7 Replies Latest reply on Jun 27, 2010 9:16 AM by hatstead

    How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?


      I'm taking pictures of my daughter in front of a black sheet of fabric, but the final image does not show it as one solid sheet of black...because of the light, some parts of the background are lighter than others, and there are some wrinkles visible.


      How do I use Photoshop Elements to make the background solid balck (or any other color I might want) without having to carefully trace around the outline of my daughters body, which is especially difficult around the hair.  Is there a way to do this so she does not end up looking superimposed?

        • 1. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
          hatstead Adobe Community Professional

          It is possible that you may be able to select the black background using the magic wand tool, adjusting the tolerance as you go along, leaving contiguous unchecked, then deleting the background. That would leave you with the foreground on its own layer. With an appropriate degree of feather, the foreground can be adjusted for a nice blend into a new background.


          The alternative is to select the foreground under magnification, placing it on its own layer, and a new background beneath. The art comes in with the hair, as you have found out. You can place a new, blank layer at the top of the stack in the layers palette, sample the hair color with the eyedropper tool, the fill in whisps of hair with one of the brushes, using the blur and/or smudge tool as necessary.


          It will help if you post the picture here, or at www.pixentral.com, and providing us with the URL.This will help for more specific guidance.

          • 2. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
            BobGager Adobe Employee

            You could also try the Background Eraser Tool.

            Click and hold on the Eraser, and select Background Eraser from the popup.


            More info on it can be found here:

            http://help.adobe.com/en_US/PhotoshopElements/6.0/help.html?content=WS04574A94-6C38-4e42-A 959-E91D03E1DB47.html

            • 3. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
              dnamertz12345 Level 1

              Your 1st suggestion might be on the right track, but there are a couple things I can't figure out.


              1.  What does the Tolerance do?  I tried adjusting that number, but I don't see anything happening?


              2.  I used the Magic Wand Tool and deleted the background, leaving a soft glowing halo around the outline of her body.  I then created an all black background layer, but I'm not sure how to use the Feather function at this point to blend into the new background.  I was able to use Feather when I initially used the Magic Wand Tool to delete the background, but how do I use it to blend with the new backgound?

              • 4. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
                hatstead Adobe Community Professional

                Enter a low tolerance value to select very similar colors, higher value to select broader range of colors.


                If you have the foreground on a new layer all by itself, press CTRL + left click the thumbnail in the layers palette. This makes the selection active and you should see marching ants.


                The selection edges can be fine tuned on an active selection:


                • Select>feather
                • Select>refine edges
                • Select>modify


                In PSEv.8 the Refine Edge menu can be accessed via the magic wand tool's option bar as well. I don't know which version of the program  is available to you.

                • 5. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
                  dnamertz12345 Level 1

                  I'm using version 6.  I still can't get rid of the halo outline...I'm going to try the Background Erase Tool.

                  • 6. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
                    dnamertz12345 Level 1

                    I like the Background Erase tool.  I've got the background erased, leaving only her body as the foreground (and even the hairline looks in tact).  But, now I'm having trouble putting that on top of a new background layer.  I've used layers in other software before, but I'm having trouble figuring out Photoshop Elements layers.


                    I have the one layer, which is the image of my daughter with the background erased.  Then I try either Create New Layer or Creat Adjustment Layer to create a 2nd layer that is all black.  Now all I can see in the main workspace is the all black layer.  Even if I click on the 1st layer, I can't see it...I only see the 2nd layer.  How do I put the 2 layers together?

                    • 7. Re: How do I Make Baground One Solid Color?
                      hatstead Adobe Community Professional



                      Ususally there are several ways to do things in this program. I am providing you with details of my work flow. I selected a picture (actually a scan) with a complex background, ending up with the foreground and black background. The print screen also shows you the layer structure.


                      1. Open picture, duplicate background layer, shut off visibility of the background layer by clicking on its eye icon, and work on background copy layer. This way, if you want to start over again, you can delete the newly generated layers, and you are back to square one.
                      2. I accessed the magnetic lasso tool with feather=2px, anti alias checked, width=5 px, contrast=3%, frequency=57. I went around the 3 ladies, laying down anchor points. If you want to go back on the anchor points, do that by hitting the delete key on the keyboard.
                      3. (Some people like to use the lasso tool with the add selection box at the top highlighted, applying short intervals between mouse clicks.)
                      4. After the selection is made, go to Layer>new>layer via copy
                      5. Place a blank layer between background copy layer and layer 1, and fill this with black. Now you can see the selection well, and touch up a spot here and there with the eraser tool
                      6. Make layer 1 active, then CTRL+left click the layer thumbnail in this layer. You should see the "marching ants"
                      7. Go to select>modify>contract 2 px
                      8. Go to select>inverse>hit delete on keyboard
                      9. Go to select>inverse
                      10. Go to select>deselect


                      Steps 7-10 are directed to getting rid of the fringe which you describe in your post, and the numbers can be tailored to suit.

                      Hope that this helps you.