Wednesday, April 13

Coffeeshop Tutorial: Creating Fine Art Beach Sky Overlays in Photoshop/PSE plus FREE SKY TEXTURE!

Today I am going to show you how you can create your own Fine Art Sky Overlays using free stock images and Photoshop/PSE. These overlays are very easy to make and they can turn a "blah" sky into a stunning work of art. These overlays are not only for beach scenes, you can use them in any image outdoor image.

You can download a set of beach sky overlays I made earlier this week and also read the step-by-step tutorial on how to add these overlays to your own images. You can also download the beach sky overlay I made for this tutorial at the bottom of this post.

CoffeeShop Tutorial, Creating Your Own Custom Beach Sky Overlays in Photoshop/PSE:

Open an image with a gorgeous sky. If you don't have one of your own you can find them on Pixabay. I am using this stunning sunset to create today's beach sky overlay. Make a copy of the image (Ctrl-J). You will work on the top layer.

I always make sure the horizon is not tilted so I turn on the Grid. First set your grid preferences (if needed, see first screenshot above) then go to View, Show, Grid. (Screenshots above are from PSE)

When I zoomed in I could see the horizon was not straight.

Ctrl-T (free transform) that top layer and adjust the setting until the horizon lines up with a line. You can also adjust the size to make sure the entire area is filled in with photo. If you see any warping when you make it bigger, make sure "Constrain Proportions" is checked in Photoshop/PSE before transforming the image.

Select the sky on the top edited layer with the Marquee tool. Make sure you don't have it set to feather.

NOTE: If you have any distracting elements (silhouettes, boats, etc) in the sky you will want to clone them out before continuing this tutorial.

Then Ctrl-J the selection to make two copies of the selected area (see Layer 2 and Layer 2 copy in the screenshots above).

Make sure the top layer is selected.

Ctrl-T (Transform) and uncheck "Constrain Proportions" and change the H (height) to -100%. This will flip that layer.

Then drag that layer underneath the sky to make a mirror copy. This is a fun little editing trick I developed so that the beautiful light from the sky will be automatically reflected in the water and wet sand in your image.

Filter, Blur that layer (the bottom mirror copy of the overlay) until it is in soft focus. Don't worry too much about this step, in most cases you will have to blur it even more after you add it your image.

Then Flatten the image and save your new Beach Sky Overlay!

For full instruction on using this overlay in your own images and to download a complete set, visit this post. The overlay I created in this tutorial can be downloaded below.

This is the original image

I added the texture in Multiple blending mode, Opacity 73%. I blurred out the bottom of the texture as detailed in the tutorial.

The little girl needs to be brightened some, so I added a Levels adjustment layer above the Background and below the sky overlay and adjusted the gamma (middle) slider to the left to brighten the midtones.

I would love to see your own edits using beautiful sky overlays on my Facebook page!

Download the CoffeeShop Beach Sky Overlay I made in this tutorial.

Do you want to download thousands of professional CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop actions (including exclusive ones not found anywhere for free), textures/overlays, scrapbooking papers, clip art/design elements, photo storyboards and frames, and Lightroom presets from this site in one convenient zipped file AND help support this one-woman blog?

Just click here for my CoffeeShop Mega Download Pack!


  1. I LOVE this idea SO MUCH! You did a wonderful job creating your sky overlays and I have already played with them! THANK YOU!!

  2. Thanks for the OL and the great tut. Hopefully I'll get a chance to play around with it sometime soon.

    Lisa D.

  3. When downloading from Paxaby what size do I download for overlay use? They offer S,M,L,& Original. Thank you! P.S. I love your blog


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