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Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 19 of 20

Adjusting the Background of an Image


Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore

Lesson 19 of 20

Adjusting the Background of an Image


Lesson Info

Adjusting the Background of an Image

Sometimes when we're working, we'll need tio isolate something from its background and replace some parts of the background and let's see if I might be able to find an example of that well, we could use her, but I think our speckles might not help this much or some others, but what'll happen is on occasion there's a background you want to replace and it could be that in replacing that could have a few in here. I remember I have one image where we have some hair to deal with if you need to replace or a just what's in the background of an image most the time just painting on a mask and doing other similar approaches of making selections isn't going to do it when it comes to anything that is furry fuzzier. Harry and I just want to show an idea for how you might be able to isolate those areas and I just need a locate one image that's not in the folder I expected it to be in, so just take me a moment got a look at my master folder, but the idea is that those areas there are free fuzzier har...

ry end up where the transition is critical and if you just try to paint to make that transition, you will find that it is too difficult to, uh, isolate and so if we need to do that then I need to find one image it's of a little girl um that if we need to do that we need to use some specialized photoshopped techniques that are going to help us to isolate that I can't find this image will use the woman with the ah blond here just a moment to look your we're going to use the image with the blond hair yeah one of my images is misplaced so sorry about that I am going to find our woman with the bombings ok? So let's say needed to isolate this and retouch out a background in these little hairs are the issue of making that transition because oftentimes we do have that we have some sort of hair, a big beard or something and we're trying to do some re touching around we want to make some isolation there so let's make a selection and in this case I'm using the quick selection tool to get our general subject matter then let's say what I really wanted to do this photograph is I wanted to either dark in the background make the background less colorful uh or even remove the background well I get a general selection but it's the hair that's going to be impossible tio to get into in order to deal with the hair what I'd end up doing is go to the select menu and there's a choice in there called refine edge and you need to start with a selection that has your general, uh, subject selected when I choose refine edge. I'm not sure if it's going to come into this view yeah, we'll come into this view by default, where it has a white background. What you want to do is uma in the first thing you want to look for is any areas where you can see the old background, so d c hints of like, what would be a blue sky or gray sky within this? I just want to move my mouse on top of my image, I'll get a brush automatically, and I'm going to brush over any areas where I see any hint of the old background and I'll paint on those mainly where I see the blatant old backgrounds and what we're doing is wherever we paint were allowing photo shop to take control this image I'm not sure I'll get it'll do because how dirty the background is with those blobs that's why I wanted to use a different picture, but well still do this, you see how it started to try to refine that edge? Well, now the problem is it looks like she has been given a haircut and I need to get the rest of the wispy parts of her hair, but photo shop has only been given control exactly where I've painted and if I haven't painted over every little wispy hair, then it doesn't know that it has control there. So after I paint on the areas where I can see hints of the background, I come up here to this area called view and I changed it to a choice called overlay overlaying will make it look like quick mask mode is turned on where the red overlay indicates what will not be selected in the end and you see all the hairs that are not being shown up here. Instead they're covered up with red well, I haven't given photoshopped control over what's happening in those areas, so I'm just going to move my mouse on top and I'm going to paint over and any of the hairs that are covered with red and as I let go each time it should refine this election so that these areas were painting I'm giving photoshopped control over what's happening, and now do you see how the red is more closely, uh, touching your hair as far more precisely, I should say, and if I want each one of these little wisps, I'd have to paint all the way out to there otherwise if I didn't paint on it it's going to use the original selection that I had for those areas? And so if these little hairs that air out here were not at all selected they won't be it all selected in my end result it's on lee, where I've painted here, that I'm allowing photoshopped to have any control at all over what the end result looks like and it's starting to look pretty good where the red is nicely matching I can go back to that other view we had that was called on white to see what my end result looks like, or I can choose on black or any of these other choices. Uh, if I choose that here's what is currently looking like in it's? Not bad, but the problem is that the edge of the hair looks gray. It doesn't look like the color of a real hair and some of the times that's not a problem, because if all I'm trying to do is get a selection and all I'm going to do with that selection is brighton or dark in the background, or make it less colorful or something like that, this isn't going to matter because this is only what it would look like if I were to copy her in paste or on a white background, and we don't plan on doing that, but if I did need to do that for some reason because I'm replacing and cleaning up the background and I needed this to look appropriate, there is a choice in here called decontaminate colors and what that means is let's look at those areas that are partially transparent where the background was mixed in with the hairs and let's replace the colors that's in there because most likely that some of the background color showing through instead let's go in here to where we have pure hair let's grab whatever color is there and push it out into that area so I'll turn on decontaminate colors then and there's a little slider here that tells it how aggressive to be I can try to move it really high and I just want to make sure that it looks to look somewhat detailed in the hair oftentimes when it's turned all the way up it won't be detailed enough bring it down where it looks like I have enough variation in the color and see if that can handle some of it it's not always going to be perfect but it will help us out quite a bit if you have decontaminate colors turned on though the only end result you can end up with is a new layer with a mask on it so it looks like you need a command j of that area that's not what I wanted something a turnoff decontaminate colors and just click ok oops I didn't look at it if you ever turn on decontaminate colors it sets it up to create a new layer had I never turned on that check box it would have given me a selection I will cheat to get my selection if you ever want a selection you can convert a mask into a selection just move your mouse on top of it hold on command control my doesn't click that will convert that into a selection so now I could select inverse to get the opposite and I could make any kind of adjustment I want I could make the background black and white and you see the transition from her hair to the background looks fine I could instead try a curves adjustment layer in brighton or dark in that background whatever kind of change I want and you see your hair the transition into it doesn't look to that but darken it makes the splotches much more obvious. So but that's one thing that I'll end up with quite often is somebody will want me to end up replacing the background because there's something bad in the background and that's the retouch I need in the most difficult part is isolating the hair so that transition khun be maintained and using refined edge is what is going tio give me the best result remember to do refine and she didn't need to start with a selection and I usually use the quick selection tool and I paint over the main subject matter that I want to keep and I just don't worry about where the hair is getting it accurate just make sure if there's any areas you don't want, you can when you're in the quick selection tool either click on an icon that's up here with the minus sign on it which means take away or to temporarily get to that you hold on the option key and click on areas you didn't want like this little part in the the opening of her arm then it was under the select menu and it was called refine edge it starts off with this view you paint over the areas where you can see the background, which I'm not going to spend the time to do right now excited it previously only after you've done that do you set this tow overlay and now paint on the parts that are covered in red but you wanted to keep that means the wispy hairs and us where you're giving photoshopped control over what's happening on lee in those areas where you're painting and then I'll show you if you never turned on this check box, this would have given you a selection, but the moment you turn this on uh it would change this down here to something other than selection click ok and I can have my selection any questions about that the edge controls were left it zero what what's the impact of using those fine edge I don't know what they call edge just throw these things here this thing called refine edges, not on ly designed for doing hair it's designed to refine any kind of selection. And so there are some other features in here that are useful on here, one of which is called radius. Radius would paint around your image using a particular size brush. Whatever radius you put in that's. Useful if you have something that's consistently fuzzy, like a dog with short hair, a little short haired dog it's the same fuzziness all the way around. S o that instead of painting around the edge like I was doing, I could have just brought up radius until the edge of the dog's hair looked for. Look all right, so that's that could be useful. The thing called smart radius is if you have a combination of harry stuff and crisp edged. So if you had that same dog but he had a caller on on the color made it so that the part where the caller is was not fuzzy. It all turned on. Smart radius would try to deal with that, but there's a difference, fuzziness and non fuzziness. Then down here, the choice called adjust edge not as useful when doing hair you could use shift edge and shift edge is literal, it means shrink or expand. The shape we have, so if you wanted to give a pet a haircut, just trim there a little bit. You could shift the edge to pull it in, but most of these here are used with normal selections that don't involve hair, uh, smooth would make it so if you had a, uh an edge that was not smooth and you brought up smooth, it would start rounding off here. I'll have to get it really high. Um, I'd have to apply it about four, five times. It would start making these two instead of having a sharp edge there they would be curved. Heather just softens the edge, but we don't usually need that with hair if we already had a selection that was soft or feathered and we went in there so it was already soft contrast would make it less soft and then shift edge just pushes the edge out or in. Sometimes they're useful, but not as often with here. Sure.

