How to Make a White Background in Photoshop – Complete Process


In this video, I’m going to show you how to
make white backgrounds in Photoshop. Hi, welcome back to the
Photoshop training channel. I’m Jesus Ramirez. In this video, I’m going to show you how to
create white backgrounds in Photoshop. You’re going to learn a bunch of cool tips
and tricks. We’re going to start by learning how to remove
a foreground from a background. And I’m going to show you how the Select and
Mask work space works and how to better utilize it so that you get the best results. I’m also going to show you how to create Light
Wraps in Photoshop to create better composites and just like all my other tutorials, there’s going to be a bunch of
hidden gems so stick around to the end. Okay. Let’s get started. We’re going to work with this image and our
goal is to make a white background. So, that’s the first thing that I’ll do. I’ll go into the new adjustment layer icon
and select solid color. Then, I’ll select white, press OK. You don’t need to do this but I’m going to
delete the Layer Mask. I just want things to look a little cleaner
and I’ll rename this layer to background. We always want to work non destructively so
I’m just going to duplicate this original layer by pressing Ctrl J, Command J on the
Mac, and I’m going to drag it up above the background that we just created. So, we’re just going to work with this original
copy. In this original layer, I’ll just disable
it and keep it there in case we need it again later. I’ll select the original copy and now I’m
going to make a selection so, that I can extract the foreground, which is the model from the
background. One of the best ways of doing that is with
the quick selection tool. If you’re on Photoshop CS6 and older, you
can just click-and-drag around your model to make a selection. But, if you’re in Photoshop CC, Photoshop
CC 2018 or newer, you can go into the Select Subject button which will use Adobe Sense,
Adobe’s artificial intelligence to make a selection around the main subject of the image. I’m going to press OK to discard the current
selection. And Photoshop will analyze the image and it
will make a really good selection around my model. Now, this selection is not perfect but it’s
a great starting point. I can click-and-drag and add to the selection. As you can see, some of these areas were not
selected and that’s okay. I’m just going to’ click-and-drag and just
make sure that everything that
needs to be selected is selected. If you accidentally selected something that
shouldn’t be selected like I just did here. You can hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click-and-drag
to subtract from the selection. I’m not going to spend too much time fine
tuning the selection but I would recommend that in your image, you spend some time making
sure that you have a good one. One trick that you can do is press the Q key
on the keyboard to enter the Quick Mask mode and you can see what the mask is selecting. Anything that is in red will not be selected. So, for example, this area here, you can see
that it’s cutting into his arm, I’ll zoom in. I can select our Brush Tool and paint with
white. Make sure that white is your foreground color
and just paint in those pixels. So, I’m painting in the pixels here and I’m
holding Shift as I click. So, if you click and hold Shift, it’ll make
a straight line from the point that you clicked on to the second point that you clicked on. I’m going to undo that because I don’t want
to actually have that line there. But anyway, spend some time fine tuning your
selection. When you’re done with your selection, you
can press Q again, the selection will come back. I’m going to double click on the hand tool. Now we’re going to use the
Select and Mask works pace. So, I’m going to select the quick selection
tool again and go into Select and Mask. If I click Select and Mask, it’ll bring up
the Select and Mask workspace where we can adjust the selection. I’m going to cancel it for now. If you’re in Photoshop CS6 or older, you do
not have access to the Select and Mask workspace. But you have the Refine Mask dialog box. Let me show you what that looks like. If you go into Select, hold Shift, and click
on Select and Mask, it brings up the old refine edge or refine mask dialog box. So, this is a way for you to use the old version
of this tool if you prefer it. But if you’re in an older version, of course
you don’t have access to the new ones so you’re stuck with this one. But everything that we’re going to work with
is in this Adjust Edge area in this tool here where we can actually paint on the selection. So, even though it looks different, the tools
that I’m about to show you are actually in this dialog box as well. And by the way, let me know in the comments
if you prefer the old dialog box or the new workspace. Also, if you like this trick, click on that
like button now. But anyway, with that selection active once
again, I’m going to go into the
Select and Mask workspace. It’s going to bring that up and I can adjust
my selection. For view, I have on white which really doesn’t
matter because if I select Onion Skinning it still looks the same way because the background
is also white, the white that we’re using. But I’ll just leave it on white since that’s
what we really want anyway. So, on white, and what I can do in this dialog
box is control how the edge of the mask looks. So I can press Z to get the zoom tool and
I can click to zoom in and what I want to do is smooth the selection so I have a smooth
edge. See how jagged the selection looks in some
areas? I can just click-and-drag this to the right
to smooth it. I can also add some Contrast to make the darker
pixels darker and the brighter pixels brighter which makes a sharper edge. If I go into the Black and White view, you
can see what I mean by bright and dark pixels. So, you can see that there. See that how we have some bright pixels here
and some darker ones there? If I increase the Contrast, it makes some
darker some lighter, and it creates a sharper edge. This is what’s creating our mask. But anyway, I want to go back to on white. I’m not worried about the hair for now. So we’re going to work with that later. I’m just looking at the sharper edges of the
image. And by the way, I’m holding the Spacebar to
pan across the image. I’m going to right click and select “fit on
screen”. I’m not going to work on the hair now because
if I start making adjustments to the hair, it’s going to apply these global refinements. So, for example, if I come in here and select
the refine edge tool to refine the hair, and I’ll explain how that works in a moment, notice
that it doesn’t really do a good job because Photoshop is also applying these settings
and I don’t want that. So, I’m going to undo that by pressing Ctrl
Alt Z. Command option Z on the Mac. So I’m just going to press OK and that updates
the selection. And by the way, you might be asking yourself
why it did not create a Layer Mask and that’s because in the Select and Mask workspace,
