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Photoshop How To: Adding An Object To The Sky

Updated on November 16, 2015

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Adding Simple Objects To a Clear Sky

Have you ever looked at a photo online and noticed that something just shouldn't be in the picture? Or wonder how people put that object into a photo? Well, in this Photoshop How To hub I will show you how to add a simple object to a clear sky. Adding something to any picture is easy. It's all about whether it looks right or not, but remember, the eye is easily fooled!

To begin, I'll give you 2 sample images. One you'll (hopefully) recognize: The dreaded Death Star from Star Wars. The second photo is going to be your canvas with the clear blue sky.

Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement
Click for enlargement

Let's Begin!

To the right are the 2 images we will be working with. Save them both in a new folder and name them appropriately. Now, open them both into Photoshop.

Do not be afraid to use your own photos! I'm supplying these images for beginners or those who just want the practice.

Let's start with the Death Star. We can't just go and add the Death Star Image directly to the other photo. It would just look silly. The reason being is that there's all that black nothingness around it. We want to get rid of all that black surrounding it. Grab your Magic Wand Tool and set the Tolerance to Four. Also make sure the anti-alias box is checked. The tolerance option is in the tool's menu bar.

Above shows where you can find the tolerance setting for the magic wand tool
Above shows where you can find the tolerance setting for the magic wand tool
Selection before deletion CLICK TO ENLARGE
Selection before deletion CLICK TO ENLARGE

Selecting and Deleting

First, in the layer's palette, right click on the Background layer and select Layer from Background. This will unlock the layer and it will be easier to work with.

With the Magic Wand Tool selected, click on the black area. You'll notice that all the black pixels will have been selected. Go ahead and delete this selection. This can be done by simply hitting the "delete" key on your keyboard.

Selection after deletion
Selection after deletion

Adding To The Sky

 With any selection tool that you prefer, select all of the Death Star. Now Copy and Paste using any method you wish. (Ctrl C, Ctrl V or Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste) Paste the Death Star into the second image (the one with the clear sky). 

The Death Star Is WAY Too Large

This happens a lot when transferring images from one photo to another. The size of the image you pasted in can be either to large or too small. Photoshop is great for editing the size of an image. It is also good to know, that when you paste a new image into a document, it creates a new layer in your layers palette. In the above image, a new layer was created and I renamed it to "Death Star". It is a good habit to rename your layers so you remember what is on them, because some photoshop projects can have 20+ layers and that's not even the maximum amount you can have!

Just resize it with the Move Tool. Select the move tool and shrink it down using the Handles (little boxes) around the image. Hint: Remember to hold SHIFT to constrain proportions!!!!

Get the Death Star to fit nicely into the sky. Maybe rotate it a bit!

Great, it's added. Now what?

You're not done. Just look at the photo. The Death Star is sticking out and doesn't even look like it belongs! But first, let's paint. Painting with the brush tool can help an object look more natural in a photo.

Grab your Brush Tool and set the mode to Color. To select the same color as the sky, hold ALT and then click on the sky. Anywhere you want. This will select the color of the sky.

Now, for this next step, you're going to want to select a layer's Thumbnail. Thumbnails are to the left of the layer name, and to the right of the eyeball. The thumbnail is the little image that is displayed for the layer. Right Click the Death Star's thumbnail and pick Select Pixels. This will select only the visible pixels on that layer.

Go ahead and paint that Death Star By holding the mouse and dragging over it a few times. You will begin to notice a change in the color of the Death Star from its original color to a pale blue.


 Opacity is how well and object will appear in an image. 100% will show up all the way, 0% is none at all. There are 2 kinds on opacity. There's the Fill Opacity which deals more with the midtones, shadows, and highlights of an image. And the Master Opacity which governs everything in the image.

Messing with the opacity is fun and can come in handy if you don't want something to appear in a photo all the way. For this, set the master opacity to around 77% and the fill opacity to 55%.

Final Step: Dodge Tool

Great! You've gotten the opacity down. But the Death Star is still a little too dark. Grab your Dodge Tool and set the Range (located in the tool menu bar) to shadows. Then all you have to do is swipe the dodge tool over the Death Star a couple times!

Then for one last final touch up, switch the Range to Midtones and give the Death Star one more swipe, and then a little touch up on the left edge of it.
If the Death Star still doesn't seem to look right, change the opacities once more.

Let's see the final image!

Followed Along?

If you followed along with the tutorial you should have come out with a picture that is similar to the one above. If yours looks a little off don't worry! It takes some time and practice to get things to be good! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please leave a comment below. If you want me to write up another tutorial on how to do something you're curious about doing, comment below as well!

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    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Educative and informative hub which is well shared.

    • WillSteinmetz profile image

      WillSteinmetz 5 years ago

      Wow. Very detailed and informative hub.THanks for sharing about photoshop. Very useful.

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