Tutorial #3: Replacing Grass and Sky

Every now and then, many real estate owners fail to impress their clients due to unattractive property photos with dull sky or dead grass. Within this video, we will take you through basic steps in the process of photo retouching on how to replace sky and grass to make your photos look more natural and breath-taking.

Watch the full tutorial video here:

1. Replacing sky

Use selection tool via blue copy. Click Channel and duplicate the layer Blue

Use Magical Tool for quickest selections

And Pen Tool as a supplement, adjust Feather Radius from 0.5 to 1 pexel

Return to layer Blue copy and reverse our selection and fill it with a black layer

Use Burn Tool and choose Shadow, set exposure from 10-15%

Regarding white details, indicate all color channels visibility, use Brush to blacken them. You can also use Levels to cast more light on dark areas

Choose Dodge Tool and set Highlights to cleanse the sky in Channels

To avoid risks of losing details, Lower exposure percent when moving your Brush to nearby trees

Hold Ctrl and select Mask symbol of this channel and we’ll get this selection

Choose whatever sky, make a copy of it and and press Alt + Ctrl + Shift to apply the sky in original image. Don’t forget to resize till it fits

Switch to Multiply mode in Blending Options to capture more tree details

Continue with selection, follow previous steps

Hold Ctrl and click Mask symbol at the same time

Disable the layer, move to background layer and cleanse original sky. Hold Ctrl + Shift + U to switch sky’s color

Similar to cleansing sky for channels, use Dodge tool to highlight. As you’ve done with cleansing the original sky, turn on the previous sky layer

In Filter category, select Other, choose Maximum and set 1 for quality

Finally, you can make comparison by turning on and off the layers to see changes


2.1. Replacing grassland

Click on the original layer and proceed to make selection of the grass area

Use Pen Tool and cut alongside these areas, set 1 for Feather

Open a beautifully chosen grassland background

Duplicate the grassland and place it on the original image by simultaneously pressing Alt + Ctrl + Shift + V

Pay extra caution to grass’s direction and the ratio

2.2. Retoucing grassland: We have 2 methods here

2.2.1. The first one

Reduce level of Opacity and get back to the selection

Change grass’ color in original image by reducing Tint level

To create grass’s shadow, turn off this layer and use Magic Tool

Click your right mouse and choose Similar. You should set low level for Feather which varies from 0.5-1

Turn on the chosen grass background and select Curve to darken by dragging the line


If the selection is too close, return to the previous step and set higher level for Feather which is about 5

Make another Curve layer, a mask will be automatically created and start to darken to create shadow as before.

After finishing, get rid of redundant details and you can also intensify the house’s shadow to add more authenticity

2.2.2. The second one

Duplicate your chosen layer and set Overlay mode for the copy

Use Brush Tool to paint shadow areas which can be detected by clicking the eye icon

Reduce Opacity level to add more authenticity

Next, examine to identify minor flaws in your selections by using soft Brush to paint

Click on original image to put it in comparision with the currently retouched one.

 Editing process performed by Revina.CO


* Want more Photo Editing Tutorial? Read about our exclusive Photo Retouching tutorial here!

About Hoan Nguyen