I promised to do more photography related posts when I got the chance. This is a SUPER easy method for beginners in Photoshop looking for a backdrop blending tutorial. This will work on most solid colored backdrops and will minimize the odds of color banding showing up in your processed image as long as you do a bulk of the heavy editing prior to blending in the backdrop. There are other ways to avoid banding, which include editing in a higher bit mode, adding in noise, using the splatter tool, etc…. BUT that’s a little more advanced for most beginners to nail down well.
This is a picture heavy post. Apologies!
I dug up this old photo I took of my son right before his first birthday. The colors are pretty accurate SOOC, but I have some issues going on with the sides of the image because my backdrop wasn’t wide enough.
I want to go ahead and fix some spots on his sweater and hand by cloning them out before I get started on the backdrop blending.
Ahhh… Much better.
I also want to fix the noise. I fix the noise on all of my images in ACR or LR, but I guess I wasn’t paying much attention when I exported this image. Fixing noise isn’t as easy to show, but I basically added a filter and adjusted the overall noise and then went to the advanced settings and messed with the channels to clear up the noise on his skin. So clean now!
Grab your eye dropper tool and sample a color pretty close to your subject.
Duplicate your background layer (technically I should have done this at the beginning).
Pick a pretty large soft edge brush with the hardness set to 0%, opacity at 100% and flow somewhere around 50%.
Make sure your background copy layer is chosen. Brush on the color you picked with the eyedropper on the areas you want to blend, don’t worry if your subject is covered in the overspray. We’ll fix that in a bit.
Now add a layer mask to the background copy layer you just brushed color onto. You can find this in the yellow circle below.
Make sure the mask you created for the background copy is chosen, then click on the brush tool and switch the brush color to black. This will essentially erase your overspray.
Start with a medium sized soft edge brush to get the bulk of the overspray cleaned up, but avoiding the edges.
You can clearly see that his hair and sweater are still covered in overspray from blending.
Zoom in and get a smaller brush to get in closer to the hair and increase the hardness, but avoid the outline of your subject.
Most of the overspray is gone, but now it’s time to clean up the edges.
I adjust the pen pressure, but you can also just go in and decrease the hardness and flow of a small brush. You want to make sure that your subject and background are blended well, so there are no harsh lines.
Everything looks pretty good, but he’s looking a little flat.
So I ran my Soft Film Workflow from my upcoming set and toggled off some of the settings (matte and brighten). It’s a very simple and clean edit, so I knew it wasn’t going to add color banding to this image.
Don’t ask me why the arrow is pointing the wrong way. I got a little overzealous with the saving because baby boy wasn’t feeling well and was not happy waking up from his nap. Actually he’s not even happy when I make eye contact for too long. Can’t wait until he’s feeling better!
I watermarked it and resized it for the web. Done and done. The actual blending part only takes a couple minutes, max. It took me thirteen minutes from start to finish and I was also chatting with my husband about birth certificates, uploading a client gallery and getting an extra cranky toddler up from his nap during those thirteen minutes. Not bad.
Another before and after for you.