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Video Tutorial: Impressive Sky Replacement in After Effects

Danny Greer
By Danny Greer
By Danny Greer

Discover how to create a stunning sky replacement in post using the tools in After Effects.

Sky Replacement After Effects

Shooting sky can be tricky.  Getting a balanced outdoor image, with the foreground and sky both in perfect exposure can often be a technical challenge.  If you’re properly exposing your video subjects, it’s common that the sky will be completely blown out or end up looking dull and drab.  You can apply basic color correction to give the sky a little boost, or you can take your cues from this tutorial and make a boring sky look totally extraordinary.

In the following tutorial, Adobe After Effects expert Kert Gartner shows you how to do an After Effects sky replacement.  Transform the image of an uninteresting afternoon sky into a dramatic cloud filled sunset shot, using the tools from within AE.

Kert tracks the position, rotation and scale of the original footage and then applies this tracking information to a still image of a vibrant sky.   Matting, edge blurs and displacement maps are added to the composition to blend the images into one seamless shot.   Finally, a lens flare is added (the one in the example is from Video Copilot) to give the shot a stunning dramatic look.

Kert’s clear and engaging delivery makes the tutorial accessible to even the After Effects beginner.  This After Effects sky replacement technique is applicable for all types of footage, so experiment with it to improve the look of all your outdoor shots!

Visit VFX Haiku for the After Effects sky replacement project file and more information.