This is the next to last week of our Digital Background blog series, and I could not be more excited. I have been wanting to share these last two posts with you forever because it is finally time for me to start talking about how I edit a digital background.
These posts have been a long time coming. Ever since I opened up my digital background shop, The Educated Shutter, people have been contacting me about how to edit a digital background. This post is not going to show me actually editing (that is for next week) but I wanted to show the tools I use. With all of my composites, I strive for it to look realistic (even when it is a little boy riding a Killer Whale).
I want to say that these tools work for me. Everyone edits differently. I just wanted to share what I use.
What tools do you use to edit a digital background?
1) Phlearn’s Fur Brush
This one is kind of tough. I almost didn’t include it in the list but I use it so much that I knew I had to share. I know. It seems weird, right? Like what could you possible use a fur brush for?!
Simple. I use it for grass.
One of the things that sells a composite when you edit a digital background is how the subject fits into the scene. When my digital background includes a grassed area, it is super easy to use Phlearn’s Fur Brush to create realistic blades of grass that serve as a great cover up when I insert my subject.
The problem is I got the Fur Brush from a paid tutorial of Phlearn’s composite called Baxter. I totally recommend the tutorial. I mean, I wrote a whole review about why should you get it. However, I realize that not everyone will be able to or want to.
Phlearn to the rescue!
They have a great free tutorial called How to add Life, Grass, & Shadows to a Photo. During the tutorial, they show exactly how to create a grass brush yourself. Problem solved!
2) The Blur Gallery
Another thing you have to consider when you are creating a realistic composite is having a correct depth of field. One of my favorite ways of achieving this is using the Blur Gallery in Photoshop. Photoshop has done a pretty good job of providing its users with realistic blurs.
My advice is to play around with the Blur Gallery and see which ones work for your photos. My favorite blur is the tilt-shift blur but it doesn’t always work for every situation.
Once again, Phlearn has a great tutorial that breaks down how each blur works. What would we do without Aaron? Like, seriously?!
3) The Magic Wand Tool
I am a firm believer in the Magic Wand Tool. This is pretty much how I extract all of my subjects. Out of all the other options, I find that the Magic Wand does a great job and is easy to use (in most situations). The Refine Tool is pretty powerful. In my opinion, the Refine Tool is the best option for selecting fly away hair which helps lend a realistic feel to composites.
I know that there are tons of different ways to extract a subject from a photo. I’ve heard that the Pen Tool is the best way but I have found that the Pen Tool is a little difficult to use. I plan on working on that skill in the future because I really want to be able to use it when I edit a digital background.
Here is a great tutorial on using the Magic Wand Tool.
4) The Match Color Adjustment
In the Image > Adjustment drop-down menu a little gem called Match Color lives. It is kind of a cheap way of matching an object’s or a subject’s color to the original background.
This tool will not always work, and it is kind of a quick fix. However, I have found that it works for me often enough. Why would I spend tons of time color matching if this tool can get me there (or halfway there) with just a few clicks? There is no shame in my edit a digital background game. 😀
I hope you enjoyed this list, and make sure to check out some of these tutorials!