I have output to selection. So, if I select output to Layer Mask, it’ll
create a Layer Mask. So that’s what it’ll do next time I press
OK. But anyway, notice what happens now
with this tool. The refine edge. Compare it to the previous example. See how much better of a job it’s doing of
extracting the hair? That’s because I don’t have any of these global
refinements applied. Now, I want to show you what this is doing
behind the scenes, that way you understand and you can better adjust your image. So I’m going to press Ctrl Alt Z, Command
option Z on the Mac, to undo. What is this tool doing? If I click on Show Edges, nothing shows up. Right? But if I increase the radius of the edge,
you can see now that this is the edge where the refinement occurs. Where Photoshop looks for hair and things
like that to make an extraction. So, if I increase the edge, it’s going to
look for more areas. If I click Smart Radius, notice how now I
don’t have an edge that is a 29 pixel width. Some areas are thinner. Other areas are thicker. So, that’s what the Smart Radius does. It just changes the width on different areas
depending on the content that you have. In this case, I don’t want that. I don’t want the Smart Radius and I want to
be able to paint my own edge so I’m just going to bring the edge reduction down to zero. Actually, just for the purposes of demonstration,
I’m just going to keep it here at one pixel. So that we can barely see it. So with the refine edge tool, what I’m really
doing is painting an edge. See how I just painted that edge there? That’s what this tool does. It helps you redefine the edge detection area. So I’m going to uncheck Show Edge and notice
what it did there. It extracted the hair so I’m going to continue
painting on those areas to extract the hair. If I click on Show Edge, you can see what
I did. All I did is just paint on these areas and
that’s where Photoshop looks to make that adjustment. I’m going to bring that radius back to zero
because I do not want any adjustments down here. Again, just for the purposes of demonstration,
let me show you what happens when I increase the radius and uncheck Show Edge. See how it starts damaging the edges here
in the shirt? I don’t want any of that so I’m just going
to bring this back down to zero and I just want Photoshop to focus on the areas that
I painted on. So the hair up there. Anyway, so now that I’ve extracted the hair,
now I can fine tune it with the regular brush tool. So with this brush, I add, so I can add some
of the pixels that it hit here in the highlights of the hair and I can subtract by clicking
on this button and painting on these areas that have some darker pixels. Of course, you can spend a lot more time fine
tuning your mask but in this case, this is going to be good enough. So that’s all I really need. In some cases, you may need to make some more
global adjustments such as maybe Shifting the edge just a little bit more. Maybe adding a little bit more contrast or
something like that. This time, I’m outputting to a Layer Mask
so when I press OK, I get a Layer Mask. See? I’ve extracted the background. I’ll enable the layer again and you can always
come in, select the brush tool, select white as your foreground color and paint over the
details that you lost to bring them back and you can make black your foreground color and
paint away these pixels next to his hair. Then select the burn tool which darkens pixels. So you can paint with burn tools on the mask
to hide pixels that are already very dark so they become invisible. See how the Layer Mask has this white focus? This white outline? I’m painting on the Layer Mask with these
tools. Again, you can always come in here and just
fine tune it until you’re happy. I’m not going to’ spend too much time fine
tuning in this video but of course do it in your own image. I’m going to double click on the hand tool
and this is looking pretty good. What I’m going to’ do now is work on something
called a Light Wrap. If you’re familiar with video compositing,
then you’re probably familiar with Light Wraps. But if you’re not, then I do have a tutorial
where I go into detail about what light wraps are, how they work, and I’ll place a link
to that video down below the description. But, simply explained, they’re just layers
that you create to simulate light hitting a subject on a scene. So you can create them in many different ways. The way that I’m going to create them in this
tutorial is by double clicking on the side of the layer and clicking on inner shadow. I know this is a shadow but we’re not going
to create a shadow. Even though the label says shadow glow or
whatever, it doesn’t really matter. You can use it for whatever you want. So instead of a shadow, I’m going to use it
for a glow. So I’m going to click-and-drag. You see how I’m clicking and dragging and
you can see that shadow? Well I’m going to use that as a glow. If this were really a studio with a white
background, he would have a lot more light bouncing off of him. A lot of white light so I’m trying to simulate
that with this effect. So with this inner shadow selected, I’m going
to change the color to white, the blending mode to Overlay, notice how I now have this
bright highlight behind him and I can increase the opacity. I’m going to increase it to 100 percent so
we can better see it and then we’ll reduce it. I’m going to increase the size and I can just
click-and-drag and try to figure out where the light would really be coming from. So clearly the right side of his face is brighter
so the light’s coming from the right so I’ll try to duplicate that with this light wrap. Then I can just decrease the opacity and that
looks pretty good. I’m going to click on this plus icon to get
a second light wrap. Now if you don’t have Photoshop CC, you will
not be able to duplicate this shadow but watch what I do in the next step and then you’ll
get an idea of how to duplicate it. But anyway, with Photoshop CC, you can just
click-and-drag this second shadow but make sure that you uncheck global light so then I can just move this one
independently from the first shadow. So, I’m just trying to create just a brighter
shadow like right on top above his shoulders. Like right here and right here, and I’ll probably
set the angle to 90 just to make sure that the light is coming from right above. And I can reduce the passage to zero and just
increase it ever so slightly just to get a little bit more of a highlight on top. Then I’ll press OK. If I right click on the FX icon and select
create layers, those layer styles now become layers. These layers are clipped to the original copy. That’s what this down pointing arrow is indicating
that the visibility of this layer is Ctrlling the visibility of the clip layers above. If I select the move tool, I can click-and-drag
and move them around anywhere I want. So, I’m going to undo that because I was happy
with the placement. Now earlier I said that if you were in Photoshop
