Automasking and gradients - how-to?

I have a portrait of two people against washed out sky.

I know! I’ll automask the couple, use a gradient to create a blue sky. How hard can it be?

OK, automask covering the couple. Invert it. Apply a gradient. Quick and dirty, I shift the gradient’s hue into the blue and… why do my people now look like Smurfs? Change the gradient’s hue into the green, and now my people look seasick.

'Splain me how many things I don’t understand about what I thought would be a no-brainer.

PL4 - Win10

I believe you can use the Local Adjustment tools to erase parts of a gradient mask. It sounds like you need to do that to avoid discoloring the people.

What did you do with the inverted mask?

I think the feature wished for here is to have intersections of masks: first select the whole sky by inverting the auto-mask of people, then add a gradient mask in intersection mode. This would leave all deselected areas (the people) alone.

But masks in PL3 don’t work this way. The auto-mask and the gradient are two different and independent local adjustments, each with their own mask. In the local adjustment panel they should show up as two items.

So using the eraser on the gradient, as Greg says, could be an option, but it will be difficult to get the edges right.

I don’t see a really good way to achieve this in PL.

Similar feature request here:

I’m encouraged to know it’s not my imagination; I’m asking for something that isn’t currently available.

Here’s a quick and very dirty demo of the desired end state. In this case, the sky was obligingly uniform. To create the gradient, I relied on Nik Viveza control points with large radii. At the bottom, and not obvious in the sample, I formed a second, warmer gradient, headed from bottom top. The intent is create a feel of wine at sunset.

Note that the blowing hair isn’t “damaged” by the gradient. I had to add small, duplicated control points in areas “dammed up” by intersecting body and arm, etc.

The starting point for considering automasking and gradients is based on a Photojoseph Mac/PL3 control point video doing what I thought what’s seen here, using Nik instead. Obviously, I misunderstood what was going on in the demo.