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Part 12 - (More) Darkening the Sky

July 2005 Magazine

A common need when manipulating landscape images is darkening the sky. This can be difficult because of the need to avoid darkening the land and creating any “tell tale” lines which show that changes have been made. Last month we showed a simple but laborious technique for doing this. In Part 12 we describe some ingenious methods using curves to darken the sky without darkening the land which are easy to use once you’ve got some practice.

Below we show the “before” and “after” image of a Class 175 unit crossing Arnside viaduct as an animated graphic. (Move your mouse over the image and watch it change. If you have a slow PC or Internet link you may have to pause for several seconds while the image changes)

Photoshop Curves

The sky darkening uses a Photoshop feature known as Curves. The two curves used have been made available here for download so that readers can experiment without having to create the curves themselves. The two curves are the:


To use them - in full Photoshop Only, create a Curves Adjustment Layer, then use the “Load” button to load the curve file. Remember that when using the “Multiply” method the effect will not be complete until you set the “blending mode” of the layer to multiply.

Extras for Photoshop Elements
Unfortunately Photoshop Elements does not have a Curves feature. However it is possible using some extra free software created by an Australian,
Paul Shipley, to add a curves feature (and some others) to Elements. This software is available for free distribution provided no charge is made and we have included a copy here.

Installation Instructions

  • If Elements is already running, close it.
  • Download the Zip file containing the extra tools.
  • Extract them by using right click of the mouse and the “Extract All...” option
  • Then each sub-folder in the hierarchy needs to be moved to its equivalent folder in the Elements hierarchy. This is shown in the two large diagrams below - where to copy the three sets of files from, and where to copy them to
  • Delete the Elements cache file. To do this, display the contents of the following folder: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 2\Previews and delete the folder called “Cache”
  • Restart Elements

To use tools, go to the “Effects” palette. Select the option you want and then press the Apply” button

The most useful extra tools are the “Add Layer Mask” and “create Curves Adjustment Layer”

Click here for screenshots of Windows Explorer showing where to copy the “Extra” files from and to.

Part Eleven

Part Thirteen

NIR-80-portrush Gen-tampa All material  Kim Fullbrook
2004-2011 5690-gx 201-Kildare