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Ever wanted to know how to create clouds in photoshop? It’s an easy yet effective way to perk up any old boring sky and bring more life into your work. They’re obviously not going to be “real” clouds, but hopefully once you’re finished creating those magnificent, big, and fluffy clouds, nobody will notice.

No doubt there’s a bunch of methods out there to get this accomplished, but if you’re looking for what is perhaps the simplest and quickest way to bring clouds into your photos, this tutorial is for you.

As always, Photoshop makes it easy! Let’s get right to it and find out how to create clouds in Photoshop.


First, we’re going to need a photo, preferably one that has a sky present somewhere. I’ll be using this beautiful shot from Hong Kong.

Next, select the area that you want to add the clouds to. I used the Magic Wand Tool (located in the tools palette) to quickly select the sky itself and not the buildings. Just hold down the Shift key and click to add the “marching ants” to areas you want selected.

how to create clouds in photoshop

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Now, we’ll need to set the foreground and background colors. In your tools palette, click on the foreground color to open up the color picker. Feel free to experiment with other colors, but for now, this is going to be the color of the actual clouds, so select white (R: 255, G: 255, B: 255). Now hit the background color in the tools palette. This is going to be the color of the sky, so let’s pick a light blue.

how to create clouds in photoshop

Go up to the menu bar and click on Filter. Scroll down to Render and hit Clouds.

how to create clouds in photoshop

The filter simply uses random values between the foreground and background colors you chose to generate a soft cloud pattern. You can reapply the filter (Ctrl + F or Command + F on a Mac) for a slightly different pattern of clouds until you’re happy with the results. For a more stark look, just hold down the Alt key (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you select Filter > Render > Clouds.

how to create realistic clouds in photoshop

Feel free to now make any adjustments to the effect by going into Levels (Ctrl + L or Command + L) and moving the input or output level sliders to your liking.

how to create realistic clouds in photoshop

That’s about all there is to it. Pretty simple, huh? Here’s how mine came out:

how to create realistic clouds in photoshop

Again, there’s plenty of ways to do this in Photoshop. If the pattern of clouds the filter produces isn’t exactly what you’re looking for or just doesn’t match your photo, another great method would be to simply download a couple of cloud brush sets from the Web and put them in yourself.

Be sure to check out the 6 Best Sites To Download Free Photoshop Brushes 6 Best Sites To Download Free Photoshop Brushes 6 Best Sites To Download Free Photoshop Brushes Read More for some excellent resources to help you get started. Don’t forget to also read our Idiot’s Guide to Photoshop An Idiot's Guide To Photoshop - 1 [PDF Guide] An Idiot's Guide To Photoshop - 1 [PDF Guide] Read More .

How did this method work for your photos and how do you go about creating clouds in Photoshop? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits : tipiro, swisscan

  1. Anonymous
    May 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Well actually. The original sky looks way more beautiful to me than the artificially created one.

  2. Gooya IT
    May 24, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Is very interesting and informative
    Thank mentioned on your site with published sources, we

  3. Gooya IT
    May 24, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Is very interesting and informative
    Thank mentioned on your site with published sources, we

  4. Scorpion
    March 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

    What this picture needs is more lens flare. facepalm.jpg To be honest though, I don't see any point of this so called article. Why not show the technique with the cloud brushes instead of showing off something a 3rd grader could have done?

  5. Shtoink
    March 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    This is the most inaccurate way to add clouds. The light angle needs to be correct, etc. Gather a collection of clouds and use paste into.

  6. Saul Goodman
    March 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Clouds filter ALWAYS looks bad. No matter what you do to it, it will always look like some kind of cheap Photoshop filter (like most filters).

    You're better off just grabbing some cloud stock art and inlaying it, or even better get a photo during a non-blue sky day and inlay it.

  7. Ibrahim Ali
    March 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Can you guys do these with similar freeware ones -- all these: Gimp, Photoscape, Photobie 7.1, Paint.net, Hornil StylePix, ArtWeaver, Serif PhotoPlus SE and Pixia (all are and have support for layers and adequate for the average user)?

    Thanks.

    • Ibrahim Ali
      March 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      I mean to say (in the brackets) all are good or powerful enough and Photoscape esp is photoshop-like and user-friendly unlike Gimp.

    • John McClain
      March 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

      Hey, Ibrahim! Thanks for your comment.

      We do tend to cover Photoshop a lot more than other graphics editing software, including the freeware you mentioned. However, articles about those programs are published from time to time, so be on the lookout for those.

  8. Ibrahim Ali
    March 19, 2010 at 4:22 am

    Can you guys do these with similar freeware ones -- all these: Gimp, Photoscape, Photobie 7.1, Paint.net, Hornil StylePix, ArtWeaver, Serif PhotoPlus SE and Pixia (all are and have support for layers and adequate for the average user)?

    Thanks.

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