Backgrounds can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Most of the time, I will choose 2-3 images to create a background. It really all depends on the finished image you have in mind. For this column, I have uploaded a video showing the process used to make a simple background for Jello’s Кошкa (Kitty).
First, you’ll want to visualize what you want your finished image to look like and grab the stock for it. Next, lay them out how you want. I’m very biased towards night scenes, so that’s what I went with. As you can see in the video, it wasn’t originally a night scene, so that’s where adjustments come into play.
The Quick Selection Tool was used to select the clouds, and I applied a Layer Mask to hide them. I wouldn’t recommend the Quick Selection Tool for close up objects, but it works well enough for the background. A Layer Mask will hide parts of your image you don’t want to show but will not delete that part of the image. Masks are handy little tools.
Next comes the Adjustments. These can be applied directly to the image or through a separate layer. I prefer using Layers and Clipping Masks because I can always go back and change them if I need to. I normally use the same Adjustments: Hue/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast, and Color Balance. Exposure is not always used, but it’s helpful to really darken or brighten an image. Adding a light or heavy blur to the furthest areas of your background will allow more focus on your subject. It’s unnecessary, but it is really your preference and style. Once I’m satisfied with my background and setting, I move on to the main subject(s) and finish out the image.
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Until next time,