Put a Plane in the Sky

How to Re-create

You have probably seen these images out there where the airplane is up in the sky in perfect position with perfect clarity and wondered how the photographer made that happen. How did they know it would appear there and how did they get the timing right in order to fit the plane in such a small space? Well, you might be surprised to find out that many of those images are composites done within Photoshop. Let’s take a look at how we can pull off something similar.

  1. Start by making sure the airplane layer is the top most layer.
  2. Use the Rectangular Marquee (M) and draw a selection around the airplane.
  3. Select > Inverse from the top menu and press delete.
  4. Use the Magic Wand (W) tool and select a point in the sky
  5. Click the Refine Edge button and click the Refine Radius Tool and paint a selection around the planes edge.
  6. Make sure Output to Mask is chosen in the drop down towards the bottom and tap ok.
  7. We need to invert the mask and to do so hit Ctrl/Cmd + I.
  8. Move (V) the plane towards the center of the image.
  9. Next, select the building layer and duplicate it by tapping Ctrl/Cmd + J.
  10. Ctrl/Cmd + T to transform the building layer and right click and select flip vertically.
  11. Move (V) the building copy to the desired location and crop (C) to enlarge the top of the canvas.
  12. Mask out the unwanted parts of the duplicate building.
  13. Crop (C) to create a more interesting composition.
  14. Make a Stamp Visible layer Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Opt + Shift + E
  15. Make a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer and select the Blues and increase the saturation.
  16. Add a new layer and then hit Fn + F5 to fill it with 50% gray. Hit ok and then change the layer blending mode to overlay. Then make a duplicate Ctrl/Cmd + J.
  17. Paint black on the lower of the two with a low flow and lower opacity and White on the higher layer in order to Burn and Dodge accordingly.
  18. Go back to the stamp visible layer and use the Quick Selection (W) tool to select the sky. Once the selection has been made select the black lower 50% gray layer and click the layer mask button. Repeat the process for the white overlay layer.
  19. Make another Stamp Visible layer Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Opt + Shift + E
  20. Go to Filter > Other > Highpass and use somewhere between 1-2 pixels and hit OK.
  21. Change this weird looking gray layers blending mode to overlay to reveal its sharpening effect.

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