Leopard Can Change It’s Spots 2 - Part 1

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Leopard Can Change It’s Spots 2 - Part 1

So in the previous tutorial I showed you how to change the colour of a green screen. Well what about dropping in a new background? Using the rough cutout from a previous tutorial here I will show you how to ‘photoshop in’ a new background and make it look real.

To start I dropped the cutout onto the background and manipulated it into place using Edit -> Free Transform (Or Cmd/Ctrl + T) It is best at this stage to get the proportions right and positions correct as best as possible as this could affect where you place shadows and what other effects you apply later.

Screen Shot

The most important thing when dropping things into backgrounds and blending the two images into one is lighting and shadows. There are other things which come into play, and those I will cover soon, but first shadows! To create a shadow, duplicate the subject layer, lock the transparency and fill it with black. Then place it behind the main layer and use Edit -> Transform -> Distort to manipulate it into place. Remember, do not move the two base points as they are where the shadow is anchored to the feet. For more tips on shadows, see this tutorial.

Screen Shot 2

To then refine the shadow I created a second layer, applied a soft gaussian blur and reduced the fill to 0% before applying a gradient overlay to give the faded effect. In this image the other shadows are quite harsh so I did not blue the layers too much. Try to best match the shadows to your image as they really help in selling the image as ‘real’. Always keep light direction in mind.

Screen Shot 3

Screen Shot 4

Something really useful to think about is relations. In my image the subject is closer to the camera than the barrel, but also almost twice as tall, so this helps me to think where the top of the shadow will fall.

Next is colours. To adjust adjust the colours I put the main subject layer into a folder and changed its blending mode to normal (to prevent adjustment layers within that folder effecting anything outside of the folder.) Use saturation and vibrance along with levels to adjust the subject subtly. I took the saturation down a touch while bringing the vibrance up a little.

Screen Shot 5

Join me for part 2 to finalise the image and mix the subject with the background to really sell the illusion.