Back Modifications (1)
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The Background

By glazzaro  
Hi All

Well I had some time on my hands this weekend so I decided to play with some of my shots and change the backgrounds. In part because I had did some mods and folks asked me how I did it, so I came up with this shot and below is the explanation on how I did it.

1. Opened 2 images, the bird and one of just a sky. Arrange photo windows side by side.
2. Selected all of the background of the bird photo with my magic wand keeping it as tight as possible against the birds outline.
3. With background selected and still having the magic wand in hand I slid the outline mask over to the sky photo. Now the sky takes the shape of what I selected in the previous photo. I simply do a copy, switch back to the bird photo an do a past.
4. Use the blending tool on the layers palette until everything looks seamless. Merge then do your normal editing process for desired end result.


Tags: Birds Close-up and macro Digitally manipulated Nuthatch Wildlife and nature

Voters: skewey, martinlmr, shona and 114 more

Highly Commended Photos are given by the team to photos that were good but not quite an editors' choice award. Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

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skewey 16 31 England
2 Feb 2009 7:57PM
Great composition Greg.
motorsportpictures 13 289 23 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2009 8:00PM
Nicely done.
jayjay52 13 2 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2009 8:05PM
Well done and very helpful.
C_Daniels 17 399 10 England
2 Feb 2009 8:06PM
Looks great...

I may have made the dark corner to the top right the same as the rest of the sky with the clone tool...?
DaveHobbo 16 10 England
2 Feb 2009 8:09PM
What a beautiful image.

Dave H
SueTurner 17 81 3 England
2 Feb 2009 8:10PM
really good explanation and a bright colourful image as well now
User_Removed 13 694 3 Scotland
2 Feb 2009 8:14PM
I'll give you a vote as I like the composition, colours and background choice. However it stands out as being a layered picture because the transition between the birds outline and background is too sharp in places. The lassoo tool is good for a rough cutout but you need to be editing at the pixel level to remove data from say between ends of feathers. This results in a subtle blend between both pictures which is more akin to real life.

Your D3 (lucky sod !) produces wonderfull detail so you have the pixels and resolution to start with. Probably worth looking at the original and getting a feel for how nature takes care of the edges of things and trying to replicate the effect. It is a slow process but should be well worth the effort.

glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
2 Feb 2009 8:16PM

Thank you, I did not even notice that, I was just playing around for the purpose of doing a quick guide if you will and did not pay close enough attention to my work. Agree cloning tool could take care of that or even if I were to do it again select another section of the sky to merge in.

jaktis 18 84 Sweden
2 Feb 2009 8:24PM
A great explanation and a rather good image with strong colours

JouŠo 18 56 Finland
2 Feb 2009 8:33PM
BRILLIANT SHOT, Sir Greg! One of my favs of your recent uploads...Love that blue bg........ Haven´t got the glue, what you have done in PS though Sad

glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
2 Feb 2009 8:37PM

I was not really looking for votes, as I said in my explanation several folks have asked me how I did this so I tried to do a quick explanation with a photo to go with it, just trying to be helpful. I would not replace a background on a wildlife photo as a rule, this is more designed to be done with landscapes, but since most of my photos are birds it was just as easy to use this as an example. I agree with your assessment. Thank you.

shelldud 13 15 England
2 Feb 2009 8:40PM
great ps work lovely nuthatch shot.
have you tried making your selection in the chanel palette
ringyneck 15 315 18 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2009 8:44PM
Nice one....great work......I am still in the practice zone.

Scaramanga 14 60 6 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2009 8:53PM
Really beautiful image, love the colours.
cassiecat 14 39 46 England
2 Feb 2009 9:04PM
think it works well.lesley
Buffalo_Tom Plus
16 2.3k 29 Wales
2 Feb 2009 9:11PM
Beautiful image against that blue backdrop.Superb Greg.
TyChee 17 275 1 United States
2 Feb 2009 9:21PM
This looks amazing! Excellent work.
BERTRAM 14 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2009 9:31PM
Excellent work.
sillygirl 14 9 Sweden
2 Feb 2009 10:00PM
Thanks for sharing, its always nice to read about how you guys are doing/working on your fab shots Grin
Glostopcat 16 255 2 England
2 Feb 2009 10:54PM
Excellent work Greg, just what we've come to expect from a man of your calibre
Ayelet_A 14 11 3 Israel
2 Feb 2009 11:15PM
Might not be the smoothest transition but each picture works brilliantly on it's own so a combination of the two can't fail for sure.
I quite like it, It gives a dramatic sense to the image. Fantastic colours and details, nice work.

glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
3 Feb 2009 12:27AM
Keith (Jayman) if I could give an award for a mod you would definitely get it, I think the mod is fantastic, wish I would have thought of that myself! Wink Thank you for the mod an expanding on how changes can be made easily to a shot. Also that is such a handsome man you selected for the mod!!!!

