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Photoshop Elements tutorial Changing the background of an image

When you've taken a portrait and the background lets it down, there's only one thing to do and that's remove it. This tutorial will show you just how easy it is to remove the background from an image and create a new one.

|  Adobe Elements
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Fit to screen in Photoshop ElementsFirst of all you need to open up the image you want to work on and you do this by going to File>Open (Keyboard shortcut Ctrl O).

Once the image is open, go to View>Fit To Screen as this will make the job of selecting the image easier.

From here go to the layers panel and duplicate the background layer, rename it and hide the original background layer by clicking the eye symbol to the left of the layers.

Select the Quick Selection Tool and depending on the size of your image, increase the brush size which is found towards the top of the screen as this makes it easier to select your background. Now click on the area you want to remove and continue to do this until all the background is selected by a line of 'running ants' and hit Delete. Do make sure that all the areas you want to remove are selected before you do this and pay close attention around the subjects head where shadows can appear.
Layers Panel in Photoshop Elements Quick selection tool in Photoshop Elements

Background removed in Photoshop ElementsNow if you hid the original layer you'll be able to see that the background is transparent and ready for you to add your new background.

Before we add the new background go to Select>Deselect (keyboard shortcut Ctrl D) to remove the shape you created with the Quick Selection Tool then create a new layer. You can do this by going to the Layer Menu>New> Layer or by clicking what looks like a small Post-It note in the corner of the layers tab. At this point, you can name your new layer if that helps you.

Gradient tool in Photoshop ElementsNext, click on the Gradient tool and towards the top of the Elements window you'll find a box that contains various patterns/colours you can use to create your background. All of these colours can be edited (there are two squares of colour at the bottom of the tool panel where you can alter the colours) and which one you pick is entirely up to you. For this example we chose a simple white background and to place it on the image all you have to do is draw a line. If you're using a background with colours that change, how you draw the line will change how the colours appear in the image. For example, drawing a line from top to bottom will have the pattern start at the top and finish towards the bottom (as the image with a pink background demonstrates).
Adding colour to the background in Photoshop Elements

Once you have your chosen colours you'll notice you can't see your original image but don't panic as this is easily rectified. In the layers panel drag your duplicate background layer (the one where we removed the background) above the new layer you created and you'll see the image appears on top of your new background.
Original image
The original image.
Image with changed background
After a new background was added.
Pink background added to an image
Background goes from pink to white.
Landscape photograph added to an image
You can even use photographs as your background!
Model: Chloe Bleackley.

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alianar 11 82 2 England
5 Dec 2009 8:01PM
great help thanks iv always wanted to know how to do that
Cryokid 10
30 Aug 2011 1:47PM
Thanks for the tutorial. But how do you use a new pic as the new background?

Tks again!
slyko 7
24 Mar 2013 8:58PM
But how can I add a new image as a background??
25 Mar 2013 10:44AM
If you open up the image that's going to be your new background in Elements you should be able to just click on the image you've removed the background from and drag it over the top of the image that's going to be your new background.
12 Apr 2013 1:54PM
but i m getting a error message as: "could not complete your request because source and destination documents are the same"
how can it be resolved..plz replySmile

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