As a photographer, photo-editor or graphic designer, knowing how to change photos background gives you more option to explore different type of mood till you find a prefect match for your idea. the challenge i see most people face when trying to change a photo background is the inability to properly select a subject with a soft-edged hair without cutting out the hair that is why i created this simple step by step tutorial not just to teach you how to change an image background but to teach you the technique of how to select a subject with soft-edged hair from it’s background in Photoshop.
You can download the girl image and background image through the links below to follow along
Girl image by anna-demianenko on unsplash
Background image by flo-karr on unsplash
Step 1. Import your image into Photoshop.
Open Photoshop and simply drag and drop your image into the work space or double click on the work area and you will be taking to a new window where you can chose your image and import, once you have your image in Photoshop double click on the layer to rename it so your image layer can be converted from a background layer to a regular layer.
Step 2. Select the Subject.
Now you have your photo imported into Photoshop the next thing to do is to make selection around the subject, to do this, navigate to the tool bar and select the Quick Selection Tool use it to select the girl by clicking on her don’t go too close to the edge when selecting the hair so you don’t select a bit of the background.
Step 3. Refine Edge.
Next up is to use Refine Edge to separate the hair from the background, to do this, with the quick selection tool selected click ”Refine Edge” tab and the refine edge window will appear which contains the View Mode, Edge Detection, Adjust Edge and Output. under the view mode you have the option to view the image on different backgrounds, what you want to do next is to check the ”Show Radius” box, and increase the radius pixel under edge detection using the slider, unchecked the show radius box and check Smart Radius box, now use the brush tool to carefully paint round the edge including those soft hair that stretch out and when you let go off the mouse Photoshop will automatically detect the hair and separate them from the background. if you notice that you have over paint and you are seeing a bit of the background, just use the eraser tool to erase. you can find the erase tool by right clicking on that same brush tool you used earlier.
When you’re done, under output> output to, select ”New Layer” and click OK.
Note: if you are using the Adobe Photoshop CC version or later you wouldn’t see the Refine Edge tab but what you can do is to download and install Fluid Mask 3 as a Photoshop plug-in then automatically you should see the Refine Edge tab now. am using Photoshop CC so i did the above method before i could access Refine Edge then in Photoshop CC 2017 release is called Select and Mask.
Step 4. Place the Subject in a New Background.
The last thing to do here is to place the girl in a new background. to complete this task just import the background image and place it’s layer beneath the new layer containing the girl, Scale and position the background image properly till the girl fit in so the effect can look realistic. you can also add a blur effect to the background image and get a good focus on the girl.
Here is the final result!
That’s it! you’re done.
If you followed all 4 steps of this tutorial, congratulations you have successfully learn how to select a subject with soft-edged hair from it’s background in Photoshop. want to learn more on Photoshop? download the Photoshop Fundamental from Start to Finish eBook. and don’t forget to share this tutorial and also comment your thought on this tutorial and…. Thanks for reading.
Author: Godspower Oderhohwo
A passionate photo-editor, aspiring film-maker, still graphics designer and creative writer. always working hard to develop him self and also to help others in the art/media/photography industry.