Make a Retouched Background in Photoshop


Before You Start

Use this sample image if you’d like, or practice with your own.

Step 1: Set the Stage

To start the project, Villadsen opened the image from her photoshoot in Photoshop. Then she dragged with the Polygonal Lasso (L) tool to select the gap on the left, making sure to select a portion of the blue background. To include the gap on the right, she held the Shift key as she used the Polygonal Lasso.

Step 2: Fill the Gaps

Next, Villadsen right-clicked and chose Fill. From the Fill dialog, she chose Content-Aware and clicked OK. Once Photoshop analyzed the photo, it filled in the selected areas with the blue from the studio backdrop.

Step 3: Isolate Your Subjects

With the Lasso tool still selected, Villadsen chose Select and Mask from the Options bar at the top. Once she was in the Select and Mask workspace, she chose Select Subject. Photoshop selected the subject and applied a red overlay to most of the background.

Step 4: Brush Up the Fine Details

Villadsen cleaned up the selection with the Refine Edge Brush tool. She brushed around the model’s hair and the larger remaining areas of background. Then, from the bottom of the Properties panel in the Select and Mask workspace, she chose to output the selection to a New Layer and clicked OK.

Step 5: Add a Refining Layer

She then clicked Create a new layer from the Layers (Window > Layers) panel and moved the new blank layer to the middle of the layer stack.

Step 6: Color for Consistency

Villadsen wanted to tidy up the background to give it a smooth, consistent appearance. She used the Eyedropper (I) tool to select a teal (#7cb3b5).

Step 7: Select a Brush for Tidying

Then she selected the Brush (B) tool, set it to a large soft round tip, and adjusted the Opacity and Flow.

Step 8: Smooth it Out

She brushed around the areas of the background to smooth out the wrinkles in the blue cloth while preserving the natural shadows of the models and the cat.

Set Up Your Own Studio

Have fun with your own in-home photoshoot and use Photoshop to give it a pro finish.

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