This tutorial will show you how to remove the background from an image and replace it with something else

Step 1 - Extract the foreground.

Paste the image above into a new doccument (500px by 466px) with a transparent background.

With the new layer selected go to filters > extract. This is a very useful tool introduced in photoshop 6 to speed the process of separating background and foreground. It will bring up a dialogue box with the following options:

Select a fairly small brush size <15px wide and select smart highlighting. Now trace the edge of the buildings carefully. try to ensure that the smart highlighting is appearing on the boundary between background and foreground.

When you reach an area with more complex boundaries, such as the trees on the right,turn off smart highlighting and use a larger bruh to paint over the whole area. The computer will attempt to work out which bits need to be kept.

After tracing the whole outline, use the fill tool (still in the extract dialogue) to colour the foreground blue, you'll end up with something similar to this:

Click ok to perform the extraction.

Step 2 - Replace the background.

To do this simply create a new layer behind the building layer. Into this insert whatever you want the background to be. in this instance i used a rather cheerful mashed sky.

But use whatever you wish to.

Step 3 - The history brush

You can use the history brush to return any section of an image to the way it looked at any point which uis visible in your history palette. To do this, open the history palette then click the square next to the stage you wish to revert to:

Then paint over the sections you wish to revert using the history brush (y) not to be confused with the art history brush. This will allow you to return any details which were lost when using the extract funtion.





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