Presets – Dramatic Skies

This week I’ve got some sky-enhancing presets for you. I created some similar presets a couple of years ago, but I’ve replaced them with the ones you’ll see below. There’s 3 versions (Lite, Medium, and Strong) and they do a few things. First, they add some extra punch to the blues in the sky. It’s actually more of a deepening effect, rather than just saturating the blues. They also increase the contrast of the clouds so they stand out more. They definitely work in different ways on different photos, so don’t be surprised if you see changes for a sunrise/sunset photo vs. a photo taken in mid afternoon.

As always, your comments are welcome. Download ‘em and let me know what you think.

Here’s an example of the medium version. (click to see it larger).

To install:
1) Unzip the preset zip file on to your desktop
2) Go to the Develop module. NOTE: YOU MUST BE THE DEVELOP MODULE
3) Go to the Presets panel on the left. Right click anywhere in it and choose “Import”.
4) Select the .lrtemplate files you unzipped in Step 1 and click Import NOTE: DO NOT IMPORT THE ZIP FILE

• Click here to download the preset.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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41 Comments

  1. Looks like you’ve got one too many “.zip”s in that link. It’s broken as of right now.

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  2. If you right click the download link, copy, paste it into a new window or tab, edit out the last “.zip” and press enter, you can download the file

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  3. Right click does not work as well, get the same message file not found

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  4. Pretty cool, but L1 and L3 seems to disable auto settings and force to have white balance “As shot”, while L2 doesn’t. There is also little bit more differences between L1, L3 and L2.

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  5. Thanks Steve…that worked…..thanks Matt

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  6. Matt, what did you do in these presets different from your original ones? Why do you like them better?

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  7. I’m not sure about level 1 and 3 – they seem to make whole photo flat… level 2 is working pretty well

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  8. Seems to depend on the photo you start with Maciunio. The 1st pic I tried I got the same result you did, Levels 1 and 3 just left it muddy and Level 2 was okay. On another that had more clouds and a broad range of exposure, all 3 levels gave nice ‘dramatic’ results.
    Thanks Matt!

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  9. I love all three presets. I used a photo I took of the San Francisco skyline from across the bay in Sausalito and the water and sky looked beautiful and sharp. Each present deepend and sharpened a bit more than the other. Thanks so much. Love them.

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  10. I tried on more photos and noticed it doesn’t do as well in raw but does amazing if in jpg or tif. I thought I was done with some photos and then I applied the action and they got even better. The trick may be to go back and enrich even more outside of raw. I’ll keep playing with them. I know I’ll use them for sure.

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  11. Thank you. I’m anxious to try them.

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  12. I can’t right click on my iMac. Is there another way to access Import in the Presets panel as noted in #3 above? I have Lightroom 2.

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  13. I am unable to right click on my iMac. Is there another way to get to Presets Import in the Develop module in Lightroom 2?

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    • On the Mac, press on your control button and click in the presets area to bring up a menu to import. (it’s like having the right click). Hope this helps.

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  14. Thanks for the presets, Matt. I kept the old ones that you had and just renamed them. Can never have enough presets!!

    –John

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  15. Thanks for another batch. I downloaded it and am looking forward to testing.

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  16. I think you already shared with us these presets, since I have them (and sometimes use them :)). Thanks anyway. They’ll be great for those who don’t know your blog for long enough. :D

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  17. Thanks Matt, it works very nicely. Also highlights and whitens whites in the picture.

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  18. Love the preset!

    Now if only you would update your auto-fix presets for Lightroom 3 including Camera Profiles + Lens Correction ;-)

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  19. You said: “NOTE: YOU MUST BE THE DEVELOP MODULE”

    Is that kinda like Gandhi said?…

    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    - Scott ;-)

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  20. Hi Matt. The Killer Tips podcast doesn’t seem to be working on iTunes, even though it is still listed in the podcast directory. In iTunes it shows up with a warning sign saying that the link does not go to a valid podcast. Do you know if this is a temporary problem or a problem with the new iTunes 10? Thanks for all your help.

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    • I’m having the same problem and reported it to Apple, through iTunes.

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  21. good stuff!

    Matt – how would you like to be contacted with questions? thank you

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      • Thanks Matt. Do you have any idea if anything changed from LR2 to LR3 regarding the auto-updating the DNG file. Meaning that the develop settings are getting saved in the actual file and not only in the LR catalog.
        Looking at your sky presets I’m wondering if you can achieve something like the high pass filter in PS just using LR. Your preset already goes into that direction.
        again, thanks. your blog is killer

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  22. Hey Matt,

    You did it again! Very nice presets! Hope you don’t mind, but I deleted the older ones.:-) I’m getting way to many presets. Thanks for sharing and glad to see you made it back from Vegas safely!

    Dennis

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  23. Like other posters I find it odd that you have written 2 to only alter blue luminance (as far as I can see) while 1 and 3 reset everything done already and then shift blue luminance.

    You’ve provided some good presets in the past but not so sure about these.

    Bill

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  24. I only get New Folder and Export when I right click on my PC. What am I missing? I am in the Develop Module. Thx.

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    • Myra, make sure you are in “Presets” and right click on top of the submenu “User presets” then it would come up the “Import” dialog

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  25. Thanks again for some great presets

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  26. Thanks; this is a great set of presets.

    When I apply them in Lightroom 3, I notice that Lens Correction is turned off. Is there any reason for this?

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  27. thanks a lot for these and before presets,they work really good!
    keep up your great job!!!
    sending good vibes from the white island!

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