ON1 Workflow – Replacing Skies in ON1 Effects

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It is unfortunate that we can’t always have the most abundant skies when we are out and about.  My wife always says, “It’s a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky!”  I can’t stand it, as a landscape photographer we need those puffy softboxes to drown out shadows and add interest to that big blue blob of negative space.

So, what do you do?

Well, you could keep going back to the same location repeatedly hoping for puffy clouds.  That is all fine and well if that place is close to you, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

You know what I do?

I shoot all the puffy beautiful clouds that I see at varying focal lengths, I put them in a cozy folder on my PC, and I use them in boring photos that need them.  Like they say, “if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying,” right?

I think it is more about being resourceful than being a cheater, so in this ON1 Workflow, I am going to show you how to use Effects’ Texture Filter to replace skies.  It is a doozy of a technique too!

Download Blake Rudis’ Cloud JPGs to add to your photos.

48 comments on “ON1 Workflow – Replacing Skies in ON1 Effects”

  1. On July 25, 2017 at 9:59 am Petr Krenzelok wrote:

    That’s just perfect, Blake. I wonder, what do guys at on1 come up with re the future of Layers. It seems you can do many things just witnout it. What I especially liked, is the protection measures in your last step, when you added the light spot – it turned the light spot into being a really natural looking brightening. I need to find your video re dodge and burn and save those as presets – here comes my long time wished for relightning filter :-) What I wish for the Texturizer, which we do use a lot, is the ability to shift/center/place a texture. You can scale it, but I would like it also being placed, the same way, as with the vignettes.

    1. On July 25, 2017 at 11:08 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Very true! After doing this it would have been nice to grab the texture and move it up. However, this is a very powerful filter for what it does. There are some applications out there that are built and sold separately to just do this. ON1 PR is light years ahead in many ways and offers so much in a small lightweight package.

  2. On July 25, 2017 at 10:07 am Eilif wrote:

    Great video. Learning something new every time!

  3. On July 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm Heike wrote:

    Excellent video, Blake!
    In principle you could really call every image a texture and blend it here in the texture filter…, great workflow. One of the key infos also was the use of range in conjunction with apply to highlights to create a very smooth transition between sky and rocks. … and the use of the split tone, …and the spotlight…
    I like the spotlight here in on1 much more than in PS for all the adjustments that can be done.
    Thank you so much for the tutorial.

    1. On July 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Thanks, Heike! I agree, the spotlight here is much easier to use and more user-friendly. The range is the key, you really have to spell that out when you are applying a filter to a certain tonal area.
      Thanks for watching!

  4. On July 25, 2017 at 11:31 pm Simon Ross wrote:

    Very good video tutorial no need to register in photography classes because here it is free and you can learn a lot of things you can hands on to learning by the help of this video. Thank you Blake!

    1. On July 26, 2017 at 9:44 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Agreed! ON1 does a phenomenal job with their educational material. Not all companies set aside enough time for continual education on their products.

  5. On July 26, 2017 at 1:08 pm Amy Perlmutter wrote:

    Great tutorial Blake. Thanks so much. I am wondering if there is a way to download this tutorial to my computer? Would love to watch whenever I want. Thanks!

    1. On July 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Thanks, Amy! I am not sure, that is up to ON1. However, they archive everything here so you have a couple of options.

      1. Make a bookmark for it and store it in a “Favorite Tutorials” Folder. If you do that just go ahead and put all of my tutorials in there :)


      2. Anytime you come to the ON1 blog you can search in the box in the top right. If you type Blake Rudis (or Matt or Hudson or Jim, etc) any posts by me or any of your other favorite ON1 Guru’s will show up.

      1. On July 26, 2017 at 8:25 pm Amy Perlmutter replied:

        Ha, thanks Blake. Yes, all your tutorials would be there:). I’m just thinking to the future. What happens if I’m not an ON1 Plus member at some point in time, or if I’m traveling and want to be reminded of how you did the “blending” etc. Anyways, thanks for sharing your knowledge, artistic vision and talents with us.

  6. On July 27, 2017 at 9:09 am Robb Charles wrote:

    Thank you, great learning video. Was great to learn how to use different tools for replacements!I like you style of “training” as you don’t leave out the main ingredients to the recipe’ Thanks again!

