006 | Creating a Complex Background

One of my favorite things in art is creating backgrounds. I don’t know why, but most times I enjoy it more than the subject(s). If you’ve been keeping up, you may remember one of the previous articles on creating a background. I used most, if not all, of the same techniques and tools that were explained there. For this column, I created a more complex background for Polaresta’s Tuckborrow as shown here in this video.

For this piece, I’ve already laid out the bulk of what I want. Separating objects like trees from the original background can be tricky and I haven’t practiced this one enough so bare with me. Youtube is a valuable friend, my memory not so much. Using the Levels, the object is to add as much contrast as you can without taking away too much detail. The more “black and white” you can make it, the better your selection will come out when using Color Range. Here, I select the color I don’t want anymore (white). Before adding the layer mask, inverse the selection. If there’s a pretty clear outline, like the mountains, using the Quick Selection Tool should be sufficient.

When the background pieces are cleaned up and positioned where you’d like, start using your Adjustment Layers. As covered in the previous background column, I use Hue/Saturation, Exposure, Brightness/Contrast, and Color Balance to set up the color theme. Don’t be afraid to experiment with brushes to add effects or modify your layer masks. You never know what happy little accidents may happen.

If you have any special requests you would like to see included in The Art Corner, please contact me through Horse Eden (#28845).

Until next time,
Coldwater Meadows

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