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Step 1: Take a Selfie

Take a selfie in front of the green screen. Try to get the light as uniform across the green screen as you can.

Step 2: Get that Picture into Photoshop

Email your selfie to yourself. Open the picture with Photoshop: Photoshop is available on the Lenovos in the main floor classroom (it's open to students!) and on most of the Macs on the main floor and lower level.

Once the picture is open right-click on the Background layer in the Layers window in the bottom right of the screen and choose Layer from Background . . . Click Okay in the box that pops up. (This will change the background layer into a normal layer which will allow us to put another picture behind it later.)

Step 3: Erase the Green Screen

There are several ways to remove the green screen backdrop in Photoshop. Use a combination of methods to fine tune for best results.

The Background Eraser Tool

Click and hold on the eraser tool button and select Background Eraser from the menu that pops up.

Choose Sampling: Once and Limit: Contiguous.

Click on the green screen near yourself in your picture and move the cursor over the edge of your body.

Adjust the Tolerance until you are erasing green screen and not yourself.

Select Color Range

Click the Select menu and pick Color Range . . .

Hold down the Shift key and click and drag your mouse (which looks like an eyedropper) across the green screen, covering all the different shades of green present in the photo.

Adjust the Fuzziness until the preview shows your silhouette clearly against a white background. Click Okay to close the window when you are done.

Click the Select menu and choose Inverse. This selects the opposite of your current selection, which is useful for the next step.

Click the Select menu and choose Refine Edge . . .

Adjust the Radius, Smoothing, and Feathering to get a clear image without green screen. Click Okay to close the window when you are done.

Click the Select menu and choose Inverse again.

Hit Backspace on the keyboard to delete the green screen.

Magic Wand

Click using this tool to select similar colors in a background at the same time. Shift-clicking adds to the selection, and Alt (Option on the Mac)-clicking removes from the selection. Adjust the Tolerance for best results. You can use the Refine Edge tool detailed above to fine tune this selection. Once you have selected the green screen press the backspace key on the keyboard to delete it.

Manual Selection

Use the Lasso tool to manually select areas that you want to delete. This is good for fine tuning. Shift-clicking adds to the selection, and Alt (Option on the Mac)-clicking removes from the selection. You can use the Refine Edge tool detailed above to smooth and adjust your selection. Once you have selected the green screen press the backspace key on the keyboard to delete it.

Click and hold the Lasso tool for more options:

Polygonal Lasso Tool creates straight lines which you join to make a selection.

Magnetic lasso tool attempts to find and follow edges.


Step 4: Add a New Background

Find a picture that you want to use as a backdrop. We have several available to download in this guide, or you can use your own!

Drag and drop the picture over your Photoshop window and press Enter to place it.

The image will be dropped into Photoshop in its own layer, which you can see by looking at the Layers window on the lower right of the screen. Click that new layer and drag it below the layer with your picture in it.

Making sure you have the background image layer selected, click the Edit menu and select Free Transform.

Resize the image to fill the window and move it to the best spot behind your picture. Hint: hold the Shift key as you resize to keep the dimensions intact. Press Enter to finalze your changes.

Step 5: Save Your Picture

Click the File menu and choose Save As . . .

The default Format to save the picture in is Photoshop. This saves your layers so you can go back and make adjustments, but the file is large and you need Photoshop to open it. If you are done editing and you want to share this picture, save it as JPEG file instead.

You're Done!

Download a Background



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Anthony Tardiff