Aurora 17 3 England
3 Feb 2009 12:50AM
The technique works perfectly on this image. Thanks for the info.
GillyB 17 317 8 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2009 12:54AM
Excellent work Greg, well done!

whiteswan01 14 13 England
3 Feb 2009 6:41AM
excellent i would of toned down the sky a tad as it takes the eye away from the beautiful bird so excellent job
johnjrp 18 432 5 Australia
3 Feb 2009 7:31AM
Lovelly processing Greg and even better capture. You can't see the blended bg join at all. John
wyatturp 16 2 England
3 Feb 2009 8:21AM
Well done that manSmile
paulcr 17 1.5k 9 Ireland
3 Feb 2009 10:05AM
Pretty seamless greg, didn't know you could do it that way.

User_Removed 19 39 6 Scotland
3 Feb 2009 11:48AM
How it should be done , perfection. Congrats on a well deserved award
Eviscera 16 1.1k 149 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2009 1:32PM
good tecnique , well done for sharing it

PLCimagery 16 78 1 England
3 Feb 2009 2:27PM
Lovely result Greg
NEWMANP 14 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2009 3:02PM
It matters not how you got there , the result is fabulous
FeatherFriend 14 38 217 England
3 Feb 2009 4:55PM
Excellent work Greg and congrats on the award....have read all the comments and can't see whether you confirmed you used PS to do to stage 3 in your write up and my computer blew up Wink....couldn't slide the BG onto a sky whilst the magic wand was selected...had to use the move tool....that worked but then couldn't find a 'blend' tool as you mentioned....anyway that's enough of that, will keep the mod too.
G73photography 16 417 15 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2009 7:48PM
good bit of ps work, i think the sky layer could have done with a little bit of blur just to keep the eyes on the bird and to stop it getting sharper than the tree, also maybe to get rid of the dark corner as it detracts a little, G
glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
4 Feb 2009 12:22AM
I did this photo as a demonstration, please understand that I do not replace backgrounds on my wildlife shots. This demonstration was simply to give a quick show how to do the process down and dirty. Saying that some said they could not repeat the process so I am clarifying a bit more.

I use Adobe CS 3, here is what I do in a bit more detail.

1. Place two photos side by side.
2. Using the magic wand select all of the background to be replaced. Once selected place the mouse cursor in the middle of the selected area, press the right mouse button down and hold in place, drag to the adjacent photo, then release the mouse button. The selection outline will now be placed on the photo, move into position of what you want to use. Then just go to the menu, select edit, then copy.
3. Click back on the original photo, go to the menu, select edit, then paste.
4. Now from the menu select Layer, Layer Style, Blending Options. You will see the blending slide bars at the bottom of the popup menu. Practice sliding each of the 4 triangles until you get a feel for how the blending works.

glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
4 Feb 2009 12:43AM
Correction to above instructions:

Instead of holding right mouse button down should read "Hold Left Mouse Button Down"

User_Removed 17 825 Lithuania
4 Feb 2009 6:47AM
..wo!... nice work birdman!
A_Harrison 17 261 Canada
4 Feb 2009 9:52AM
works for me

trissie 16 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2009 12:04PM
A brilliant capture Greg.

Pegon 17 78 1 England
4 Feb 2009 3:09PM
Excellent work Greg, it looks great.
bliba Plus
16 1 2 Austria
4 Feb 2009 5:05PM
norton 18 2 6 Jersey
4 Feb 2009 6:51PM
Superb image Greg,nice work.................

brownsilent 15 7 2 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2009 9:25AM

Quote:Instead of holding right mouse button down should read "Hold Left Mouse Button Down"

Ohhhhhhh well, I thought this is a female disease! Wink

Great work, thanks for the instructions, I'll try this myself someday,
glazzaro 17 70 23 United States
5 Feb 2009 12:38PM

Thank you for the award, I really appreciate it. Have a great weekend!

Dotrob 16 Wales
5 Feb 2009 8:25PM
Great work.
TerryMcK 13 72 2 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2009 10:58PM
A clever re-working - looks striking.
evelen 17 5 England
8 Feb 2009 5:59PM
stunning capture.
cameragirl 17 43 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2009 6:47PM
Superb work there Greg! Fab image!
3 Sep 2010 4:58PM

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