If you want to change the image background, then Photoshop is the perfect tool. Maybe you want to turn a beautiful sunny day into a cloudy sky? If so, you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually quite easy.

Adobe Photoshop serves one of the best features to change the background of the picture. The application even includes tools to select tricky areas and match the colors from different images.

How to change the background in Adobe Photoshop?

1. Select the Foreground Object

Grab the Quick Selection Tool from the toolbar and with a hardish brush click, drag inside the area you want to select. Photoshop will guess itself about the parts you want to include.

As a result, areas with high contrast and hard edges are selected cleanly, but low contrast and soft edges will require more hard work.

It is easier to select the background in some images by pressing “Shift + Ctrl + i” on Windows, or “Shift + Cmd + i” on Mac.

2. Fine-Tune your Selection

To make your selection fine, zoom into the image and make your brush size smaller by pressing the left square bracket. Now continue clicking to add parts of the foreground object to your selection.

If you need to remove anything from the selection hold down the Alt key and click and drag in those areas. Ideally, your selection should contain all solid objects.

3. Select and Mask

In the options bar at the top of the screen click, “Select and Mask” (allows you to refine the selection and convert it into a mask).

In the “Properties panel” click the View Mode option to change how you will see your selection. Choosing overlay will be good as it will help you to pick a colour that contrasts with your image.

4. Refine the Selection

You can refine the selection by using the toolbar on the left side of the screen:

  1. Quick Selection Tool: used to quickly add or remove any larger areas to your selection.
  2. Refine Edge Brush Tool: used over hair and other soft edges
  3. Brush Tool: used over harder edges
  4. Lasso or Polygonal Lasso Tool: draw areas to add or remove from your selection.

To check the edges of the selection, zoom in the image.

In the image, we’ll start with the “Brush Tool” to smooth the edges of the wall and body. Just paint in to add to the selection, or hold Alt and paint to remove the areas.

Next, move to the “Refine Edge tool” to touch up the hair, or any soft edges. In the right-hand panel, under Edge detection, check the box called “Smart Radius.” This helps Photoshop make a distinction between soft and hard edges. Also, you can increase the Radius a little.

Place a soft Refine Edge brush on the outer edge of the hair and begin brushing and the  hair strands will be added to the selection. Hold down the Alt key and paint to undo your changes if they are not according to what you want.

5. Adjust the Settings

The Select and Mask options include several listed under Global Refinements as listed below:

  • Smooth: good for selections with a clear edge.
  • Feather: softens the edge of a selection.
  • Contrast: Hardens the edge by increasing contrast on the edge pixels.
  • Shift Edge: moves the entire selection in or out by a specified number of pixels.

6. Remove Color Fringing

In the right-hand panel, go to the output settings and choose “Decontaminate Colors” to remove any colour border-left behind in your selection.

Choose “New Layer” with Layer Mask in the output, then click OK. This will take you to your main image, with the selection added as a new layer. Now that you’ve removed the image background, you’re ready to add new background.

7. Paste Your New Background

Next, paste in the image containing your new background and place it on a layer just below the layer containing your foreground selection.

Use the Hand tool to position the layer, resizing it if necessary using the “Free Transform tool” (Ctrl +T, or Cmd + T). Grab the handles on the corners of the images and drag inwards to make it smaller and hold the Shift key to keep the aspect ratio the same.

8. Match the Colors

The final step is to fix the colours of the foreground to make sure they blend properly with the background. Select the “foreground layer,” ensure to select the image, not the mask. Go to Image > Adjustments > Match Color.

 

In the window that opens go to “Source” and select the image, you’re working on. Under Layer select which layer you want to fix and match the foreground to your new background.

After this, check the “Neutralize box” to remove any colour casts from your chosen layer, and adjust the “Luminance and Intensity” options until your fore and background are the same. Moreover, use the Preview option to toggle between the before and after states.

9. It’s Done!

Click OK and you’re done. Save your file as PSD to save all the layer information with the foreground, background, and original image on separate layers. Additionally, you can edit your file at any time.