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Fixing and replacing backgrounds

From: Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

Video: Fixing and replacing backgrounds

It seems like the sky is always the first thing to fade away in an old photo. Sometimes all the restored photo needs is to get a little sky back to look perfect. The trick to replacing the sky is to do it, so it's not obvious that it was ever even gone. I'm going to be working on this photo of this cute little dog with all this blank sky above him, and I'm also going to use this image of the sky. As you can see, it has a lot of nice details and it's going to look great. Let's go back over to our original image, and let's duplicate the background by hitting Ctrl on a PC, Command on a Mac, plus J.

Fixing and replacing backgrounds

It seems like the sky is always the first thing to fade away in an old photo. Sometimes all the restored photo needs is to get a little sky back to look perfect. The trick to replacing the sky is to do it, so it's not obvious that it was ever even gone. I'm going to be working on this photo of this cute little dog with all this blank sky above him, and I'm also going to use this image of the sky. As you can see, it has a lot of nice details and it's going to look great. Let's go back over to our original image, and let's duplicate the background by hitting Ctrl on a PC, Command on a Mac, plus J.

Now let's go over to our Image menu, and go down to Magic Extractor. Let's zoom in on our photo by hitting Ctrl++ or Command++. If you want to move a photo in Magic Extractor, you need to go over here to your Hand tool and just drag it down. This is your Foreground Brush tool. Whatever you click all with this indicates the areas you want to keep. This is your Background Brush tool, and whatever you click with this you want to delete.

So let's start with our Foreground tool and I'm just going to go over this really quick for the sake of time, you can be more exact, by all means please do. But I'm just going to hit a few areas. You can make your brush smaller or larger by using your Left and Right Bracket keys. Select your Hand tool to move, go back to your Brush tool, and let's just hit these areas real quick right now.

Let's get the Hand tool and move it down. Make the brush a little bit bigger, there we go. And now we're going to do the Background tool, let's makes that even bigger since it's blank, pretty much, except for it's not totally blank. Let's get our Hand tool and move it up it up a bit. Because as you get closer to the top there's a gradient and it does get a little darker, so be sure -- let's get our Hand tool and move up again, and be sure to get this as you can see that's a little bit darker.

When you have it done, just go over here and select Preview, and let's zoom out using Ctrl+Minus or command+Minus to see how that did, and it actually did pretty good. So let's click OK and go back into Elements, and make sure your Background layer is selected. Now we'll go over to our sky image, and you're going to make sure your Move tool is selected and drag in and drop it onto the tab of dog.jpg.

Come down here, until you see this rectangle and the Plus sign, and then lift up on the key. You can move it up by dragging it, until it looks good and you can Ctrl+T or Command+T to Transform it, if you want to. Make it a little bit smaller whatever you'd like to do, just leave that like that, and you can either hit Enter or the screen check to accept. And now we want to clean it up a little bit by going over and getting our Rectangular Marquee tool, and use what's left to the photo is your guide up here, take it and drag it over and hit Ctrl+X or Command+X to delete.

Do the same on this side Ctrl+X or Command+X to delete, and on this last side drag it up Ctrl+X or Command+X.Now let's blend it in a little more by going to our Enhance menu and down to Convert to Black and White. Don't worry about any settings on here; all you're doing is converting to black and white so just hit OK. Then you're going to go over here and take your Opacity way down to about 25%, maybe even less with some cloud images it will just vary whatever your image is, and now we'll look at the before and after.

It's very subtle and you wouldn't know it wasn't there when it was taken, and it just looks a lot better. Sometimes backgrounds are just too damaged or distracting or skies if faded away, well you should never just change something for changes sake and every effort should be made to repair a background before replacing it, there are some valid reasons for background replacement. When you do replace just remember keep it subtle and make it look completely natural.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos
Photoshop Elements 9: Scanning and Restoring Photos

40 video lessons · 6056 viewers

Janine Smith
Author

 
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  1. 1m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 13m 20s
    1. Identifying your media
      2m 45s
    2. Determining your equipment needs
      2m 24s
    3. Setting your scanner
      3m 26s
    4. Scanning negatives, slides, and film
      1m 11s
    5. Digitizing damaged and delicate photos
      3m 34s
  3. 10m 51s
    1. Importing photos into the Organizer
      3m 34s
    2. Adding captions and notes
      2m 47s
    3. Adding keyword and smart tags
      4m 30s
  4. 25m 11s
    1. Using Levels
      4m 7s
    2. Fixing fades with Threshold
      3m 22s
    3. Adjusting contrast using Color Curves
      4m 18s
    4. Darkening images with blend modes
      2m 12s
    5. Adjusting brightness and contrast
      2m 2s
    6. Using Quick Fix for lighting
      4m 12s
    7. Fixing automatically with Guided Edit
      4m 58s
  5. 18m 59s
    1. Using Levels to fix color
      3m 29s
    2. Correcting color automatically with Enhance
      3m 39s
    3. Correcting color with complementary colors
      5m 19s
    4. Using Color Variations
      3m 28s
    5. Using Quick Fix for color
      3m 4s
  6. 22m 37s
    1. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      5m 24s
    2. Using the Healing Brush
      5m 5s
    3. Working with newspaper and magazine images
      3m 12s
    4. Softening paper texture
      4m 40s
    5. Taming fingerprints
      4m 16s
  7. 42m 52s
    1. Repairing small rips and creases
      4m 22s
    2. Repairing large tears
      8m 22s
    3. Filling in missing pieces
      5m 36s
    4. Reassembling a photo from pieces
      10m 12s
    5. Fixing and replacing backgrounds
      5m 0s
    6. Using Photomerge with panoramas
      3m 59s
    7. Repairing documents
      5m 21s
  8. 22m 48s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 1s
    2. Making a calendar
      3m 52s
    3. Creating a personalized greeting card
      4m 26s
    4. Making a slideshow (Windows only)
      4m 22s
    5. Creating a flyer
      4m 7s
  9. 25s
    1. Final thoughts
      25s

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