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How to change background in Photoshop

Leri Koen

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By changing the background of specific images in Photoshop, you can completely transform that photo. When working with images and photos, sometimes you need to adjust the background as well. In some cases, you may want to remove the background altogether. Or maybe just replace parts of it.

Regardless of what you need to do, with Photoshop, it is easy to make changes and edits to your backgrounds. What is Photoshop? It is a very powerful image and photo editing platform that is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. It is also one of the most popular editing software for both professional photographers and designers and beginners.

Let’s take a look at how to change the background in Photoshop.

How to Edit the Background of Images in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an extremely powerful editing tool. You can work in layers, which makes separating the subject from the background much easier. With it, you can completely transform images and photos. When it comes to backgrounds, you can isolate the subject and change the color of the background, or you can blur it, or even make it completely transparent so that only the subject can be added to other images. 

Let’s look at some of the steps you need to take to edit the background in Photoshop.

How to Remove the Background in Photoshop?

If your photo was taken against a solid background, you can easily remove the background and replace it with any color you want. This is ideal in situations where you want to add a fun pop of color to the subject of your photo.

Step1: Upload Your Image to Photoshop

To get started, you have to upload your image to Photoshop.

Step 2: Select the ‘Auto Remove Background’ Option

To remove a simple background from your image, you can click on ‘Auto Remove Background’ in the ‘Quick Actions’ section in the panel on the right side of the screen. You can also use Photoshop plugins to help with more complex images. The photoshop plugin, remove.bg, is very effective at automatically removing the background, even with more complex photos such as ones with hair.

Step 3: Choose a New Background Color

Now you can easily change the background color by selecting the background layer and choosing a color from the swatches in the right-hand panel.

How to change background in Photoshop

Tip: In some cases, if you have a really solid background color, you can also change the color just by using the paint bucket tool and clicking on the background.

How to Make the Background Transparent in Photoshop?

Sometimes you may want to use only the subject of your photo and use it in other photos or images. You cannot just add it as is, or you will be adding it background and all, and it will not blend in. In this case, we need to make the background transparent so that only the subject is visible when added to another image.

Step 1: Upload Your Image

Upload the photo or image you want to edit to Photoshop.

Step 2: Use ‘Recolor’ to Change a Solid Background to Transparent

For a simple solid-color background, you can click on ‘Picture Tools.’ Next, you can select ‘Recolor’ and ‘Set Transparent Color’ from the drop-down menus. Now you’ll have to choose the color you want to make transparent, i.e., if your background was green, you choose to turn green transparent. 

Step 3: For Complex Backgrounds Use the ‘Quick Selection Tool

If your subject or background is more complex, you will have to work manually. Click on the ‘Quick Selection’ tool from your toolbox to the left of the screen.

How to change background in Photoshop

Step 4: Choose’ Select Subject’

You’ll be prompted to choose between ‘Select Subject’ or ‘Select and Mask.’ Choose ‘Select Subject,’ and the software will automatically try to select the subject.

How to change background in Photoshop

Step 5: Refine Your Selection

The program isn’t foolproof and uses contrast to distinguish between the subject and the background. This means that certain areas may be left out. Using a small brush, click on all the areas that have been missed to include them in your selection. If you need to remove areas from your selection, hold down Alt while clicking on the areas to be removed.

How to change background in Photoshop

Step 6: Choose’ Select and Mask’

Now that the subject has been selected, you can click on ‘Select and Mask.’ This will remove the background from view so that you can see your selection more clearly.

How to change background in Photoshop

Step 7: Use the ‘Refine Brush’

Now you can use the ‘Refine Brush’ around harsher sections that should be softened. This is usually areas such as around the hair of a model and similar. 

How to change background in Photoshop

Step 8: Choose ‘New Layer With Layer Mask’ as Output

Once you are happy with your image, click on ‘Output’ and then choose ‘New Layer with Layer Mask’ and click on ‘Ok.’ This will save a copy of the image with a transparent background so that it can be used in other images.

How to change background in Photoshop

How to Change the Background in Photoshop?

Sometimes you want to change the background of your image to improve the image and enhance the mood. To do this, you will have to make the background of your image transparent (like we discussed above) or use a subject that already has a transparent background.

Step 1: Open the New Background

Open your chosen background image in Photoshop.

Step 2: Open the Subject With Transparent Background

Open the subject you want to add to the background by clicking on ‘File’ in the main menu and choosing ‘Place Embedded.’

Step 3: Resize the Subject

You can move the subject to the desired spot and resize the image to fit in with the new background.

Step 4: Match the Colors

Once you’re happy with the positioning and size, you’re almost done. Choose your foreground image, not just the layer. Once the image is selected, click on ‘Image’ in the menu, select ‘Adjustments,’ and then ‘Match Color.’ A new panel will appear. Go to ‘Source’ and choose the image you are working with, and under layer, select the layer you want to fix. Depending on what you need, you can match the subject to the background or the other way around. 

Now check the ‘Neutralize’ box, and use the ‘Luminance’ and ‘Intensity sliders to match your foreground and background images.

More Photoshop Guides

If you need some more guidance in using Photoshop, here are a few extra how-tos and guides.

Make editing a breeze

Photoshop makes photo and image editing much easier. Once you get used to how the software works and what all the different tools do, you can start creating true masterpieces. Removing, editing and changing backgrounds is one of the features that make Photoshop such a powerful tool.

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