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Replace a Bland, Overcast Sky with a Gorgeous Sky in After Effects

Replace a Bland, Overcast Sky with a Gorgeous Sky in After Effects

Take a bland, colorless sky and make it into a vault of heaven! Create an alluring azure sky with fluffy clouds, a sublime sunset or a moody moonlight scene. I’ll give several options, utilizing plug-ins from CoreMelt, Video Copilot, Boris FX, Red Giant, SUGARfx and Imagineer.

Many of the plug-ins that I’ve mentioned in the tutorial are available as free demos so you can give them a test drive.

Tools that I show in the tutorial:

Sky Replace

CoreMelt Pigment Sky Replace is a plug-in for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and Motion.

For alternatives, you’ll have to watch the video!

The Sun (it’s a lens flare!)

Video Copilot Optical Flares – I’m sure you’re familiar with the amazing tools that Video Copilot produces and Optical Flares is no different! It has tons of great presets and gives users complete control over all aspects of the flare.

Alternately, try Red Giant Knoll Light Factory, another powerful lens flare tool and works in a lot of different host applications. It’s in the Red Giant VFX Suite.

Please check out In Depth: Lens Flare Plug-ins for After Effects, a 5 part series on Lens Flare plug-ins for After Effects.

The Clouds

Boris Continuum  BCC Clouds is used to generate clouds in After Effects, Premiere, Final Cut Pro and other host applications. BCC Clouds is one of over 200 plug-ins in the package, so it’s no one trick pony!

Alternately try the clouds plug-ins in Boris Sapphire or, if you’re a CINEMA 4D user, try Think Particle Cloud Generator.

The Moon

SUGARfx Light Pack – I used the Moon Light plug-in to create a moon. There are several presets, and has options with flaring effects, obscuration, and compositing.

Alternately, try GenArts Monsters M_Luna which generates gorgeous moons, complete with settings for the date and city, for total accuracy. (discontinued)

Color Grading

Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks is my go-to plug-in for color grading because it’s so easy and offers such great alternatives. The previews in the Looks UI makes it so fast and easy to create dramatic looks.

Alternately, Red Giant Colorista II is an excellent tool for color correction and grading. It’s in the Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite with Looks.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one tool, try Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve, one of the best color correcting tools you can get!


Boris mocha Pro is the planar tracker that I used to track the background so that the sun or moon would move along in parallax to the foreground. mocha Plus or mocha AE is also suitable for this task.


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Posted by Michele

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