  7. On July 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm evelyn young wrote:

    Great video Blake. I love to watch your lessons. I learn so much from you.

    1. On July 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Awesome! Thank you so much for watching. I really do appreciate it!

  8. On July 28, 2017 at 12:29 pm Elizabeth Girardeau wrote:

    Blake, this was wonderful. I have had issues getting a natural look when replacing a sky using layers. This method looks so much easier and the results are definitely better. Thanks for the cloud textures, too. I have a category for my own skies as well already. But now I have a better idea how to use them. Yay!

    1. On July 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Woo hoo! You can really refine these with the protection measures, Masks, and Apply to settings. I think it is incredible. ON1 knows what they are doing with their software!

  9. On July 28, 2017 at 6:06 pm Mary Brodbeck wrote:

    Blake, what an impressive learning tutorial. I appreciate being able to expand and improve my useful knowledge when processing in ON1. Any chance there is a pdf of the steps you took to create the image?

    1. On July 28, 2017 at 7:59 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Thank you, Mary! I did not do a PDF for this one because there is no “hard and fast” rule for it. It is dependent upon the image and I did not want anyone to think the settings I used here would work for every sky replacement. It really varies from image to image.

  10. On July 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm steamtraction@gmail.com wrote:

    Another great video.
    In my opinion your approach to training knocks the socks off of most others. fleblanc, fleblanc.com.

    1. On July 28, 2017 at 7:59 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Thanks! ON1 has some phenomenal Guru’s on their team, I am honored to be among them.

  11. On July 28, 2017 at 9:22 pm James Dixon wrote:

    Outstanding video. I really appreciate how, regardless of the specific topic, you work through each of the photographs from the start. I have learned a lot watching your videos.

  12. On July 31, 2017 at 7:58 am Louis Jordaan wrote:

    Hi Blake,
    Thank you. This texture technique is excellent. I tried this on some photos I took at a nature reserve last week. Our sky in the Johannesburg area, South Africa, is very boring this time of the year.(Southern Hemisphere weather is opposite to the North) We have dry winters and clear skies with no clouds anywhere.
    Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge with us.
    Best Regards, Louis

    1. On July 31, 2017 at 12:33 pm Blake Rudis replied:

      Awesome! Glad I could help out! I have heard that about Johannesburg. At least now you can fake it :)

  13. On August 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm PARTINICO BERNARD wrote:

    Hello Blake
    Very good tutorial and the teacher too.
    I discover the another way to replace skies : the power of your software!!
    It’s interesting to discover some hidded functions

  14. On August 10, 2017 at 11:32 pm Shivakumar Shankar wrote:

    Hello Blake,
    Much thanks for the wonderful clouds texture! More importantly, this was an extremely useful tutorial to replace skies, I have struggled with that for very long time and sometimes taking more than 2.5hrs to effectively replace them in photoshop. This is super fast and super clean!

  15. On August 11, 2017 at 7:51 am Jeffrey McPheeters wrote:

    “….aaaaannnnnd there it goes, folks; another one out of the park!” Nice home run hitting, Blake. Phenomenal batting average. :-) I must be stubborn by default. You brought me around to the ZSE after much patient prodding and I suppose ON1 in my regular workflow is only a matter of time. Thanks for the work you put into these. They’re a great resource.

    1. On August 14, 2017 at 9:46 am Blake Rudis replied:

      :) I must have a good batting average, haha. ON1 is pretty powerful. I love all of its uses as a RAW editor and even more so for the artistic effects and finishing phase of the workflow. ON1 does a wonderful job ensuring they always have new education with their product. Second to none!

    1. On August 14, 2017 at 9:45 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Which email would you have sent it to? Was it in the forum? or sent to my email address?

  16. On August 16, 2017 at 5:08 am Roberto Faccenda wrote:

    Hi Blake, this is really an excellent tutorial that well expresses the powerful of On1 PR.
    But… there are so many things to remember in each workflow that sometimes it is very difficult
    As On1 plus coach, don’t you think that all the steps you presented in this really useful video could be listed in a summary pdf?
    Of course I’m talking about the filters and the main settings, those you consider the most important ones
    Thanks a lot in advance

    1. On August 16, 2017 at 6:07 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Hi Roberto,

      I almost made a PDF for this lesson, however, I stopped myself because the settings are very subjective to the image you are working with. I did not want someone to think these settings would be carved into stone and be frustrated when they did not work on their next image. You could try to make a preset for it and modify the preset when necessary.

