Monday, April 4

CoffeeShop"Beach Skies" Overlay Set and Photoshop/PSE Tutorial!

It is warm and sunny here and I want to go visit Galveston Island and go walk on the beach! Unfortunately we are stuck at home for now, so this week it is all about the beach here on the CoffeeShop Blog. Today I have a set of beach sky overlays and later this week I am releasing a beach action (called Beachy Luxe) and fine art texture. All of these freebies can be used together for you to create you own gorgeous beach fine art image!

I love when I capture a gorgeous sky "in-camera", but there are times you have that otherwise perfect shot with a blah-boring sky. It is quite easy to add a new sky using Photoshop/PSE, but there are tricks to making it look realistic.

Today I am so excited to post a stunning "Beach Skies" overlay set and step-by-step tutorial so you can use them on your own images in a realistic manner. You can use these on any images, but I think they look especially nice on beach-themed photos.

I made the sky overlays from these Pixabay images (1, 2, 3). I will post a complete step-by-step tutorial later on how I made these overlays in Photoshop, but basically I cloned out distracting elements and cropped out everything but the gorgeous sunset/sunrise. When you have a beautiful colorful sky on the beach you usually see the colors reflected on the water and wet sand. So I made a copy of the sky and flipped it and dragged it under the original sky and slightly blurred it. This way you will see a mirror reflection of the gorgeous colors. Then I brought the skies into Lightroom and cleaned them up some more,  adjusted the colors/contrast, and removed noise. I am very happy with the finished products.

This is a reader edit from Mathilde Strochinski Photography that was posted on my Facebook page. Wow!!! I think the dramatic sky really added so much to this image.

For my tutorial below I used these two original images (girl on beach, father and son on beach). You could download both of these to follow along with my tutorial if you want.

Tutorial 1: Girl on Beach

This is the original image. I love how this little girl is off to the side, staring at the water. But I think it needs some drama. Or so says the "Photoshop Nerd".

I opened the "CS sky two" overlay (download link below) and dragged it on top of the image.

I lowered the opacity so I could see the original image behind the sky. Then I free-transformed the sky (Ctrl-T) where the middle of the sky overlay was on the sky-meets-ocean line out in the horizon. You don't have to keep the proportions exact, just drag and adjust until you love the placement.

I put the sky layer in Multiply blending mode and kept the opacity at 100%. I will lower the opacity of this layer later. You can also try Soft Light or Overlay mode, or try adding the sky layer twice. It really depends on the image. If your sky is darker you might want to lighten it before adding the sky overlay.

One of the neat things about these beach sky overlays (and a feature I haven't seen anyone else incorporate in a sky overlay) is that they are designed to reflect the brilliant sky colors onto the water and wet sand. But in most cases it will be necessary to blur out the bottom section to keep the reflections from looking blotchy.  Just select everything below the horizon with your marquee tool (M) and then Gaussian Blur the selection until the color is still there but looks more natural.

I also like to soften the sky and clouds. Just invert your selection (select, inverse) and then Gaussian Blur the sky until it looks soft and beautiful.

I find the bottom corners too dark and blue for my taste, so I will show you one way to adjust them.

Turn off the original image. This is what my sky texture looks like after the Gaussian blurs. You can see both the bottom left and right are blue from the sky reflection effect.

I clicked with the eyedropper tool on an area that was orange just above the blue.

Then I used a soft brush to paint the orange color over the blue corners, directly on the sky overlay layer. I think this will look much better.

Then I turned back on the original Background layer, dialed down the opacity of the sky layer to 80%, and used a soft black brush to remove some of the sky overlay from the little girl.

This is my finished edit. I love the brilliant sky and soft reflected colors on the water and sand and I think it looks like I might have captured it "in-camera".  I could run an action or add a texture like I do in the example below, or just stop and admire the image as it is.

Tutorial 2: Man and Son on Beach

Here is a second image where I am going to add one of my beach skies overlays.

If you have color and/or clouds in the original image's sky, sometimes it looks better if you remove them before adding the beach sky overlay. In this example I added a new layer and used the eyedropper tool to grab the lightest area of the sky. I then quickly painted over the clouds and blue area.

I added "CS sky three" in Multiply blending mode, 100% on top and free-transformed it to fit. Don't you love the sun in the distance? That is my favorite part.

I turned off the original background layer and selected and blurred both the top and bottom of the sky texture as seen above in the first tutorial. I also painted out some of the blue reflections in the sand (see the tutorial above) and reduced the amount of sun reflection by using a soft 25% orange brush directly over the bright sun reflection on the bottom.

I thought the edges of the sky needed to be toned down.

I added a layer mask to the sky overlay layer and used a soft low opacity black brush to remove some of the sky texture from the top right and left corners. I also want to remove some of the Cyan color.

I added a Hue/Saturation layer and grouped it with the sky layer. Then I selected "Cyan" from the drop-down menubar and lowered the saturation and upped the lightness. I think this looks more realistic.

Then I ran the CoffeeShop "Beachy Luxe" action on the image.  

This is my final edit after adding a new texture I am posting for download here this week. As I mentioned in my opening, it is all about the beach edits this week at the CoffeeShop Blog! 

I hope you enjoy these new sky textures and tutorial. I would love to see your edits using them on my Facebook page!

Download the CoffeeShop "Beach Skies" Overlay set. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.

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  1. Woweeee!!!! I LOVE these!!! Thanks!

  2. Wow these are gorgeous Rita. Thanks so much. Very indepth tutorial as well. I can't wait to try it out.

    Lisa D.

    1. Thank you Lisa! I have so much fun writing these tutorials. <3

  3. The layers are not dragging into my Photoshop CC?? Nor will they open up in Photoshop.

  4. This is just wonderful! I have learned so much from your blog - thank you!!

  5. Are these still available? I tried to download them, but only have jpeg documents, no atn files to load onto my pse. Thanks!

    1. These do not have an action, just follow my tutorial I posted!

  6. If matching the horizon lines--The overlay doesn't stretch down to cover the whole image, what do you advise? I've tried so many time and my search attempts are fruitless.

    1. I mentioned something about it in the tutorial above. When you add the sky, free-transform it to fit, but don't worry about keeping the proportions equal. You can make it wider or taller and in most cases the sky will still look great. Just fit the sky texture to your image. :-)


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