How to Replace a Sky and Add a Proper Water Reflection Using Photoshop

Sky replacement is one of the biggest trends right now, with many programs offering replacement capabilities at varying degrees of automation. Photoshop recently added a powerful sky replacement feature, and though it does not handle water reflections automatically, it is not that difficult to add them manually, and this fantastic video tutorial will show you how it is done. 

Coming to you from Blake Rudis with f64 Academy, this great video tutorial will show you how to replace a sky automatically in Photoshop and add a realistic reflection in water. The challenge with creating a water reflection is that it is almost never a perfect reflection, but rather has some blurriness due to motion in the water. Even on relatively windless days, most lakes or other bodies of water will have some amount of motion in them, and as such, you need to simulate that to achieve a level of realism. Beyond that, adding perspective correction can help to finish off the effect. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Rudis, and download his action here

And if you need some more skies for your library, check out "Mike Kelley's Ultimate Sky Library" Royalty Free Raw Photographs for Sky Replacements With Mike Kelley!"

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7 Comments

jim hughes's picture

Let's quit fooling around and just cut to the total CGI. It saves travel expenses.

Adam Kencki's picture

i was just about to say.. why bother going out with all that heavy gear. stay at home, have a sausage roll and do it all in a pc. but please don't call it Photography

William Faucher's picture

Are movies no longer considered filmmaking because they use CGI? Do you edit your photos? Does editing an image no longer make it photography? Where do you draw the line? It's a pretty huge grey area that we can't really define. Besides, unless we're talking about photojournalism, there is no rule of ethics when it comes to photography. All that matters is the end result.

Never Mind's picture

Movies are not called photoanimations for a reason, I guess ;-)

IMHO the problem is not what people do, but what people call it. Where's in your opinion the limit or difference between a photograph and a drawing?

Adam Kencki's picture

of course feel free to do whatever you want to your photos:) i celebrate the new options and technology but my question is, is it still photography? i don't think so

Timothy Turner's picture

This is where ethics in photography comes in, I can here it now, hey! I was at that same mountain the same day and the sky was clear.

jim hughes's picture

What if the sky is great but the mountain is boring, or there's an algae bloom on the lake? When do we get "scenery replacement"? And now that I think about it - I'd like some younger looking friends...