Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Removing the subject from a location, part of Photoshop for Photographers: Compositing.
So far we have taken a look at how we could change the environment for our subject, yet so far the subject has been in the front of the environment. It's almost like the environment was a background. Well here we're going to look at how we can put a subject in a new environment. You can see that we have this photograph here of this lake. This is a picture that we worked on in one of my other courses called Creative Effects. We looked at how we could modify the overall color here by changing the blues and also how we could brighten up the pier. Well next what I wanted to do is I want to bring this portrait into this image.
And I want to have this subject walking on the pier rather than walking in this really kind of cluttered and un-interesting environment. Now eventually we're going to change the size of the subject so that she's much smaller, but you want to leave her bigger now so that we can make a really good selection of her. Let's start off by making that selection by pressing the W key in order to choose the Quick Select tool. Next press the right bracket key to make your brush bigger. I want to start off with a really big brush and go ahead and just make some general selections there.
Then make your brush smaller, and go ahead and paint around so that you can select some of those nice small little details. You may want to zoom in a bit on the photograph too so you can really get into some of these other little areas like this area here. If you have selected something that you don't want, hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on Windows and then you can click and paint that away. We will go ahead and paint in this other leg here and then paint away some of these details. Next, to work on some of these smaller areas in here we need a really small brush.
So press the Option or Alt key and click and paint over that with a small brush. You can make your brush small by pressing the left bracket key. So again, you're just going to go ahead and use a small brush to kind of paint over these other areas. When it comes to the feet and kind of this toes right here, I want to try to select what's called the point of contact shadow; that's the shadow where these toes are actually touching the ground, so we want to make sure to include that. Now if our selection isn't perfect or if it's too big or too small, we can always fix that up later because we're going to build a mask out of this selection.
Yet it does pay to zoom in and at least work with a nice little small tool there to try to get a good selection of some of these different areas. Now the hair is going to be a little bit tricky, yet we can improve that as we go. If we zoom in on the photograph, what I'm going to do here is I am going to use a small brush by pressing the left bracket key, then I am going to paint over that area of the background to try to tell Photoshop that that's some of the area that I don't want. Now again, it's really tricky to try to get this selected here because, well there isn't a lot of space in that area.
Yet still, by trying to paint some of that away it might help us out a bit. Next with the hair that's out here and these little pieces, I'm not worried about those because we will take care of those when we get to the Refine Edge dialog. All right, well speaking of Refine Edge I think we're ready to go there. Let's go ahead and click on Refine Edge. We'll press Command+- so we can zoom out on our image. Now our subject looks giant, yet we can start to see how she is going to fit into the scene. Eventually we will Free Transform her, but for now this helps us to see some of our edges.
What I'm noticing here is that I need to use Smart Radius, and to increase the Radius in order to improve those edges. So let's zoom back in on the photograph. I should also highlight here that what you can do is you can change your View mode to On Layers rather than say Overlay or On Black or On White, in order to able to see this in this realistic environment. After we have done a little bit work with our Smart Radius, we'll also use this Contrast slider to increase the density of the edges, the strength of those edges there and we may want to soften them up just a little bit as well.
Few points of feather can't hurt. You can shift the edge if you feel like the edges are glowing a little bit. Sometimes taking that to the left just a few points can help take that glow off. We can also use the Refine Radius tool here. In this case, I could paint over that hair in the background to try to bring that in. Or we can try to paint over some of these areas too if we want to bring that in. In this case, it's not working very well so I'll go ahead and take this Eraser tool, and just try to erase some of that from the selection.
Well this looks pretty good for a starter or for a rough mask. Let's output this to a layer mask. We will select Layer Mask from the pull down menu and then click OK. Let's zoom out. To zoom out you press Command+- on the Mac or Ctrl+- on Windows. Well now that we have our subject isolated from her background we can start to really begin to position where we want her to be. We can also start to work on our shadows and some of the other details of this project.
So let's leave this image open as we'll continue to work on it in the next movie.
- Combining facial expressions from two images
- Creating a better group portrait with Photomerge
- Removing a subject from the background
- Changing the scale of a subject
- Enhancing the color and tone of a composite image
- Masking together multiple exposures
- Filling in background gaps
- Correcting overexposure
- Replacing the sky in an image
- Creating reflections
- Building in shadows