Class Description

Photographs are among our most treasured possessions, but not every photo was shot under optimal conditions or preserved in an ideal way – making photo restoration a big business opportunity for skilled photographers and retouchers.

If you want to answer every, “can you fix it?” with a resounding “yes,” Adobe® Photoshop® Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore is the class for you. 

You’ll learn:

  • Advanced color correction and enhancement techniques
  • Retouching and scratch removal strategies
  • Detail enhancements
  • Folds, scratch, mildew, ink and water stain repairs
  • Reconstruction of missing pieces such as torn corners and rips
  • How to make fix faded images and make skin tones more lifelike
You’ll learn what actions to take, the optimal order to perform them, and which tools are right for the job. Ben will share time-saving tips and offer insights on the corrections that create the biggest impact.

In Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore, you’ll develop a whole arsenal of retouching and restoration techniques that will breathe life back into damaged and aging photographs. 

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 


a Creativelive Student

Wow! That is pretty much what I thought about the course. It was my first live studio experience and it was fantastic! Ben is a great instructor because he presents the information in a straight forward manner that is understandable, detailed, and concise all at the same time. I have a couple of his other classes and the handbooks his wife creates are exemplary and make going back and reviewing the rebroadcast so much easier. Also, I want to give a shout off to the Creative Live team...Kudos! They are an excellent host...they are professional and fun at the same time! The content they produce has helped me tremendously to expand my knowledge and skills and mostly importantly they are affordable!

Wilson Blackwell

Super class! Ben is the best at explaining Photoshop and how to make full use of it. This class included techniques I've never seen or heard explained in other photo restoration classes I've taken. And the accompanying book, while I've only glimpsed through it so far, is expansive, well laid out, attractive, and looks to cover everything Ben went over in the class - it's a valuable resource as well (thank you, Karen Willmore, for all the effort you put in to produce a worthy complement to what Ben teaches.)


Ben is one of my favorite instructors on CreativeLive. (That's saying a LOT because they are all so good!). Besides being very thorough and understandable, Ben sets himself apart with two things. 1. He thoroughly demonstrates a process, then does a recap of all the steps he just took. That makes it much easier to remember. 2. His wife takes notes during the broadcast and creates a handbook which is available to download when you purchase the course. Some people find it easier to learn by reading than by re-watching the video. I like it because I can find information by using a word search. I feel so fortunate that I was able to sit in the audience for this class. It was great to be able to talk directly to the instructor and interact with the other students.