Fix backgrounds in Photoshop

Hey everyone! Moovieboy here. Look, it
happens to everyone. No matter how carefully you plan, sooner or later you
will have an actor or model or just a family in front of a backdrop; whether
it’s made out of paper or brick or curtain, that person is going to move
just outside of the frame. And you’re going to follow through and capture the
action, because that’s what you do. But now suddenly you’ve got a photo where
part of the backdrop stops before it makes the whole frame. So have no fear
because I’m going to show you how to get that backdrop back in Photoshop. [Whispering] One, two three.
[Group singing] Moovieboy! Da-da-dah-dah! This is the backdrop that we were using and unfortunately we noticed it
had a large tear on the side. We decided to go through with the
shoot anyway knowing that in Photoshop I could still make it work. So this is the shot I want to focus on:
as you can see we are well outside of the backdrop in several places. Her foot
is sticking out, the fabric has flown gracefully away but his way out of the
shot. So we need to fix this up. Just so you can see, we went from here to here. From here… to here. From here to here. Better one?
Better two? Better one or two? Now we need to show you how we’re going to do that.
So we want to take this image here and we’re going to open it up into photoshop.
Photoshop we go! First thing I’m going to do is I’m going to work on… I’m gonna break this up in a couple ways here because we have our foreground: her and the fabric. And we have the background that’s supposed to be the gray paper. First thing I want to do on
the foreground is I’m going to get to the quick selection tool and we are
going to quickly select. [singing] Select her, select the fabric. Select her, select the fabric.
That’s what we’re gonna do today. Look at this. We have her and we have the
fabric selected. So let’s go down to modify. Let’s expand that by a good 10
pixels there. Just so we don’t have any little bits that may peek out like over
here. Look at that! Meeeh! So I’m going to take the lasso tool, hold
down the alt/option to get for that… And then we’re going to go down here to
create the layer mask and boom! She’s out! And for some reason, so is this so we’re going to just quickly fix that. To make things a little easier here I’m going to repeat this and make this
my background. We’re going to take the layer mask and
we’re going to invert it and look at that! Now we have the backdrop without
her in there. We want to get rid of this whole area here and we want to get rid
of this and we want to fix that tear. and you know while we’re at it, we want
to fix parts of the floor that don’t stick out either. A while back under the fill pop-up
window, you get all kinds of choices: foreground, background, we used to.
Color but this one right here: Content-aware. It’s the idea that
Photoshop will say “Okay, I want to fill this in…” but to be content aware it means it’s
to look at the rest of the image and go, “Oh, you want me to fill in with this kind
of stuff here!” I’ve seen some of the first tutorials
that came out and a couple of the images when they were teasing this new
technology and they would usually be someone laying upon grass and suddenly
you could remove the person from the grass all together and I’m thinking, “Wow
amazing!” So I’m going to hit okay and let’s see what happens. It actually did better than I thought.
It did a lot better than I thought it was going to. [Laughing] Darn it! Because i was going to
show how sometimes this can really backfire. Well let’s see. Let’s see if we can
undo and let’s see what happens when we do this. We go down to fill.
We choose content aware. Aha! And here is an example of what can
go wrong. Now you would think that photoshop would just know that hey, this
part here kind of stops in this region. It doesn’t go up anywhere else so why do
this? And it’s because photoshop is only as smart as what you are telling it.
If it can refer to any other pixels it will look at those as well and say, “Well this
seems to kind of work. How’s this look?” And as you can see that’s totally
incorrect. If we do not have her removed, here’s the issue we walk into. All right, so we want the background to
roughly there. Don’t necessarily need it here. We go down to edit… fill…
content-aware and we’re going to end up probably with some messed up stuff. [Laughing] Well that’s messed up! But as you can see
it will take everything in the image and try and incorporate it. It tries to come up
with some kind of logic as to how to extend it and fill in the blanks. Well it doesn’t really know the
difference between human and backdrops so it treated it all the same and we’ve got
something like more like Dali right now. So this is why the first thing you have
to do — let’s undo this… The first thing you have to do is you
have to paint out the person you want to preserve. The best way of all is to not
only get rid of the foreground that you don’t want caught up in the… to reproduce in your backdrop but get rid of everything you don’t want. So I know this part of
the floor… and maybe a little more here. This also needs to go. So I’m going to
add this to the layer mask. Make sure the layer mask is selected and I’m going to
hit option delete and that will just fill that in with more black.
It’s all still there. Now because it doesn’t have the fabric
to read from; it doesn’t have our dancer to work from. It doesn’t have the floor
because now I’ve told all the floor it can see to only refer to what’s left which
is just gray, paper backdrop. So we go down con– oops, go down to fill
content-aware and this should all be just gray when it’s done… Bada-bing!
Look at that! Oh! I’m actually… How about this? Just in
case you want to do more back back here. Now let’s bring her back in and we see
it actually did do it through the mask. Unlike other tools that won’t apply to
all the pixels, it did to all that was selected. So we can use this layer up
here i’m going to just hold down the command key and tap on it here to bring
this selection up here. As you can see it’s already expanded out. But I’m going to
expand out a little bit more. So let’s go down to select modify it. Let’s expand
another 10 pixels… Now I’m going to fill in… Look at that!
Like she wasn’t even there. So now we can end up doing more and if you
want to move this into motion graphics now you’ve got a clean background plate
and you’ve got her. So another thing to think about for special effects artist
is that oftentimes you don’t have a perfect clean background well now you’ve got a way to at least
build one. And so now I mean what I ended up doing in these is that I applied a
hue/saturation, put it to colorize and let’s move that over here… As you can see… Let’s see I think in in the original one I did, I just did a very just slight blue
and then as you can see that helps kinda unify the whole shot there and then I just
worked on different blending methods to bring things down but that is
essentially is how i got my final photo in the first place. So that is how we
are able to go from a shot that was in bad need of repair and able to bring her in. Thank you as always! Remember to
subscribe, like, comment! All that good stuff! Stick around because we got more videos
coming out every Friday. So until then: thank you and come again!


