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Change the Background Color of a Picture

What if you do not like the background color of that lovely picture of yours? But you like to create an eye catching image that will pull crowd, changing the background color of your picture makes it stand out and attractive.

The resulting quality you will get from your image is largely dependent on the amount of time you spent working on it and the quality of attention paid to little details while working.

Change the Background Color of a Picture using Photoshop

So you want to image background remove of a photo, open Photoshop to start the process of changing the background color of your picture.

Whether it is a project you have been working on, but you feel you should make some adjustment to the background because you are not satisfied with it or it is an existing image you are not too comfortable with the color, a change in the color of the picture’s background will definitely have a positive effect in the look of the picture

 How to create a new Background Layer Color using the Masking Tool

The masking tool provides an extra precise way of selecting the background of a picture. It can be found at the second place from the bottom in the left hand menu on Photoshop.

To change the background color of the project you are presently working on, click “Windows” > “Layers”. This command brings out the layers panel with all of the current layers you are working with listed in the panel.

Change the Background Color of a Picture

The next step is to create a custom background layer. Choose “Layer” > “New Fill Layer” > “Solid Color” from the main menu. Pick any color of your choice from the color drop down menu and click OK.

Photoshop background color change

Then click on your new layer and drag it until you see it listed above the original background layer in the layers panel.

You should now finally choose “Layer > “Merge Down” from the main menu which will effect a change of updating the original background color with the new one.

photoshop layer merged

How to Change the Background Color of an Existing Image

The background color of an existing image can be adjusted on Photoshop using three different tools which are;

The magic wand tool, the lasso tool and the masking tool.

The first thing to do is to open the picture you want to change the color of the background in Photoshop and make a duplicate of the layer. You can do this using the shortcut key ctrl + J if you use windows or command +J if you are a Mac user, then turn the original Layer off.

Change the Background Color of an Existing Image

You can now make a solid layer by selecting the create new fill or adjustment layer icon located in the layers panel then select solid color from the options.

Pick a color of your choice very close to the background you will use for the image.

Note that it is essential to rename the layers you are working with, add a name that relates to what the layer is going to be used for.

Then click on the quick selection tool located in the tool panel to select the subject, this tool is designed like a brush drawing a dashed circle then move the cursor to the top bar on top of the image and click on the option ‘select subject’ to give access to Photoshop on selecting the subject.

A dialogue box will pop up if your subject is not clear enough, this shows that Photoshop did not find your subject prominent enough, and you need to choose another picture for this. If your subject is in this category, the selection will not be as perfect as what you want; you will need to use other tools in refining the edges afterwards.

Some of the things you have to look out for when choosing an image to change its background color are to avoid motion blurred pictures, do not select an image that has a background that blends with the subject or images with loosed spiked and frizzy hair not smooth enough, do not select images that has its edges not in focus or with detailed edges.

Drag the cursor in a diagonal manner from one end of the subject you are working with to the other end, a dotted line should appear around the subject. If you noticed part of the subject not being included, click continually on these areas to increase the overall selection.

The next step is to clean up the edges of the photo. Drop the quick selection tool selected and make a click on the select and mask option box located above the image. This action opens a new window where you can refine your selection.

The tools in this window are essential in improving the edges of your selection, you will need to do some work on the  edges of your subject that are not separated from the background using the refine edge brush tool from the tools panel located on the left hand side of your screen.

Select overlay option or on white option effect of the brush. These options are placed in the view panel at the right hand side of the screen.

Click the refine edge icon button at the far right of the quick selection control panel and find a settings desirable for your subject using the radius slider and then click ok., then make a right click on the background of the image and choose select inverse from the drop down options.

You can also make adjustment to the opacity of the subject even to the point that you will be able to see the effect of the brush as you make use of it.

If you chose a picture with its edges clearly defined, you will not have the cause to do too much refinement on it, zoom the picture in to 100%, and pick a point to start working till you go round the edge of the photo. You can decide to go clockwise or anticlockwise, but make sure you cover the whole outline.

The size of your brush can be controlled using the bracket keys [and].  The effect of this brush can also be adjusted using the radius, feather, smooth and contrast sliders.

photoshop tools

These panels are situated at the right hand side of your image. Experiment with these panels until you find balances you like best for the different areas of your photo and you are satisfied with the resulting effect. These controls have varying effect on different pictures depending on the details of the pictures. Once you are happy with the changes made, switch the view to black and white so that you will be able to see how the edges look, if you think there are no changes to be made to the edges, select layer mask and click ok.

Now that you have a new layer mask on your layer, the next step is to paint on the layer. If you think you still want to do some further refining to some parts such as fuzzy edges and hair that are difficult, you can make use of the brush tool.

Set the tool back to 50% and paint on the part you do not want to see or you want to erase, then set it to 50% white too to paint over any other unwanted but visible background, erasing it totally.

When you use the brush at an opacity of 50% or lower, you tend to have more precise control which usually brings transparency to the areas worked on.

Now you need to select and isolate your subject. The subject can be selected by control clicking on the layer mask, then duplicate what you selected onto a new layer by pressing ctrl + J, you can hide all other layer so that you will see only the subject you isolated.

If you will like to resize your canvas, you can also get it done in this step by using the shortcut key ctrl + alt + C. A new window will be opened which will give you options to input the size of the canvas you want.

You can select the method of measurement you want to use in a drop down box at the right, you can also input the width and height into the boxes on the left hand side or choose an anchor point for the resize.

The next thing to do is to make a solid fill for your new background. Click on the create new fill or adjustment layer in the layers panel, then select solid color from the top, then choose the color you want your new background to have.

Choose “Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color

photoshop transparent background

You can add some depth to the picture by adding a gradient or photo background.  Create a new layer at the base of the isolated subject to add a gradient. The gradient tool is very useful in adding more interesting background, adding more than one gradients to the background creates a sense of illusion to the depth of your newly colored background.

photoshop gradient

Now that your new background is in place, you should make a 100% zoom inward, looking out for any visible halo effect around the edges. You can make use of the black and white brushes to paint over the halo on the layer mask.

The Magic Wand Tool

The magic wand tool is best used when there is a glaring difference between the foreground and the background of the picture. It is used in making a quick but usually untidy changes to the background color of a picture when you are short in time or you are not patient enough to use the masking tool.

To use it, select the tool from the left hand side of the screen then long press the shift button and select the part of the background you want to change the color.

magic wand tool

The Lasso Tool

The standard lasso tool is used by hand drawing around the background, the polygonal lasso will only allow the drawing of defined straight lines while the magnetic lasso sticks to edged and lines already existing.

Once you have finished drawing round the background, connect back to the point you started from to make sure it is finalized use the shortcut key ctrl + click. If you have windows 10 installed on your computer, press and hold on the screen which will give you an option to right click. This will further opens a contextual menu with more functions where you can select the one you need.

The Lasso Tool

Conclusion

Whether you are presently working on an image that you are not pleased with the background color or the picture exists before but you don’t really like the color of the background, change the background color using Photoshop.

You can decide to use the magic wand tool or the lasso tool if you do not have much time on your side, but the masking tool will give you a very detailed and pleasing result.

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