Wow! Photoshop delivers Super Resolution and Sky Replacement

There’s not much that I need/want to do in post-processing that I can’t do in Lightroom, but with the latest release of Photoshop 2021 two features have been introduced which have introduced a “wow factor”. Both are upgrades to the Adobe Camera RAW engine (which sits under both Photoshop and Lightroom), but neither are available in Lightroom … yet!

To access just Sky Replacement from Lightroom you can use the “Edit in …” option to open your RAW image in Photoshop and then select Sky Replacement from the “Edit menu”. You can then save it back to the folder you loaded the image from, as a PSD format file. Currently, if you want to do Super Resolution – which is of greatest value where you’ve done severe crops, or you have old low-res images, or where you want to print at larger sizes – you need to open the RAW file from Photoshop itself, choose the “Enhance …” option and then save the enhanced image as an object, before saving it back to the folder the original came from. Of course, as I show in this post, you can do the enhance, and then apply the sky replacement for a super wow factor.

You need to remember to import (using the “Add” option) the Photoshop images back into your Lightroom catalog.

[I’ve put a couple of links at the bottom of this post for anyone wishing to read more about both these features.]

Keeping an eye on you
Red Kite – after cropping and minor Lightroom edits at 1702 x 1135 pixels

The image above has always been a favourite of mine. Taken with my Sony A700 APS-C camera the first time I’d used both a new 100-300mm lens, and had been “educated” to shoot in RAW, there’s not much to dislike about it. I’d cropped it from the original image below, and applied a some global slider edits …

Keeping an eye on you
Red Kite – the original unedited shot at 4272 x 2848 pixels

So I was very happy with that image, given that the camera only had a 12Mp sensor. Now along comes Super Resolution, and look what I can do with it, effectively both sharpening it (using the AI technologies in the tool) and increasing the resolution from 1702 x 1135 to 3405 x 2270 pixels. On the web you may not see the enhancement, but on my screen, believe me – you can!

Keeping an eye on you
Red Kite – enhanced image at 3405 x 2270 pixels

I really like this enhanced resolution image, but just look at how it pops with a little bit of sky replacement added …

Keeping an eye on you
Red Kite – enhanced image with sky replacement

Another couple from the same shoot; you don’t need to have a blank sky to do sky replacement, it just happens that these shots were taken with a rather bland sky, and very little direct sunlight …

Red Kite and a bland sky
Soaring above
Red kite in mid-Wales – the enhanced image with sky replacement

I’ve chosen another non-enhanced image from the same shoot as the featured image. Here are a couple of links that might be of interest.

How to use Photoshop and Lightroom’s “Super Resolution” Feature (it admits that it isn’t available for Lightroom directly at the moment – but it will be!)

“The results can be amazing.” How Photoshop’s new Super Resolution feature transforms older shots

How to Replace the Sky in a Photo with Photoshop.

2 thoughts on “Wow! Photoshop delivers Super Resolution and Sky Replacement”

  1. Jonathan Guest

    Great improvements David; well done!
    I was far from convinced about sky replacement when we discussed it last week. I didnt think it looked at all realistic in the examples chosen. Neither could I see much difference with the super res adjustments.
    Whatever you’ve done with these though has certainly worked wonders!

  2. Thanks Jonathan. The truth of the matter is I’ve just clicked a couple of buttons. I’ve found a few more “free skies”, uploaded them into Photoshop and the ones I’ve chosen seem to work well I think. For the website Super Resolution is unnecessary, but if I’d wanted to do a print from these – which I might consider now – the Super Resolution allows a much larger print to be considered. Also, these photos as you may have observed from the EXIF data (by clicking on one) were taken in 2011. I’ve upgraded my camera twice since then, and got better lenses, I’ll be re-visiting some old favourites to see if they could benefit from the Super Resolution treatment!

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