How to Extract a Cloud from a Sky the Easy Way using Photoshop

How do you add more depth and dimension to the scenes of your portrait composites?

By using Photoshop to extract a cloud from a sky of course. 

We all know that overlaying layers of photos in composites gives our images depth, beyond a single picture, but what if we could apply that same idea to the sky within our scene?

Today I’m going to show you how to extract a single cloud from a sky so you can create multiple layers within the sky of your scene and give it more depth too.

Adding More Depth in the Sky

If you want to take your composites to that “next level”, one easy way is by adding depth to the sky areas of your image.

creative family portrait of stacy back family camping in rockwall texas

While a small detail very few people will consider, adding a single cloud over the moon gave my Campfire Drunk creative portrait depth.

Here’s what it would look like without the cloud.

portrait composite without the cloud

Sure, the option without the cloud looks good but the final portrait with the cloud over the moon looks amazing.

A Simple Photoshop Extraction

Extracting this cloud from the sky in Photoshop is really a quite simple 4 step process.

Step 1: Select the Cloud

Start by isolating the cloud by selecting it with your lasso tool and copying your selection.

selecting the cloud to be extracted in photoshop

Step 2: Crop into the Cloud and Paint in the Gaps

Now that you have the cloud isolated, crop in close and paint in the gaps to match the blue sky.

crop into the cloud in photoshop

Merge your layers before moving on.

Step 3: Extract using Color Range

Next, go to “select” and choose “Color Range” to make your extraction.

photoshop color range

Use the fuzziness slider to alter the amount of cloud you want to extract.

Step 4: Alter Cloud Tone to Match your Scene

Lastly, add a black layer behind your cloud so you can alter the tone to fit the scene you’ll be using.

use photoshop to alter the color of your cloud

Convert your newly extracted cloud to a Smart Object and you’re ready to go.

Enjoy Your New Cloud Extraction

Congratulations on extracting your cloud from the sky and now you’re ready to take your composites to the next level.

Let me know how you like this weird Photoshop tutorial and how you might use your cloud extraction in the comments below.

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