CS6, there was an alternative to duplicating the inner shadow. Well this is it. Convert your layer style into a layer and
then press Ctrl J, Command J, to duplicate and you’ll have another copy of that highlight
and you can move it around anywhere that you like. Now the reason that I converted them into
layers is so that I could add Layer Masks to both these layers and paint them with black
in areas where I don’t want to apply the highlight. So, notice how much the highlight is affecting
his ear, his jaw, and his neck. I really don’t want that. So I’m just going to select the brush tool,
increase the size of my brush with the right bracket key on the keyboard, and paint with
black to hide the highlight in those areas. And you can see the result there and this
second highlight’s okay so I’ll just leave it there and that’s all you really need to
do. So that’s before and after the light wrap. What I’ll do now is add a shadow. If you’ll remember, the original image had
a shadow. Now you can paint your own shadows from scratch
but if you can, try to use the shadow from the original photo because it’ll look more
realistic and that’s what I’ll do. I’ll select the original layer, press Ctrl
J, Command J on the Mac, drag it up, and I’ll just call this layer shadow. I like to name my layers so that I know that
what they Ctrl. And to that point, I’ll also rename these
layers light wrap one and light wrap two. And this is the original copy. We know what that is. Okay so now we’re going to turn this into
a shadow. First I’m going to remove the color. So you can press Ctrl Shift U to de saturate
a layer then I’m going to go into image adjustment levels and drag the white point to the left
to brighten up the image and I’m only looking at the shadow. That’s what I’m really concerned about. So, I’m just making adjustments so that I
mainly have the shadow. So these adjustments seem to work. I’ll press OK. Then I’ll go into Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur,
and I’ll blur it as much as I need to so that I don’t see the detail in the wall. Maybe about 10 pixels. Then press OK. Hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and click on
the Layer Mask icon to create a black Layer Mask that hides everything in the layer. I’ll enable all my layers and by the way,
if you click on an eye icon and drag down, you can disable them or enable them. So, I’m enabling all my layers again. I’ll enable the background as well and what
I’ll do now is paint with white on this shadow layer to reveal the shadow. Now it’s not going to be perfect and that’s
okay. We’re going to fix it. I’m going to increase the size of my brush
by tapping on the right bracket key on the keyboard and I’m just painting my shadow in
like so. Then I’m going to click on the Move tool and
use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move it to the right and move it down just a little
bit so that we don’t see those edges. If there’s areas like in his ear here where
we have edges, I can just click on the smudge tool, make sure that sample all layers is
unchecked and then just smudge those layers in. But make sure that you smudge them on the
actual layers. So, make sure that the focus, this white outline,
is on the layer thumbnail and not on the Layer Mask. So just smudge those pixels in like so in
all these different areas. Then I can reduce the opacity of that shadow
so keep it very light maybe something like that. So that’s before and after. I’ll finalize this effect by clicking on top
of the light wrap, creating a new layer, clip it to the layers below so that they only affect
the original copy. You can do so by pressing Ctrl Alt G, Command
Option G in the Mac, and I’ll call this layer Dodge and Burn. And I’m going to hold Shift, then press the
backspace key. That’s the delete key on the Mac and select
50 percent gray from the contents and press OK. That creates a 50 percent gray layer. Then I’m going to change the blending mode
to soft light and I’m going to use the dodge and burn tools to emphasize the highlights
in the image and also the shadows. So I’ll select the dodge tool first and I
can just think of where I would see highlights more prominently if this were a brighter room. So maybe in these areas here and of course
I’m exaggerating the affect a bit so that it’s noticeable for the tutorial. I’m also going fairly quickly here. You want to take your time when you’re doing
this and I’m only working on the shirt by the way. And I know it might not be obvious now, but
when I click on the eye icon, you’ll see how this is affecting the layer. Then I can select the burn tool and now I
can work on the shadows, make some shadows deeper to create more contrast between shadows
and highlights and shape the shirt a bit better. You’ll notice that I’m not really working
on his face. I like to have my dodge and burn layers in
separate layers so, that I can control each individual element. So, this layer controls the shirt. I would change the blending mode back to normal
so that you can see what I really did. Just make some areas brighter, other areas
darker, and by the way, you could also use the overlay Blending Mode. It gives you a slightly different result. So check it out. You can also reduce the opacity and that’s
the before and after. Then I’ll create a new layer and clip it to
the layers below by pressing Ctrl Alt G, Command Option G on the Mac, and also fill it with
50 percent gray. So Shift and Backspace, select 50 percent
gray, and press OK. And I’ll also call this layer dodge and burn. I’ll also add the word face to it so that
I know it’s Ctrlling the face, change the blending mode to soft light. Then with the burn tool selected, you can
increase the shadows on his face, his eyebrows, his hair, and anywhere that you like. Then select the dodge tool and you can work
in the highlights of his face. And again, spend more time on your image. For this tutorial, I’m not going to spend
too much time with this step. That’s before and after. And I can bring down the opacity
just to fine tune it. With this dodge and burn layer selected, I’m
going to’ hold Shift and click in the background to select all the layers in between. Then I can press Ctrl G, Command G on the
Mac, to put that into a group. I’ll call the group white background and this
is my result. Of course, in your image, you’re going to
have to spend a little more time fine tuning things. There might be a few differences but if you
follow the steps, it should get you most of the way there. And by the way, since this video was all about
compositing, I recommend watching my last video on how to color match using curves. It’s a 90 second tutorial so you can watch
it right after this. I’ll place a link right below in the description. If you decide to create anything using this
tutorial or any other of my tutorials, don’t forget to share it on Instagram with the hashtag
#ptcvids. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and to click
on that notification button. Thank you so much for watching and I will
talk to you again at the next tutorial.

