Photoshop: How to Cut Out Backgrounds and KEEP The Original Shadows

Hi, welcome back to the I’m Jesus Ramirez. In this video, I’m going
to show you how to change backgrounds and keep the original shadows in Photoshop. This technique will help you create more realistic
composites. You will learn to master shadows in an image,
control their intensity, and color them so that they match the scene. This tutorial is filled with tips and tricks,
so stick around to the end. Okay, let’s get started. This is the document
that we’re going to work with. It contains a background layer and a layer
with a microphone and headphones. And what we want to do is make sure that the
shadows of the original background appear on the composite that we’re going to make. The first step is to cut out the object from
the background. In this tutorial, we’re not going to focus on masking. I want to make a concise tutorial, however
if you don’t know how to mask, I do have two videos that I recommend watching so that you
can mask your object. I have a tutorial on making smooth selections.
It’s a really good tutorial that teaches you a lot about masking. So, I’m going to place a link to that video
down below in the description. Also, if you want to mask with vectors, which
give you really sharp edges and is great for man-made objects like this one, then I will place a link to my vector masking
tutorial right below in the description as well so you can use either type of layer mask
for the object that you cut out. So, in this case, I already have
a layer mask created. It is disabled. If you hold the shift key and click on the
layer mask, it enables and disables the layer mask. So, this is where we’re going to start in
this tutorial, with the object already extracted out. What I want to do is make sure that the original
shadows also appear on this composite. So, the first step is to duplicate the layers,
so I’m going to select the layer and press Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac. Then, delete the layer mask by right clicking
and selecting delete layer mask. I’m going to make a smart object out of the
original image. So, I’m going to right click and convert it
into a smart object. Because I want to be able to work non-destructively. When I apply adjustments, working non-destructively
means that you can come back and make changes at any time. Then I want to take the layer mask that we
created to extract the object and place it on the layer below, but at the same time,
I want to invert it so that what’s not selected is selected and what is selected is not selected.
So, it’ll create an inversion. So, I can click on the layer mask icon and
hold Alt, Option in the Mac, and click and drag to duplicate that layer mask onto the
layer at the bottom. Then, I’m going to select the layer mask and
so that you can see what happens, I’m going to click on this I icon to disable the layer
on top. So, with the layer on bottom and the layer mask thumbnail selected, I’m going to
click on invert. And that inverts the layer mask. And we keep
the background in the shadows, but not the headphones and microphone. Now, that is the
long way of doing it, but I wanted to explain each step. There’s actually a way that you can do all
this just in one step, so I’m just going to delete the layer mask and I’m going to show
you how to do it. So, I’m going to click on the original layer
mask and if I simply hold Alt and Shift, and click and drag that layer mask onto the layer
below, it does all of that just in one step. So you can see we duplicated the layer and
inverted it at the same time. Once again, that’s holding Alt and shift on
Windows. Option, shift on the Mac. So now we have a layer that only contains
the shadows, and from this point, all we have to do is remove the white background and keep
the shadows. What you want to do is simply go into this
dropdown, which are the blending modes, and if you’ve watched my blending modes tutorial,
you will know that the blending modes in this category here all keep the dark pixels and
hide the bright pixels. So, if you select multiply, notice how we
only keep the shadows and just a tiny little bit of a background, and that’s because the
original background wasn’t completely white. So, we want to make the original background
completely white. So, I’m going to click on the layer thumbnail
and I’m going to go into image, adjustment levels and I’m going to click on the white
point and I’m going to drag it to the left to make
all these pixels completely white so that they disappear. Then, I’ll press okay. Now, we have an outline
here that may actually be distracting to the final composite, so what I’ll do is I’ll click
on the layer mask icon and with a brush, I’m going to paint with black. Notice how black
is currently in my background color. I can bring it to the top simply by clicking
on this icon or pressing the X key on the keyboard. The X key swaps foreground and background
colors. So with black as my foreground color, I’m
just going to paint on the top part to remove that outline, because I know I’m not going
to need it. I’m only going to need the shadow, so I’m
basically painting away everything that’s not part of the shadow. Then, I’m simply going to bring back the original
layer where I extracted the headphones and notice how we now have the shadows. My selection wasn’t perfect. and I’m going to zoom in to this area so that
