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Removing Background in Photoshop

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Removing Background in Photoshop by using Layer and Mask

Photoshop Layers and Masks can be used for a wide variety of jobs; the best thing about using Photoshop Layers and Mask is that they are non-destructive adjustments. In this article I am going to discuss “Removing Background in Photoshop”, Using Layers and Mask, and Quick Selection tool.

What does Non-destructive mean?

In simplest terms, whenever you make changes with a photo editing program you change the pixels of the image. If you save the image and close the program, the next time you reopen the image you can not go back to previous stage of the picture. Your original photo (and some of the data) doesn’t exist any more. Additionally when you apply the adjustment directly onto the photos, you can not fine tweak it because you have changed the pixels.

How does Photoshop Layers work?

Consider Photoshop Layers as a transparent layer on top of the original photo. You can apply almost all the adjustments and retouching to this transparent layer without affecting the original photo. You can even go back to a particular layer and make changes. You can also turn off the layer to see the original and turn on the layer to see the effect of the adjustments.

What is a Mask in Photoshop?

Mask is another very, very important tool which works with Photoshop Layers. Masking means you can select where on the image you want to apply the adjustment. In other words, by masking you apply the adjustments locally (specific areas) and not to the entire photo.

In this tutorial I am going to show you one of a thousand ways that you can use Photoshop Layers and Masks to fine tweak an image without changing the original pixels. Did you read that right? Thousands of ways? Yes! This is why we have dedicated a full workshop to Photoshop Layers and Masks. The next Photoshop Layers and Masks workshop is scheduled for April 16 and there are a few spots still available. This two day workshop has plenty of hands-on practice for you to learn these powerful tools and confidently be able to use them in a variety of ways.

Removing Background in Photoshop

In this tutorial I am going to remove the background of this image

Removing Background in Photoshop

And use this image for background:

Removing Background in Photoshop

A) Open both images in Photoshop and for the foreground image go to “QUICK SELECTION” tool

Removing Background in Photoshop

Select Quick Selection and adjust the size of the brush

B) Make a selection around your subject

Removing Background in Photoshop

You can see the selected area

C) Then click on “REFIND EDGDES” button and select Smart Radius. Adjust the Slider to fine tweak the selection.

removing background in Photoshop

check the Smart Radius button

(I have a full tutorial on how to use the Smart Radius HERE if you need to know more)

D) In Output section Select “Layers with the Layer Mask” and the click OK

Removing Background in Photoshop

Now you got the Layer and Layer Mask.

E) Select the MOVE toll and drag and drop the foreground image to the background photo. You notice that at this point you can adjust the size of the foreground image by using the handles around the photo.

Removing Background in Photoshop

You can adjust the size of the photo using the resize handles

F) In this sample I wanted to make the background a bit darker. I add a Level Adjustment layer on top of the background layer and adjusted the Levels to make the background a bit darker

Removing Background in Photoshop

Adding the adjustment Layer you can retouch the background

G) I wanted to make the foreground a bit brighter to match the background brightness. I added another Level Adjustment Layers on top of the foreground layer and Checked the clipping to apply the adjustment only to the layer underneath not all the layers

Removing Background in Photoshop

Adjusting the foreground layer by checking the clipping box

H) Job is done!

Removing Background in Photoshop

A beautiful image from 2 simple photos! That is the power of Photoshop

Check our upcoming classes HERE. If you are interested to learn more about Photoshop Layers and Masks, We have scheduled a dedicated workshop  for learning Layers and Mask for January 28 and 29 2016. Click on “show detail” for more information.

 

 

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