27 Replies to “How to Make a White Background in Photoshop – Complete Process”

  1. Pls how can i download all this editing selection on photoshop using my phone to edit. Kindly reply, love your video. Needs an explanation pls!!!

  2. so when you finetune your selection using the white color to return some of the original pixels, how do you do the reverse of that? i tried black, but it's not able to do that in reverse. any solutions anyone?

  3. Video great for someone who is familiar with photoshop. For someone like myself who is completely new to this, its toooo much detail and sidebar. Do you have any videos for beginners that are straight to the point? Literally, a step by step, no extra???

  4. when background and foreground is different and distinct color and also the quality of the image is high it's easy to change the background color. But M searching for Photoshop tutorial which the background and foreground color should be similar and edit the background without destruction of foreground.
    By taking little bit low quality image and similar foreground background color and edit the same way it doesn't work by this step.

  5. Need a little help guys.. just like the vid about refining and toning edges… After select the subject and press Q. I cant shade in toning edges and i never change the setting of the brush.. i wonder. 🙁

  6. Hi JR. How do you save the final copy once the background is white? I accept ok but it reverts back to the "select mask" Thanks!

  7. Sir what version of photoshop is this?thank you.i'd prefer that select ang mask than refine edge coz it becomes more realistic.

  8. OMG I have watched so many photoshop tutorials and just get frustrated and quit. This tutorial is on point! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  9. You are soooooooo thorough! I freaking love it! Please don't stop teaching, you are great at it and your detail to educate is amazing! I watched this video and I was mind blown in a good way. You are amazing!

  10. The problem with Photoshop 2019 is the Properties does not work properly. Select and Mask also does not work. When will this be rectified.

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