How to Add Backgrounds to Digital Photo Files

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Adding backgrounds to digital photo files is something you can do to really open up the way an image looks and feels. Add backgrounds to digital photo files with help from an art director in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Digital Pictures & Graphics
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Michael Mondragon from Nerdy Connections. Today, we're going to add a background to a digital photo. And what we're going to do is we're actually going to take the photo, we're going to knock out some of the background and we're going to replace it with a gradient or another picture file. So the channels are actually a selection that help block out or mask a certain section of a photo. So what we're going to do is we're actually going to go to our layers here and we're going to make a new layer. And this is going to be the layer that we put our gradient on. Now I'm going to go the gradient tool, I'm going to click up here on the gradient and we select one gradient. You can mix your own as well. Just for simplicity we're going to take this red and green gradient. We're going to push OK. And now I'm going to click and drag and I'm going to go across the photo now. If I were to toggle this on and off, this would be over the original. I'm going to go back and select the background layer and what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to color range, and I'm going to click on the white part of the layer. Now we're going to try and get as much as of the white layer. Now some of the part right here is actually going to be on here but that's OK. I'm going to go back and fix that real quick. But I'm going to make this, and this is going to give me my selection. I'm going to command shift I to invert that selection. And now I'm going to go to my channels and I'm going to make a new channel. And you click right here, and I'm going to fill this with white. So this is option delete, and it's going to give us a white selection. Now you see the inside of it still has the rings. Now we don't want that part of it, we actually just want the black and the white. So whatever is white is actually going to, what is going to be revealed. But the black is actually going to be knocked out. Now this is was, if I was to keep this the same, this black part would actually wash out. So we're going to take our paint brush here and we're actually going to paint over that right there and anywhere where it's inside the rings. Going to give that a quick edit. And as we go across, and this should be pretty quick. And the selection that we want in the end, will be like this. So now we have the white and the black. We're going to push command and we're going to click the thumbnail and that's going to give us the marching ants right there. Going to hide that. Now we're going to go to the layer one, I'm going to name that gradient. We're going to toggle that on and we're going to push the mask tool. Now you notice that it's actually the reverse of what we want. So we're going to click on the mask and we're going to push command I. And the great thing about this mask is that I can actually click on and if you push shift, and click on the mask, it's actually going to see a non-destructive mask there. So I can actually trash this mask, but I don't want to do that. And this actually makes it so you can put a picture or a gradient or anything else over a photo and you could actually knock it out very quickly. So that's how you add a background to photo file. It can be pretty simple and you can get really elaborate with it. I'm Michael Mondragon from Nerdy Connection. You can look me up at And we'll see you next time.


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