I have always been fascinated with airbrushes, how they work and the photo-realistic look they produce. Years ago, BD (before digital), I bought a very nice Paasche double-action airbrush and spent several months trying to learn how to use it finally giving up in frustration. I put it away for a while and then found a wonderful school in Villa Park, Illinois, called “The School of Airbrush Arts”. I thought, “Well, why not enroll?”,  so I paid my tuition and went back to school to learn something new. A year and a half later I came out with a diploma in airbrush illustration and photo retouching which I put to good use. I found a job working as the head airbrush retouching artist at a professional photo lab. Then went to another professional lab, all the while improving my airbrushing abilities and skills. Next, the digital revolution happened and I found my hard learned skills were no longer needed because Photoshop had arrived and everything I knew about airbrush photo retouching could now be done digitally in a computer. Not to be done in, I set to work learning how to use this new image manipulation and editing program. At first, I was totally overwhelmed because Photoshop, even in the beginning, was so powerful I just didn’t know where to begin. So I sat down, focused, and decided I would learn how to do one new thing in Photoshop every week. Eventually I learned more and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. It quickly became easier because all the things I had learned at the School of Airbrush Arts about photo retouching still applied only I didn’t need gouache (opaque watercolor paint for the non-artists) to achieve my results anymore. Now, after many years using and improving my Photoshop techniques and skills, I can confidently say I know a thing or two about digital retouching. So for what it’s worth, I’ve decided to share some of my abilities with everyone out there in cyberland. Below is an example of how to replace a sky in an architectural exterior photo. I do this for my customers and it can really help improve the look and feel of an exterior image (along with some other retouching tricks I have learned along the way).

Before with ugly sky - Hinsdale, IL French Country houseBefore – Raw, Unretouched Image with the Ugly Sky

Hinsdale, IL French Country house after replacing the ugly sky with a new oneAfter – New Sky and Photoshop

Believe it or not this is exactly the same image, after some digital magic.

Comments are welcome!

Footnote: Sadly, the School of Airbrush Arts did not survive the digital revolution and is no more.