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Sky Replacement in Davinci Resolve Studio 18 | Tutorial

Let’s see all the options we have!

Sky Replacement in the Free Version

Sky Removal

After you’ve added your video to DaVinci Resolve, go to the Color page.

Select the Node with your clip, right-click on it and select Add Node>Add Serial to create a new serial node.

Now, select the second Node we’ve created, right-click on it and choose Add Node>Add Layer option.

In this way, we’ve created a basic Node tree, needed to replace the sky in our video.

With our last Node selected, go below and pick the Qualifier>Qualifier 3D tool. 

Click on the Highlight icon on the top left corner in the preview window and click on the sky to select it. If the tool wasn’t able to select some of the areas, you can click on the Qualifier+ tool and choose the additional areas for the replacement.

Sky Replacement

Now, we can import the new sky to Media Pool and drag the Node with it to our panel.

Add Match Move effect to the third Node you’ve created - if will allow us to link the new sky to our clip, customize and match the videos.

To connect the new Node with others, right-click on your third Node and choose Add OFX Input. Now, our Node has one more input for masking - the little green icon.

Connect the green icon from the Node with your new sky to the green icon on your third Node. This way you’ve created the mask in the area we replaced, which is our old sky from the original video.

 Go to the effects and under the Match Move menu, select Show Controls for>Compositing. It will reveal the masking effect with our new video.

 If the clip didn't match, you can fix it’s position and proportions - select Show Controls for>Positioning and move the grid to fix the parameters.

If we have used the sky from a picture or still video, or the motion of our new sky doesn’t match the clip, we can fix it in Show Controls for>Tracking menu.

Tracking in the free version of DaVinci Resolve is not as convenient as it is in the Studio version, but we can track our video frame by frame.

To track the video, select Composite in the Output and place tracking points on your video, just below the skyline.

Put the tracking point on the first frame of your video and click on the tracking forward arrow in Tracking Controls menu. Make sure each tracking point is set correctly - if not, you can fix it by repositioning it to the correct place on the frame.

Sky Replacement in the Studio Version

After you’ve added your video to DaVinci Resolve, go to the Color page.

Select the Node with our video and go to Effects. Search for the Sky Replacement effect and drag it to our Node.

Now, we can remove the current sky from our video. 

Sky Removal

First, let’s remove the sky we currently have in our video. We have a few options:

Qualifier tool

The first method is great for videos, where the sky color luminosity is clearly different from the surroundings and easy to remove. First, activate the Highlighting option to see what we will select. 

To do that, open the Sky Mask Adjustments and use the Qualifier tool. Click on it’s icon to open the panel with settings. Now, click on the 3D icon below to select the sky.

Click on the sky with the tool and draw a shape to select all parts of the sky. If the tool wasn’t able to select some of the areas, you can click on the Qualifier+ tool and choose the additional areas for the replacement.

Magic Mask

The second method is masking. With our Node selected, click on the Magic Mask tool.

Choose on the Selector+ icon and click on the sky.

After that, click on the Motion Tracking tool, so DaVinci Resolve will analyze the video. 

If some areas of your sky weren’t removed, go to the Sky Mask Adjustments menu and drag the Refine or White Level options till all areas are covered. Also, you can use Shift Edge tool or customize the Black Level to achieve the result.

Sky Replacement

In DaVinci Resolve, we can either create an artificial sky or add a new one instead of our original.

Add an artificial sky

Now, we can create a custom sky via Sky Mask Adjustments and the new feature inside, Artificial Sky.

Go to Artificial Sky menu and drag the Sky Opacity bar up to see the newly created sky.

Also, you can change colors, customize the horizon and add clouds to your sky.

To change the colors of the sky and horizon, click on the click on the color boxes on top of the menu.

To add clouds, use the cloud bars below: here you can change cloud opacity, scale, tilt, details and other parameters.

You can also add the Sun - drag the Hotspot Brightness bar to make the Sun visible and pick it’s color from the color box below.  

Add sky from another video

Import the sky you want to add to the Media Pool and drag it to your node tree, without linking the new node to our original one.  

Right-click on your original node and choose Add OFX Input. Now, our original node has one more input for masking - the little green icon on your node.

Connect the green icon from the node with your new sky to the green icon on your original node. This way you’ve created the mask in the area we replaced, which is our old sky from the original video.

If we need to make adjustments to our sky movement, select our original node and go to the Sky Position menu.

Here you can track your sky in 4 different ways: via Keyframing Only, Track Foreground, Track Original Sky or Use FX Tracker options. Based on your video, pick one of the options and click on the Track button below.

DaVinci Resolve will automatically analyze and track your new sky to match the original clip.

In case your new clip moves incorrectly and reveals some black borders, you can just click Autosize for Motion button below. It will fix the motion position and movement of the clip with new sky.

You can do some additional adjustments: match the Exposure of two clips, Lens Distortion or Lens Defocus - these options are available in the Sky Integration menu below.

Also you can use the Foreground Appearance menu to change Saturation, Temperature, Brightness and other parameters to match the videos.

To Sum Up

While sky replacement is easier to make in the Studio version, you can create this effect in the Free version, by using basic Node tree. Feel free to experiment with different video clips to find the best match!If you’re interested in more DaVinci Resolve guides, check our blog - here we highlight how to use DaVinci Resolve, it’s best features fro free and studio version and much more!


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