  17. On August 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm Ruth Peterkin wrote:

    Great video Blake! Watched it several times and took notes (didn’t see a print out summary of the steps). I found it doesn’t seem to work well with a white, washed out sky. The filters don’t pop out, so I was wondering if you have a fix for that type of sky, OR, is there a way to alter the white sky before hand so that the filters make a nice blue sky with clouds?
    By the way, I’m working with Photo 10.5.


    1. On August 18, 2017 at 6:15 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Hello Ruth!

      For a white washed out sky, try setting the texture to either “Replace” or “Darker” That should help fill in those white areas. I showed this on our live event yesterday and it worked wonders!

  18. On August 18, 2017 at 3:42 am grahamdennis1@sky.com wrote:

    Hi, Blake. Just recently bought On1raw and viewed your help video about replacing clouds. Absolutely superb. Explained in an easy to understand way that even an idiot like myself could fully understand everything. Thank you so much for the tips and video. I’ve already altered 4 of my photos following your advice and improved them dramatically. Top work. Thank you.

    1. On August 18, 2017 at 6:17 am Blake Rudis replied:

      Pssshhht, you are not an idiot! Give yourself more credit :) I am so glad I could help and thanks for taking the time to watch it!

  19. On August 29, 2017 at 10:57 am Frank Damon wrote:

    Hi Blake: I just used this technique to replace some clouds and really like it. i did find the since I had some pretty white clouds in my sky, that they stayed there and the cloud texture I used merely added some wispy clouds above them. Looks pretty cool, but it seems to me that this technique is used best for coring fairly just blue skies, right?

    1. On August 29, 2017 at 11:39 am Blake Rudis replied:

      You may use it for both really. Try changing the texture from subtle to “Replace” and move the Opacity to 100.

  20. On September 9, 2017 at 7:20 am Phillip Ziegler wrote:

    Blake–When I apply my clouds texture it applies everywhere but the sky. I tried on two different photos, fiddled with options but still the texture covers the ground but not the sky. I used the colorize to see and sure enough only the solid part is red; the sky is unaffected. I tried limiting the texture to light and shadow, and other options but never could get the whole image covered with that texture. Any suggestions?

  21. On September 9, 2017 at 7:20 am Phillip Ziegler wrote:

    Blake–When I apply my clouds texture it applies everywhere but the sky. I tried on two different photos, fiddled with options but still the texture covers the ground but not the sky. I used the colorize to see and sure enough only the solid part is red; the sky is unaffected. I tried limiting the texture to light and shadow, and other options but never could get the whole image covered with that texture. Any suggestions?

    1. On September 9, 2017 at 7:39 am Phillip Ziegler replied:

      Ah. Missed the step Mode replace to Replace. Darker seems to do the same. Suddenly the sky texture shows up.

  22. On September 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm Cecilia wrote:

    Great tutorial. I’ll need to review it a few (hundred) times to remember the steps! Thanks.

  23. On November 18, 2017 at 4:19 pm Eugene Robinson wrote:

    Great video and tutorial. I will need to go through it again to be able to apply some of the formats.
    Nice work. Thanks

  24. On January 23, 2018 at 11:26 am Jeff Lambert wrote:

    Hi Blake, great tutorial. I have a technical question though. I love the fact that you’re using a texture as opposed a Layer based approach, BUT, where does ON1 store the texture data? I know you have to import the texture in ON1 first, but what if I work with someone else, who doesn’t have those textures? See where I’m going with this? In Layer mode, the info is basically embedded in the file, which has to be saved as a PSD or other layer image format. The beauty of your method is that I don’t need to save it as a layered file, so the weight of the file is just the sidecar files that On1 creates. So if I’m the only one working on those, all is fine, unless I have to reinstall my machine and forget to load all those add-on textures. I’m trying to think long term here. I’d be curious to know what you think about that. Thanks again for some great info.

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