color in the selective color correction window.

and move the sliders as shown below.

So we increased the red color locally in the sky. Now we can merge the layers and start giving volume to the sky. This action is very convenient to perform using a graphics tablet. Select the sky and create a new layer (ctrl + J). The function of creating a new layer can also be programmed on one of the Bamboo Special Edition tablet buttons.

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On a new layer, create an image lighter than the original, for this in the menu: image – correction – pick color set the parameters, like this:

Create a black mask on the layer. To do this, press Alt and the mask button shown in the screenshot below. The black mask is convenient because if you want to undo any action, for example, erase the drawn one, it is possible to do this with a simple eraser using the created mask, and then again show the bottom layer with a white brush, but this is correct. This is the convenience of using the mask. Such actions can not be done on a regular layer, on which you simply erase everything, but there is nothing to show.

Next, select the white brush tool in Photoshop with such parameters as shown here:

We make the layer opacity of 25% and use the stylus to display a light bottom layer, which we have covered with a black mask, in the right places, in other words, wipe the black mask, thereby adding volume to the sky. If you need to increase the opacity of the layer to the desired number, for example 60 or 100. These manipulations are very convenient to do with the stylus on the tablet, as the mouse has less accuracy when entering the right place. After, when the necessary areas of the bright sky are manifested, we merge the layers and save the image.

Now we need to get rid of the possible noise. To do this, we again create a new layer and select the menu item “reduce noise” (filter – noise – reduce noise) and set approximately the parameters as indicated in the 2 figures below:

(click on image to enlarge)

(click on image to enlarge)

Now, as stated above, we close this layer with a black mask, again using the tablet stylus and a soft white brush with 100% opacity, wipe the noise in the right places (we show the bottom layer, which we covered with a black mask). We do this locally so as not to turn the image into a blurry. This is best done at 100% image magnification, since then all the details are visible. After completing the merge layers and save the image.

Next, we will work specifically with the sky, since the lesson is about processing the sky. To do this, select the sky with the stylus and, without removing the selection, create a new layer. Thus, we only have the sky on the new layer, as we need. We do not pay attention to the fact that it is not allocated exactly, since we will still work on it locally. So, we have a layer with the sky and now we need to adjust the levels again. To do this, go to the menu level adjustment (image – correction – levels) and set approximately the following parameters:

Now the sky has become more expressive and contrasting, but in its right side there is an overexposure that needs to be removed. To do this, we again need our indispensable tablet. We take a soft eraser and simply erase the created layer in the places where the overexposure formed, after which we merge the layers and save the image.

Now we can add a little sea-sky to the sky. To do this, create a new layer and go to the menu “Color Balance” (image – correction – color balance) and set approximately the following values:

Merge layers.

Everything is beautiful, the sky is expressive. It seems to have coped with the task. But no. Now we can add more volume for the absolute success of the case. To do this, create a layer again, take the tool “Dimmer

and, remembering what the ball looks like and where it has a shadow, when it stands on a plane, we darken the edges of the clouds, thereby giving them volume. The same action can be done with the tool Clarifier“But already on another layer. And here’s what we got:

This is the sky before giving the volume

This is the sky after giving the volume

Now we reduce the transparency of the layer to 70%, and we merge the layers and get a beautiful and expressive sky, which visibly adorns the seascape.


You should always pay attention to not overdoing image processing, because if your final work looks beautiful and harmonious and absolutely natural, it is generally more like the viewer than reworked surrealism, which is very much. The natural beauty of Nature more strikes the imagination, since not everyone can see it in reality and capture it, so when processing it is necessary to try only to complete the picture, emphasize the beauty of Nature. It is very important. Stick to this simple rule, and the success of your creations is guaranteed. A graphics tablet helps to make all actions more controlled and accurate. Good luck!

Lesson author: Elena Yemchuk

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