you can see, notice how a missing part of the shadow there. All I really need to do is click on the shadow
layer, and I’ll actually call it shadow so that you know what I’m clicking on. It’s always
a good idea to name your layers. So, with this layer mask, click on it and
paint with white so that you can bring back some of the pixels that are just under the
headphones so that they match. So, this look much, much better than it did before. Now you can see that. Also, we have a little
bit of an outline here. Let me hide that by selecting black as my foreground color and
painting away that black outline. And that’s basically all you need to do at this point,
just fine-tune those details. I’m not going to take the time to go through every single
detail in this composite, but the steps will be the same. One of the reasons that I asked you to convert
the image into a smart object was so that you could come back and make further adjustments. For example, I can double click on the levels
label, it brings up the levels adjustment once again and with the center point, I can
click and drag that to the right or to the left to control the intensity of the shadow. So, in your composite, you may need a stronger
shadow or a much, much softer shadow. It all really depends on the composite that you’re
working with. In this case, I’m just going to press cancel and work with the original
shadow. I think it works great. Also, one other thing that I recommend doing
is making that into a black and white layer so that the colors of the shadow don’t conflict
with the colors of the scene. In this case, the shadow doesn’t have a color, but I’ll
still do that so that you can see the process. I’m going to go into image, adjustment, black
and white, and that makes it into a black and white image. I don’t need to make any
adjustments, so I’m just going to press okay, and you can see the black and white label
here. Now, one thing I should mention is in older
versions of Photoshop, you cannot apply these settings as a smart object. So, what you need
to do is just simply use the adjustment layer versions of that. So, create a black and white adjustment or
a levels adjustment, and then clip it to the layer below. But in this case, in the newest
version of Photoshop, we can definitely add these adjustments to a smart object. But anyway, let me show you what this layer
looks like. I’m going to disable this layer, hold shift and click on the layer mask thumbnail
to see the original image. So, we remove the color, and that allows us
to have a shadow that doesn’t have a color. I want to fit this to screen and we actually
want to add a color to the layer mask now, and that’s because shadows are never really
black. This looks pretty good, but watch what a difference it’s going to make
once I apply a color to the shadow. All I need to do is first click
on the eyedropper and just click on the color of a shadow. So, I’m going to click on the shadow here
in between the two panels of wood, and notice how it’s not really black. It’s a dark brown
and that’s what I want, so I’m going to select that color and that color is now my foreground
color. Then, I’m going to go into the adjustment
layer icon and click on the solid color fill layer to create a layer that fills with that
color, and the color is selected by default. I’m going to press okay, then I’m going to
press Ctrl, Alt, G, that’s Command, option, G on the Mac, to make a clipping mask that
will tie this layer’s transparency to the transparency of the layer below. And obviously this is not looking very good.
All you really want from that layer is to apply the color. I don’t want to apply luminosity
or anything else, just the color. So with this layer selected, I’m going to
click on this drop down and apply the color blending mode. Now, look at the difference.
I’m going to zoom in so that you can see. I’m going to disable the layer, that’s before,
and that’s after. It’s a very subtle effect, but I think it makes a huge difference. It
makes it look much more realistic. See that? This is the original with the grayish shadow.
This is shadow with the brown color, so I think that looks much better and it helps
the composite come together and makes it more cohesive. So, I highly recommend doing that. And the
way that I work and the way that I recommend you work is working non-destructively. Everything we’ve done has been nondestructive,
so I can always come back and make adjustments. I could go back into the levels adjustment
by double clicking on it and this window comes up and like I said before, you can continue
adjusting the intensity of those shadows to fine tune your scene. You can press okay and those settings are
applied. And at this point, the composite is looking pretty good. I think that we’re
done with the shadows. There were a few more things that we could
add or change to make it more realistic, like the reflection on the mic, but I think that
we’ll leave that for another tutorial. Let me know in the comments if that’s something
that your interested in watching. But anyway, I hope that you enjoy this tutorial. If you’re new to the Photoshop Training Channel,
then don’t forget to click on that subscribe and notification buttons. Leave your questions down in the comments
below and I will see you at the next tutorial.


