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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Tri Colour Skies
Adobe Photoshop


Create Multi Coloured Skies (Using Channels)
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
Skill Level - Intermediate

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This lesson demonstrates how to create tri coloured skies. To work along, download the start images Here.  Unzip the file and open the three images onto Photoshop’s

Understanding Layers
Understanding Blending Modes
Understand The Workspace And Palettes

Preparing Three Photographs
Using a tripod, take three identical photographs, without moving the camera, snapping them about five minutes apart. This ensures your three images are identical - with only the clouds changing. It is the changing clouds that help to create the tri colour effect, therefore, choose a day when the sky is full of interesting, fast moving clouds.

Undo and Navigation Steps
Two ways of undoing steps are from the top menu, Edit then Step Backwards.
Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette,

or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

Open your three start images onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Now, activate the River1 Jpeg, and move River2 and River3 to one side.

Then from the Layers palette, click the Channels tab. If you cannot see Channels, from the top menu, choose Window, then click a tick before Channels
Now, from the Channels palette, click the following tiny (black), arrow, and from the subsequent drop-down list, click Split Channels.

Photoshop then splits the River1 Jpeg into separate Red, Green and Blue channels, and places them onto your workspace - as separate images.

Now, look at the top menu of the three (R, G, and B) images, and ensuring you retain the Red (R) channelled image, locate and delete both the Blue (B) channel and Green (G) channelled images. 

After you have deleted the blue and green images - you will then have the Red (R) channelled image open on your workspace - along with the original (so far untouched), River2 and River3 Jpegs.

Now, activate the River2 Jpeg, and Spilt its Channels in exactly the same way. 
And this time, retain the Green (G) image, and delete both the Blue (B) and Red (R) images.

Activate the River3 Jpeg, and Split its Channels in the same way. This time,
retain the Blue (B) channelled image, and delete both the Red (R) and Green (G) channelled images

On your workspace, there will be one Red (R), one Green (G) and one Blue (B) channelled images - three in total.

Now, again click the tiny arrow in the Channels palette, and this time, choose Merge Channels from the drop-down list.

In the subsequent Merge Channels dialogue box, change the Mode to RGB Colour. Then click OK. (Note: There should be 3 Channels).

In the subsequent Merge RGB Channels dialogue box, (under Specify Channels), ensure the R, G and B channels have been correctly entered, then click OK

Note: The correct channels will automatically be entered, if for some reason they are not correct, click open the arrow highlighted below, and manually change the
channel, (s).

After clicking OK, the red, green and blue channels will be merged as one - subsequently creating a multi coloured skyline.

To darken the image, press Ctrl then L to display the Levels Command. Then move just the Grey slider a little to the right. Then click OKExperiment with Levels.

If you feel the sky and water colours are too intense, activate the Sponge Tool, and working in Desaturate Mode, (with a soft round brush), reduce the colour’s intensity. 

If you notice over coloured objects in your image, you can make them less obvious using the Sponge Tool, (in Desaturate Mode). Alternatively, remove distracting objects altogether, using the Clone Tool
Clone Tool Lesson Here.

When you are happy with your image,
save your work.

Wendi E M Scarth.
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