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Bringing Out Color on a Cloudy Day – Photoshop Tutorial (Part 2)

In part one of our tutuorial [1], we had a quick look into the tools that are used in this tutorial and adjusted the lighting in the image by adjusting the “curve” through adjustment layers and the gradient tool.

In this tutorial we will be illuminating the image by adjusting the exposure and exaggerating the color by apply color fills and multiplying them.


To illuminate the ground, we are going to adjust the Exposure. To do this, we will create another Adjustment Layer to adjust the exposure.

Click on the “New Adjustment Layer” icon: 

Move the Exposure up to around “1.78” and the Gamma Correction up to about “0.81” as shown below (watch the ground light up):

Again, we are going to use the Gradient Tool to remove this effect from the sky, leaving the sky dark and detailed and the ground bright and illuminated.

To do this, we are going to apply the Gradient Tool using the same line and position as before and also the same direction (going down from the sky to the ground).

Select the Layer Mask on your new Exposure Adjustment Layer:

Select your Gradient Tool.

Draw your line going from the sky down to the ground (as shown below):


Now we need to bring out the bright colors of the ground. To do this, we will adjust the Saturation of the ground.

Click on “New Adjustment Layer”.

Now click on “Hue and Saturation”:

Bring the Saturation up to about “20

You should notice that the colors in your photo are now a lot more vibrant than before.


Now we want to adjust the color of the sky to give the clouds some color instead of being a boring grey. We’ll do this by using the Color Balance feature and adding some blue and red to the clouds.

If you’re using an image where the clouds are very light grey (not stormy), you may want to skip this step as it will not give such a good effect.

Click on “New Adjustment Layer”.

Then click on “Color Balance”:

Adjust the colors so the red is about “+21” and the Blue is about “+36” as shown below:

We will now use the Gradient Tool again on the Layer Mask of the Color Balance layer to remove this effect from the ground, as we want the ground to keep its green/yellow colors.

Make sure your Layer Mask is selected:

Click on the Gradient Tool:

And Draw a line using the same line and position as before but going from the bottom up:

Your image should now look something like this:


Now for our final effect we want to add a little more color to the ground. This step will depend on the color of the ground in your photo. In the photo we are using here, it is yellow/green, so I am going to use a Solid Color Fill of yellow. If yours is a different color, choose a color that is suitable for your image.

Click on “New Adjustment Layer” and select “Solid Color”:

Select your Solid Color to match your ground color. In this case, it is yellow.

Now change the Blending Mode from Normal to Multiply and set the Opacity to around “30%” as shown below:

Now we want to take this effect off the sky, so we will use the Gradient Tool again to draw a line using the same line position and length as before, going from the top (sky) down (towards the ground).

First, make sure you are on the Layer Mask as shown below:

Select your Gradient Tool.

Draw a line going downwards following a similar path as shown below:

That’s it!! Your image should now look something like this:

Thanks for following!

~ Sam