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Thread: How to make sky bluer?

  1. #1
    Tony M's Avatar
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    How to make sky bluer?

    Hi there,

    I'd like to make the sky bluer in this photo. I have Lightroom 3.5 and Photoshop Elements 10. In Lightroom I tried increasing the saturation of the sky, by clicking on the HSL, then clicking on the sky and dragging the mouse upwards. Lightroom determines the colours to increase the saturation of. However, a part of the white wall also has a small element of blue (which you wouldn't notice), and that became bluer.

    I'm not yet expert in these PP tools and so any advice would be appreciated, including other tips to improve the image.

    How to make sky bluer?

    1/60s at f/10, 22mm, ISO 400, lens Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5

  2. #2
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony M View Post
    Hi there,

    I'd like to make the sky bluer in this photo. I have Lightroom 3.5 and Photoshop Elements 10. In Lightroom I tried increasing the saturation of the sky, by clicking on the HSL, then clicking on the sky and dragging the mouse upwards. Lightroom determines the colours to increase the saturation of. However, a part of the white wall also has a small element of blue (which you wouldn't notice), and that became bluer.

    I'm not yet expert in these PP tools and so any advice would be appreciated, including other tips to improve the image.
    Hi Tony,

    Best way to accomplish that would be to use the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom.
    Just click on Adjustment Brush, then select "Color" from the drop down menu at the
    top. Click on the color square that shows up at the bottom of the column, and select
    the preset dark blue in the top row. I set the "size" at 14, the Feather at 49 and Flow
    to 73. Now, just brush over the sky area and the light blue will begin to darken. You can
    add more color by continuing to brush over it, or by using the Saturation slider in the
    Adjustment Brush window.

    Nice pic, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new sky...

    Mike

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Beautiful shot Tony.

    A few other relatively easy methods for darkening the sky are:

    In lightroom1. Select the adjustment tool in the Tone Curve Panel. Click on the Sky and drag downwards.
    2. Decrease Blue Luminance (watch out for banding and noise though)

    In ElementsGoto the Enhancement Menu select Adjust Colour > Replace Colour then use the eyedropper to select the sky and increase saturation and darken the tone.

    NOTE: All of the above methods will also darken the whites, but the can be recovered by adding some fill light in Lightroom and/or increasing whites in Elements

    The adjustment tool already mentioned is the easiest though and probably the best. Just thought I'd throw out a couple other options.

    Wendy

  4. #4
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Thanks Mike and Wendy for your suggestions. I spent a few hours on this, and came up with the following three versions. There's quite a story behind producing them, which I'll relate later in this post in case anyone finds it helpful.

    I used the adjustment brush to reduce the exposure of the sky by 1.27. It probably gives the same result as replacing the colour. I also used Photoshop Elements to remove the small vine at the right of the image.

    How to make sky bluer?

    I then thought that the sky was a bit too dull, so in Elements, I followed Wendy's suggestion to use the Replace Colour feature, and increased the saturation of the sky by 30%. By doing this after the previous step, I managed to change only the sky; doing this first brought out the blue in the white wall, which I didn't want.

    How to make sky bluer?

    I then increased the saturation to 40%, using the same method as for the previous step. I still don't know which I prefer.

    How to make sky bluer?

    Before doing this, I watched the Laura Shoe video tutorial on using the adjutsment brush. It was very useful and I recommend it if you haven't used the adjustment brush much.

    Then, in step one (above), where I used LR's adjustment brush to brush over the sky, LR slowed down tremendously after completing that task in Develop mode. I wanted to use its Clone tool to remove the small vine at the right, but it took up to 20s each time I applied the clone. Its memory usage increased to about 2GB, which is huge. Being a computer programmer, it'd be interesting to know what data structures LR uses to store the adjustments. I closed LR and restarted it, then put the photo into Develop mode again, and its memory usage climbed to nearly 2GB again, with performance degrading as badly as before. (I have a Windows 7 laptop with 4GB of RAM. I had about 700MB of RAM spare, and I didn't detect LR paging memory to disk, so I think that LR was simply CPU-bound while manipulating its massive data structures.) Admittedly, I did get carried away with the adjustment brush: I zoomed in 4x and applied it to every patch of the sky, including between the leaves of the tree. Perhaps that pushed LR over the edge.

    So I continued editing in Elements. Its clone tool is far easier and quicker to use than LR's, and following Wendy's suggestion to replace the colour is also very easy.

    And all this while sipping red wine! A pleasant way to spend the evening...
    Tony

  5. #5
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Good thread!

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Hi Tony, I think I like the last one best (40%) Have you tried a bit of fill light and perhaps increasing the shadows slider in the Tone Curve adjustments in Lightroom. The sky might lighten up just a bit, but it also whitens up the wall on the left and brings out a bit more detail in the leaves and oranges.

    Oh BTW, I have the same problems you describe in LR. Seems like an intermittent thing though. Sometimes it works great and other times the adjustment brush and the graduated filter take so long it's like they have stopped working. If I keep playing with them, all the adjustments start coming in at once. Sometimes it seems to work fine though. Not sure what is going on there. Windows 7 8Gb RAM Intel i7 CPU 2.8 Ghz

    Wendy

  7. #7
    Tony M's Avatar
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Wendy, you're a star! I increased the fill light +22, which really brought out the oranges. I increased shadow, i.e. -16; I presume that's what you meant. That restored some darkness to the leaves, while the net effect was to lighten them a little. The sky lightened, as you said it would, so I increased saturation by +34, and hue +7, which restored it to the same colour prior to adding fill light. And here's the result.

    How to make sky bluer?

    Tony

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    it's amazing how post processing can improve the image 10 times fold. ^_^

    Wendy: This is the time where the video card plays in. Have you had it set up where Lightroom will use the GPU? Maybe this is why sometimes when you do your post process it drags your computer.

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crovean View Post
    it's amazing how post processing can improve the image 10 times fold. ^_^

    Wendy: This is the time where the video card plays in. Have you had it set up where Lightroom will use the GPU? Maybe this is why sometimes when you do your post process it drags your computer.
    Chriss, I'm not sure how I have it set up. Could you go into more detail as to where I would look or how to set this up. I'd love to get it fixed.

    Wendy

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Tony, love the last image. Another case to show that keeping it simple really does work. Beautiful compositon colours and light

    Wendy

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Thanks for the great tips!! I just got my lightroom and I am just starting to get my feet wet with it!! Photo is great by the way!!

  12. #12
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Great work Tony! The latest edit looks great. This is a beautifully composed image and with the latest edit it really pops.

  13. #13
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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Tony, your last edit is fantastic. Very well done!

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    Re: How to make sky bluer?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Chriss, I'm not sure how I have it set up. Could you go into more detail as to where I would look or how to set this up. I'd love to get it fixed.

    Wendy
    Wendy,

    I take this back. Actually Lightroom don't support OpenGL where the software accelerates the GPU performance. What this does is make everything smoother. From zooming in and out and also image rotation. But still it all goes back on having a good GPU to take some stress out from the CPU. What kind of GPU you have currently on your system?

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