Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Changing a background color, part of Lightroom: Creative Color.
- [Instructor] In this chapter, we will shift our attention to making selective color adjustments using a few of the tools that we can find up here in the tool strip. We'll start off with this studio portrait, and with this image, we'll look at how we can modify the background color using the adjustment brush. Alright, let's begin by selecting the adjustment brush. To do so, click on the adjustment brush icon right here or press the K key on your keyboard. Next for the settings, the first one you want to dial in is saturation. You want to remove all color from the area, then add a new color on top of it.
Now this background is pretty neutral, it's a gray, but still there's a little hint of color in that, and this technique works better if you remove first and then add on top, so we dial this back down, then next, go to the color chip right here, and on this color chip, click on that, this will open up our dialogue, and here we can choose a color just by clicking through this. You want to start off by choosing a color which is really noticeable. It may not look great, it may look over saturated, too bright, too strong. That's fine because we can change it later, but you want to have a bright color so you can see how your results are looking with this particular tool, so we choose a nice bright color there.
Then for our brush, we'll start off with a really huge brush, at first, without a lot of feather. Flow, crank that all the way up, density all the way up, and then auto mask, turn that option on. Now this one we'll start off by just working on the edges here, so we're just going to go ahead and really quickly paint over the background and not get very close to the subject. So we're just covering up the big areas. Then next change the brush size, either by dragging this down to the left or by tapping your left bracket key. And the reason why we want to do that is because when we get closer to the subject, we want to have a smaller brush, and what we'll be able to do, with auto mask turned on, we'll be able to get really close to the subject here.
You just want to make sure that the cross hairs, which is the little area in the middle of your brush, the little plus icon, that's covering up the background. So as long as we have that covering up the background, with the auto mask technology that's built into this tool can allow us to get really close to that edge, and not change any of the other content here. With this area, I need to make my brush a little bit smaller and decrease the flow. The reason why I need to decrease the flow here a little bit is the green that we should be seeing behind this part of the hair shouldn't be quite as strong as the other parts, so I just have a lower flow here, and I'm clicking over those areas, making sure the cross hairs are covering that part of the background that I want to change.
And again, it's because the hair should be blocking some of the green, so it shouldn't be quite as strong as the other areas. Next, bring the flow back up, and we can work on other areas. And if we make any mistakes with any of this, the good news is it's all non-destructive, of course, so we can always change this by using a brush which allows us to subtract from the adjustment if we find that we've made a little error, and let me just go through here, a couple more spots, make sure I'm hitting all these spots here and then work on this side over here, and when you get to an area, if you find that it spills over, like, create a little problem for us over there, let's zoom in on that.
You see how there's a little problem on the shoulder over here. If you have a problem like that, click on the erase option, and then choose which brush size and characteristics you want to have. Probably not a ton of feather, nice small brush, I'll leave auto mask turned on, and then here what I can do is just paint that away, so what this does with the negative option is it's subtracting whatever the effect is that you're painting in. A little bit in the hair there I need to subtract. That looks good. You can leave a little bit on that edge because it should spill over just a touch.
Over here on this side, it looks like I didn't get quite close enough to that side of the sweater. Okay, well looking good here as we're going around this part of the image, just clicking over a few of these little areas. Just a little bit more there, okay great. Well now we have a new background in. Tap the back slash key. This is before, and then tap it again, and you can see the after. The color, as I mentioned, is too strong, so we just can go back to this area where we have the color chip, and we could just de-saturate, drag that down for a little bit less color intensity, and the background that might be nice with this image is one which is blue, maybe a nice subtle blue there.
Yeah, kind of like a slate blue or something like that. And the reason why we started with a color which was really saturated at first because it showed me my flaws. Then once I found where those are, then I go back and choose a color which is a little bit closer to the one that I want. Now obviously if you know that you're going to go for a blue, you might as well start with a bright blue and then just bring it down, right, but I think the green hopefully helped you see how we had some issues with our edges there. The other thing that you can do is if you open up the toolbar by pressing the T key, you can turn on this option which is to show selected mask overlay.
This shows you the areas where you're adjusting the image. In this case it's showing us in red. If you press shift O, it will toggle through different options for that mask overlay color, so you can see how I can choose different options. And then we can always turn that off, but that just is another way to help you to be able to see what you've done. And then last but not least, when you're making an adjustment like this, if you decide you want to change, obviously the color or the density, you know if you want to darken it or brighten it up, you can make any of those changes here as well.
So you just need to go into any of these controls and then dial those in exactly as you want it. I want a little bit of a brighter blue, something like that right there. Alright, well there you have it. Tap the back slash key. Here is before and then now here is after, technique using the adjustment brush in order to change or modify the color and the background of a photograph.
- Using the core color tools
- Changing a background color
- Painting in a new hair color
- Working on a landscape
- Fine-tuning color with split toning
- Working with the HSL controls
- Creating your own color presets
- Finding and managing third-party color presets
- Crafting unique color looks