Here we have Lesson #2 for all my FB Fans, and those of you who just happen to stop by! Join my FB Page to be the first to know when new lessons hit my Blog!! This lesson celebrates my 1500 Fan mark!
Okay…so for Lesson #2, we’re going to learn how to FADE OUT A BACKGROUND.
Here’s my image after it has gone through my post processing. So I’ve already lightened and softened the skin and removed any blemishes. I’m not worried about fixing up the holes in the background blanket area, because they aren’t going to show anyway once I’m done.
First thing I do is make a Duplicate Layer of my image, so that I’m working on a new Layer. I then take my Eyedropper Tool, and I click on a lighter area of the blanket (toward the front of the image), to grab the color. I want to grab a lighter area, rather than a darker area…because lighter always works best. It takes me a couple clicks to find just the right color. So now, my Foreground color is the color of the area that I last clicked on with my Eyedropper Tool. I then change to the Brush Tool, and make sure the opacity is at 100% with a real soft edge. Then, I brush along the very top of the image to see if it’s really the color I want. Hmmm…yup! I decide that I like it! Here’s how it looks now.
I then continue to Brush, still at 100%, down and up against the edge of the baby’s skin and hair, being careful to leave blanket area around the baby’s bottom and lower part of it’s head. Here’s what I have so far:
Now, I take my Brush down to 50%, and I brush over ALL of the remaining blanket. Here’s what it looks like. Can you see how the blanket is no longer clearly in focus? It’s only because I just brushed over it with 50% color. I didn’t use any blur on it or anything like that.
With my Brush still at 50%, I brush over the part of the blanket that is meeting up with the solid background, to create a nice ‘fading’ between the two. I have to brush a couple times more as I get closer to the solid background so that the fade is very, very gradual. See?…
Now it’s time to erase back over the baby, any color that I may have brushed onto it. To do that, we need to be able to see the edges of the baby very clearly. So, I change the top Layer’s Opacity to Multiply. You can now see that the picture looks very dark! But, you can clearly see the edges of the baby, which is what we want. Here’s what it looks like now:
Now it’s time to start erasing. This can take some time…but as you do it more and more, you will become more skilled at it…and it won’t take so long. I can do it in just a few minutes, although the hair line can take a bit longer! I start with my Eraser Tool at 100% opacity, with my edge at about 90% hardness. Here’s what it looks like as I start erasing. You can see the bottom layer is now showing through!
Soon, I’ve got all my area erased that I need done. As a note: I’ve toggled the Layer’s Blending Mode between Normal and Multiply when doing the edges of the hair. It can be tricky when you have this many ‘loose ends.’ It’s much easier to do this with a hat on your tiny subject, as your edges will be much easier to follow. On hats and such, I normally have my eraser’s edge at 50% (instead of 90%), because hats are normally pretty fuzzy on the edges. I’ve also been toggling my Eraser Tool between 100% and 50% on the very edges of the hair to get it just right. Hair can definitely take some practice. If you’re new at this, you may want to start with having a hat on your baby! It will be a lot less frustrating for you until you really get the hang of doing hair! End note. Anyway…this is how my picture looks now:
So, all I have to do now is to change the Blending Mode of my Top Layer that I’ve been working on to Normal…and Whala! I’ve got a beautiful, faded background!! Now I can flatten my image, and it’s a sure sell to a happy parent!!
Hope you enjoyed this 2nd Lesson in a series of Free Lesson’s for Photographers!! Please be sure to stop by my FB Page http://www.facebook.com/laurielphotography and leave me a note if you enjoyed the lesson!