Ronny's "simple" Masks

Started Oct 21, 2009 | Discussions thread
Ronny Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 7,121
OK, here goes simple.

There are two parts to changing backgrounds, masking and blending. In order to do complex masking, you need to learn how the use the pen tool and do advanced masking using Channel Mixer (Russell Brown technique) and Calculations. The blending part requires a knowledge of blending modes in addition to many other Photoshop skills. There are some cases where you don't have to worry about making a precise mask since the blending portion will do most of the work for you. Your image of dark hair on a white background presents one of those cases.

Download these two images since they have been resized to the same values:

Place the new background on top of the girl and change the layer mode to Multiply. The layers palette and image will look like the following EXCEPT for the mask which will be added in the next step:

Take note that multiply darkened the new background but any part of the image underneath that is darker than the new BG will show through. Any part of the girl image that is lighter will be replaced by new BG.

Now, turn off the BG layer and activate the Girl image. Use the Magic wand in contiguous mode and the default tolerance of 32 to select the white background. Use that selection on the new BG layer to create a mask. It will now look like the following:

Take a small soft 100% opacity white brush and paint over the white area that the magic wand missed. Try not to overlap too much hair since it will turn it darker but you can paint right over the strays. When you have tweaked the mask, it will look like the following:

Now you want to brighten the background to allow even more hair show through the new BG. Make a Curves adjustment layer and clip it to the BG layer. Hold down Alt, move the pointer over the line separating the layers in the layers palette and when pointer changes shape, click. Push the middle of the diagonal up to brighten. Since it is clipped to the BG layer, it will not brighten the girl. This is what you should have:

And the final image:

After doing this one time, you can do it in less than a minute or two! Now, ain't that simple?


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