  1. Mohamed Ali June 11, 2019 at 3:27 am

    This is great thank you for this trick

  2. MrSarge99 June 11, 2019 at 4:59 am

    This may sound stupid but,when you are at that last stage and want to save your final work for a print,do you flatten the image or merge down?

  3. SRA Rizvi June 11, 2019 at 5:23 am

    It is very useful echnique to bring back the original shadows…. I have downloaded this tutorial for refreshing myself in future… ThanX Ramirez…

  4. Bikram Roul June 11, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Amazing. Thank you for this great video.

  5. Penek tuk June 11, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Thank you!

    Could you make tutorial about custom shadow? ))

  6. Don Schneider June 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

    Brilliant! Love this tutorial! You are the man! Thank you so much!

  7. GFXCROWD June 11, 2019 at 7:01 am

    WOW you are great teacher

  8. GFXCROWD June 11, 2019 at 7:01 am

    WOW you are great teacher

  9. GFXCROWD June 11, 2019 at 7:01 am

    WOW you are great teacher

  10. R Garlin June 11, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Another amazing insight and super helpful trick too. 😲Thanks a million JR-from-PTC!

  11. Elie Dib June 11, 2019 at 7:57 am

    You are a Master

  12. hl June 11, 2019 at 8:59 am


  13. Fernando Vázquez Dj Manitas June 11, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Great!!! Thanks my friend Jesus.

  14. iPhotography June 11, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Great video, working with shadows in stock images is such a tricky area. thanks for the help

  15. RS June 11, 2019 at 11:40 am

    1256 thumbs up against 5 down says itali . EXCELLENT

  16. Vlastislav Cech June 11, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Your channel is becoming one of my favorite YouTube channels. I like how you explain all the tricks in a very concise way. As you said at the beginning, the tutorial was filled with nice tips and trick. However, I also appreciate that your videos aren't filled with lengthy demonstrations of editing. It seems they are really well thought out. I have also watched your videos about masking, but I like how they were focused on specific topics. If it would be one longer video mixing all topics together, I would probably just add it to the watchlist or skip it entirely.

  17. Quint S Ence June 11, 2019 at 11:54 am

    need to know the reflections part – so I would say yes to the reflectins tut. Great tutorial this one, came just at the right time. Thanks for sharing your expertise as always.

  18. pearliecreamcheese June 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    OMG, Jesus – this one goes into my 'brilliant links' folder! I've used Ps/watched tuts for decades and have never seen this, and spent so much time agonizing over shadows… THANK YOU once again for another gold nugget. 🙂

  19. Azhar Risaldy June 11, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Great and really helpful tutorial!! Is it only work for an image that have white background or can we do the same with image that have lot's of color in the background??

  20. Mohan Murugesan June 11, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    very useful.. thanks

  21. BOUSSOFFARA RAED June 11, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Sharing is Caring .. thank you Sir

  22. Nikol Ycy June 11, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Great!!!Thank you!

  23. Frank Hernandez June 11, 2019 at 4:36 pm


  24. John Sanders June 11, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    I’m working on a job today and was wondering how to do this! Stop reading my mind Jesus 😂 Thank you

  25. Ana Sedano June 11, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Great tutorial! Thanks Jesus for being so clear 🙂 I do cut outs in a similar way to what you’ve shown here but the solid colour tip was new to me. Nice touch 👌

  26. Tommy Gunrunner June 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Lots of great tips and shortcuts in this tutorial but using the eye dropper to select in between the planks of wood for an accurate shadow color was excellent. Jesus, you're a graphic guru and always find a way to utilize the original pixels for realism. Thank you.

