Dramatic Clouds

with 2 Comments

Dramatic Clouds
by Nannette Dalton

Clouds are really interesting to me. There have been many times when I have taken a photo and was surprised to see how fascinating the clouds were. They really can give a dramatic feel to a photo.

I am going to show you how to boost those clouds just a bit and give them a little more contrast. This tutorial features one of the great tools that can only be found in Photoshop Elements, in the Enhance section of tools. So this time around, I will be providing a work around for Photoshop users.

Here is a photo that surprised me when I looked at it. I was focused on my son and his son walking down the path, but the dramatic clouds pulled me into the photo.

dst-clouds-01

Step One: Open and Duplicate the Photo

  • Open a photo with some gray clouds (File < Open).
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate and click OK. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • Close the original photo.

Step Two: Select the Clouds and Adjust the Levels


Photoshop Elements:
(Adobe Photoshop instructions are below.)

  • Get the Smart Brush tool.
  • In the Tool Options, open the Preset Picker, open the drop-down menu, and choose Nature. Choose the Cloud Contrast preset.
  • Set the Size to 200 px or whatever works best for your photo. (Earlier versions of PSE, open the Brush Picker and set the Diameter to 200 px.)
  • On the document, click and drag over the clouds to select that part of the photo.

Note: If you selected more than you wanted, hold down the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and carefully click and drag over any parts that you don’t want selected. Because this is a “smart” brush, the more you use it, the more it will learn what you want it to do.

  • Press Ctrl D (Mac : Cmd D) to deselect.

If you like what you see, you’re done! If you think the clouds could use a bit more drama, continue with the following steps.

  • In the Layers panel, double click on the Levels thumbnail of the Adjustment layer that you just created to open the Levels panel.
  • In the Levels panel, click on the Shadow Input slider and drag it to the right until the contrast looks good to you.

dst-clouds-03

Photoshop: (Instructions for Photoshop Elements are above.)

  • Get the Quick Selection tool.
  •  In the Options Bar, click on the New Selection icon, uncheck Sample All Layers, and check Auto-Enhance. Open the Brush Picker. Set the size to 30 px, the Hardness to 100%, and the Spacing 25%.
  • On the document, click and drag over the clouds to select that part of the photo.

Note: If you selected more than you wanted, hold down the Alt key (Mac: Opt key) and carefully click and drag over any parts that you don’t want selected.

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels, and click OK.
  • In the Properties panel or Adjustment panel, drag the Shadow Input slider to the right until the contrast looks good to you.

Step Three: Save the Photo

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Flatten Image.
  • Save the photo with a unique name (File > Save).

Here is my layout with my dramatic clouds. I love how it makes the photo look a little stormy, which works well with my title and pulls me right in.

dst-clouds-04

Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Dramatic Clouds by Nannette Dalton
Software: Photoshop Elements 12, Adobe Photoshop CC 2014
Scrapbook page: Walk Beside Me by Nannette Dalton
Papers and embellishments: Outdoor Dad by Brandy Murry
Chevron from Chevron Wave Video Tutorial by Jen White
Fonts: Castellar Regular, Calibri Light Italic

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

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Nannette-DaltonAuthor: Nannette Dalton | nann@digitalscrapper.com
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2 Responses

  1. PatriciaD
    | Reply

    Wow, this is really cool. Love the effect and the finished LO…totally awesome!! Thank you! I love clouds too so can’t wait to give it a go…and I always seem to have interesting clouds here in Alaska. (Unfortunately my laptop is at the doctor’s office – you know computer doctor…hehe.)

    • Nann Dalton
      | Reply

      Oh, sorry to hear about the ailing laptop, no fun. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery! Have fun with the tutorial.

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