  1. Ballerina Badass August 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Love it – very helpful AND funny. Can't wait to see what the design geeks think!

  2. Elisabeth Ashliegh Photography May 9, 2017 at 1:58 am

    I would love to know how you did the invert of the background after the quick selection. I assume since the mouse did not move that you used a keystroke but can find zero help on how to complete that

  3. Nicole Harissiadis May 19, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Hi, after you inverted the layer, i was lost on what tool you used to select the background spaces you wanted to replace…

  4. Thang Ho July 18, 2017 at 9:22 am

    You're hilarious! Loved it

  5. Amirah Aziz July 19, 2017 at 12:16 am


  6. janefglover July 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    How did you clean up the edge around the ballerina and scarf (expanded pixels) after all of the content aware fill? This is where I'm struggling most. Thanks!

  7. Kelly Peters July 31, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Great tutorial! I'm lost after you've inverted and you're trying to select using the rectangle tool, I can select easy enough but when I hit delete (MacBook backspace keyboard button), it deletes the mask from my subject in the middle so I'm left with the background I wanted to get rid of and I've lost some of my initial mask, in your example it would now be showing the model's legs which you previously cut out. Sorry I'm learning – thanks again!

  8. Satin Models India August 18, 2017 at 10:01 am


  9. Tirakorn Sumpalung December 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Love it

  10. ohoii digital media & copywriting February 5, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Great tips, thank you. Just a question on parts like her foot. Since the feathered 10px creates a reddish border around her foot, what would be the best way to clean that part up? Thanks.

  11. John smith February 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

    It would be nice to see what exactly you are doing if your goal of this informative video is to teach and inform people that do not know. Thank you.

  12. Black Angel February 9, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    this is the best photoshop tutorial I've ever watched! thank youuu

  13. zakiyya m February 11, 2018 at 3:24 am

    How do you select more than one part from the background after you inverted the photo

  14. Sara Robertson March 2, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Whoa, you really look like Christian Bale to me.

  15. Isaac Thuku March 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    I love you moovieboy. If you run for office you have my vote and I don't care for your policies.

  16. Deepak Bhoj April 7, 2018 at 5:34 am

    9:38 What about the fringes bro ?

  17. Snapsy Box May 6, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this video! For some reason, when I follow your steps to select my subject and remove her from my background – she doesn't disappear! When I look at the layer thumbnails on the right, they look like yours… but on my main screen she's still there! What am I missing!? Thank you SO much for any advice you can give.

  18. Lili June 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    your laugh is the best thing ever LOOOL

  19. Alyssa Craze July 23, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    after I remove my subject, I try to select the areas to content fill and it won't let me even choose fill. Do you know why this might be?

  20. jayjessicam August 20, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    completely got lost at invert

  21. Moira October 29, 2018 at 3:38 am


  22. Namita Garg October 30, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    big help thanks

  23. CAMS Graphics November 6, 2018 at 8:44 am

    still cool

  24. Monda Goette Photography November 15, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for this! I now have the "Select herrrrrrr, selectthefabric!" jingle in my head. 🙂 Easy to follow, hoping when I actually try this that it will work as smoothly as you showed it!

  25. jestemaleksicą November 23, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    What is the best background to make the best workflow of quick selection? Is better when is black, grey or white background? Actually I makes photo on white background ale quick selection works quite well but sometimes work not enough good, is much work to correct of selection by maks etc. Any tips what to do in studio or lighting setup or something else to make quick selection faster? ^_^

  26. Blue Planet December 1, 2018 at 8:16 am

    fuck directly you are doing with saying keys , make some sense while doing

  27. Blue Planet December 1, 2018 at 8:21 am

    you bastard what you want to say bullshit layer mask and invert fuck fuck fuck learn something before explaining

  28. Zoe Cox March 18, 2019 at 12:03 am

    How are you selecting multiple areas at once with the marquee tool?

  29. Teddy Gustave March 28, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    I feel like this video is an unfinished product, you did all that but didn't show us how to make a finish product. once I fill in the content how do I fine tune the edge of the subject to make the person blend with the background.

  30. Novi Jayanti June 28, 2019 at 10:42 am

    then how did you make it neat? I need guidance :'D

  31. Enrico Marconi July 7, 2019 at 6:11 am

    this explanation sucks… I'm sorry man, but if you're doing a 'how to' you need to go step by step.

  32. jess bryan August 17, 2019 at 5:05 am

    this way easy to follw, but I feel incomplete. I still have some background around my subjest, as do you in your do I blend itÉ

  33. anyelina hd August 21, 2019 at 1:41 am

    how do you remove the layer mask?

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