  27. Kobebryt Neke June 11, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    It looks as if photoshop belongs to you. 🥂

  28. bbkiwi 2011 June 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    You can give me pictures so I try to work on them

  29. Pedro Simons June 11, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Great YouTuber! Work, voice, patience, details… simply perfect 👌

  30. Ian Farns June 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Another great tutorial Jesus. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Mohamed Mostafa June 11, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    very professional, thank you

  32. Lórien Davy June 12, 2019 at 4:00 am

    Brilliant, Jesùs — Thank you! Will this technique only work when the composited object was photographed on a smooth background?

  33. Rod Shelley June 12, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Very helpful – great tutorial, Jesùs! I've used a similar technique by duplicating the layer with the shadows, and using the multiply blend mode – it works, but this has filled in a few blanks for me. Thanks so much!

  34. Khurram Ali June 12, 2019 at 5:15 am

    wow! you solved my problem thank you.

  35. ki ka June 12, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Thank for your teaching. I love this. If you have time can you teach retouch underwater photo if possible. I am very appreciate.

  36. Fionàn O'Kelly June 12, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I found this video to be one of the most interesting tutorials on compositing.

  37. Paul Scott June 12, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Good again. Use of multiply and colour blend .I have a lot of fun with the luminosity blend to add softening effects [ maybe pink say ]

  38. sk abdul June 12, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Sir how to download PS cc 2019 for mac.please advice me?

  39. Paul Muyeshi June 12, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Great tut

  40. Dale Hardin June 12, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Great tutorial as usual. However, most of my composites are not from images with a solid background. What is the best way to create a realistic shadow when the subject is located on a busy background?

  41. Freddie Valdez June 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Nice, practical tutorial Jesús. How about product reflections and product compositing? After all, that is our bread and butter….🙂

  42. dolfijnmetans June 12, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    It's the small things that matter, splendid

  43. sifo staf June 12, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    thank you !!!

  44. Jan Kabili June 12, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Love this tutorial Jesus!

  45. Duran Das June 12, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you very much! Much needed tutorial…

  46. Ann Brooks June 12, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Awesome tutorial but, i wish you finish it by showing how to place the reflection on the mike. Then the tutorial will be completed.

  47. Cesar Augusto Tejada June 13, 2019 at 1:36 am

    A tutorial of the reflections would be awesome! By the way, excellent video Jesus. Thank you!

  48. Jerry Goins - Novae Money YGM June 13, 2019 at 7:16 am

    keep grinding 💪💪💪 gave me some ideas for my channel!

  49. Software Academy June 13, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Me: I am a professional in Photoshop.
    Jesus Ramirez: Hold my beer!

  50. Marcel A Granier June 13, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Great tutorial as usual! Would definitely love to see one on mapping reflections onto the mics.

  51. Fred Boy June 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    You must be a PS master

  52. ANMI37 June 14, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Excelent, thanks!

  53. Ken Sun June 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    no subtitle?….

  54. ABIRBHAB PURUSHOTTAM KARMAKAR June 14, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Most useful tutorial.
    Thanks for This video

  55. Jaime E. Campuzano T. June 14, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Muchas gracias Jesús

  56. Halo Kosovo June 14, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    its cool but honestly I'll just cut the object then draw in the shadow. Takes too much time to do this imo

  57. Marco Betti June 14, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    I simply need to stop my works for one moment to see your videos, because they are so fantastic. Its highest levels of professionalism, are impressive.

    Thanks again for share your brilliant talents with us. Sucess for you my on-line teacher!

  58. quan baydau June 15, 2019 at 1:11 am

    Where is Minimum in Photoshop? What version Photoshop are you using? Thanks for reading my comment.

  59. Kwisatz Haderach June 15, 2019 at 1:39 am

    😍 I simply love it to watch your straight and easy to follow tutorials, all of them 🖖🙌

  60. Irfan Fikri June 15, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Thank you for the tutorial!

  61. Innocent K. Boateng June 15, 2019 at 5:15 am

    This is great idea! Master piece!

  62. Lazy Gemini June 15, 2019 at 1:35 pm


  63. Daniel Cheng June 15, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for the vid! Is this technique only work on the white background image? If I want to cut out a "person" from the photo and place it on a solid color backdrop, can I use the same trick still? If not so, can you also teach us how to restore shadow from a day-to-day photo 🙂

  64. Alexandru Grecov June 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    No doubts, this is very useful.

  65. Kyle Joseph Buckley June 15, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    great job man. very easy to follow and remember

  66. Ian Hunter June 15, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Another brilliant tutorial. I am so grateful to you.

  67. Iris Merchan June 16, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Extraordinary.. great tutorial.. Thank you..

  68. Fredys C June 16, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Does this only work if it has a white background?

  69. Reekan c reekan c June 16, 2019 at 3:10 am


  70. Víctor NDG June 16, 2019 at 5:36 am

    Maravilloso trabajo, hermano. Saludos desde Perú!

  71. Demonichellfighter June 16, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    amazing, this is so useful to shop on fake stuff into places.

  72. David Miller June 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    As long as you're teaching I'm learning. It's like your videos imply the statement "Betcha didn't know this." My reply. "You're right; I didn't" lol

  73. Paulo Cerqueira June 16, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Jesús.
    First of all thanks for another amazing tutorial. And yes, I’d really appreciate to see how we’d adjust the reflections on the mic to make it even more realistic. Once again, thanks for sharing.

  74. THE MAYUR PAWAR June 17, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Thank You.. ❤️❤️❤️

  75. Home Creators June 17, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    useful video 💖

  76. Abram Rabinowitz June 17, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    What about on a transparent bg? Thanks!

  77. KHUT SAMNANG June 18, 2019 at 4:40 am

    This is awesome toturial.. I want to know who the hell are unlikes this video..

  78. Amoo Erfan June 18, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Perfect 👍👍👍

  79. Phil B June 18, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    You are a Photoshop genius. Thanks for posting these tutorials.

  80. Rochdi Tidjani June 19, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Excellent video.

  81. itz4u June 19, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    OMG!! Great video tutorial. I’m subscribed!

  82. Deepankar Saha June 21, 2019 at 4:51 am

    what if the background is not white?

  83. Prasad Karmarkar June 23, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Very useful, Thank you so much 🙂 Keep it up

  84. Juan Espinoza June 23, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Very helpful Jesús!, Thanks!

  85. George Laird July 2, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Could someone help me out, I have a picture, white spots on a black background, blend mode screen takes away black BG but how do you change the colour of the white spots?

  86. Lascelles James July 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Been fighting to do the exact same thing on a sign I’m about to print…….thanks and I look forward to it working for me

  87. Mi Ba July 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    hi there pls guys where is the pictures link thank you

  88. Sabir Nesibli July 28, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Wow very nice and skiller tutorial thank you for you men!!!

  89. Tadikonda Nani Naidu August 9, 2019 at 12:49 am

    In what Photoshop
    I means Adobe Photoshop (or)
    Photoshop ccs

  90. Ardensity August 11, 2019 at 4:25 am

    6:49 Why is my Black and White option grayed out? My picture is a smart object already…

  91. Tarun Singh August 12, 2019 at 6:02 am

    OMG finally the tutorial I was looking for. Thanks I am a freelancer and this helped me a lot. The shadow was the main problem for me

  92. M0rrby September 8, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    AAA+ Photoshop tutorials! GJ

  93. Annie Wang September 13, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    This is amazing, we learnt from school, but I don't understand fully. This is a great review for me to follow!

  94. Vince Lymburn September 24, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Such great tips in this video! Been wondering how people did this. Thank you!

  95. Camsy Ocumen-Cadiz October 1, 2019 at 11:35 am

    1:38 – start of tutorial

  96. Brian Shoemake October 10, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Really helpful information thank you!

  97. Andrea Merchak October 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks, JR, that's great!

  98. raja naveed October 29, 2019 at 7:05 am

    how simple is that and hey bytheway i learn a new thing ctrl+alt+G (after 5years using PS)

  99. dinesh bhai October 31, 2019 at 4:10 am

    thank you guruji

  100. Image Retouching Lab November 6, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Brilliant! such a great that

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