5 TIPS for Adding a Background in Photoshop

September 2, 2019 0 By Peter Engel

What’s happening ladies and gentlemen, this is Minh from Architecture Inspirations. Have you ever added a background to your rendering but things just don’t turn out the way you expected? Well, today I’m going to show you some advanced tips for adding a background to a rendering in Photoshop. Let’s get started First I’m going to open up my RAW render in Photoshop. This was an image rendered from the Sketchup model that I used in the previous video, check that out if you haven’t yet. Now I’m going to import my background image, there’s a couple reasons I picked this specific image. First is the perspective. When you first pick the background, pay attention to how the perspective of your rendering compared to the perspective of the background image. For example, my rendering is a one-point perspective photo, with the perspective lines converging to the middle. That’s why I chose this background photo because it has a similar perspective. What we need to do first is to make it wider. So select the layer, press Ctrl+T to activate transform mode and drag one of the corners to make it bigger. You can hold down Alt and drag to scale from the center, make sure you also hold down shift at the same time to keep the right proportion. There we go, now we can place it behind our rendered image and position it. But where do I place the background vertically? To know where, you need to find the horizon line or eye level of your rendered image. To do that, let’s go into our Sketchup model and select this button here then look at the bottom right corner of the screen. This tells you the eye level which is at 4 feet. Now I’m going to press L for the Line tool and draw a 4 foot line from the ground up, then go across from there, that’s my horizon line. Knowing that, we can now go back to Photoshop, and position your image so that the horizon line is around the same height. I’m going to left click and drag the top ruler to create a guide where think the eye level of our render is, which is around here. If you don’t have the ruler visible, then press Ctrl+R to turn it on and off. Now let’s drag the background image so that its horizon line matches our guide line. There we go, that’s better. To get rid of this guide, I can just drag it back up to the ruler. Number 2 is lighting. Sometimes people don’t pay attention to the lighting of the background image and it results in a bad composite photo. I’m not just talking about using a night background for a daytime rendering. That’s super obvious. But I’m talking about using the wrong sun angle. For example, if my render has the sun shining this direction, but in the background, the sun is shining the other way, then that will not work. It’s a little hard to tell where the sun is in this image but it seems that these buildings over here are brighter, so the sun is coming from this direction. Which is the opposite direction to that of the render image, so I need to flip it. To do that, make sure this layer is selected, press Ctrl+T, right click, and flip the image horizontally. Number 3, Color The third thing is very subtle but important. It’s the color of the background image. Not necessarily the whole image, but parts of it. For example if you look at the brick color in my rendering compared to the color of the brick in the background image, you can see that they are slightly different. Let’s make some adjustments to the background image. I’m going to select it and go up to Filter, Camera Raw Filter, then make some adjustments in the Temperature and the Tint to make the brick color looks a little warmer. Since this layer is a smart object, the filter becomes a smart filter automatically, which means you can easily turn the adjustment on and off like so, or open it up again and adjust your Camera Raw settings whenever you want. I’m going to set the tint as 28 and there we go, looks good. Let’s compare the before and after again. You can see that it affects the whole background image, but let’s say I don’t want to affect the buildings in the background, then I can just mask it out using the layer mask here. Just select the layer mask, Press B for the Brush tool, make sure your foreground color is black, and just paint away parts that you don’t want the adjustment color to affect. If you right click, you can adjust the size and hardness of the brush. Alternatively, you can hold down Alt and hold down the right mouse button, you can drag left and right to change the size or up and down to change the hardness Painting black will make that part less visible, and if you press X, you can switch the background and foreground color. Then if you paint the layer mask white, it will make it more visible. You can adjust the opacity and flow of the brush here as well. If you want to make it easier to see the area that you are masking, you can use Alt+Left Click to isolate that mask. And if you press Shift and Left Click, you can turn the layer mask on and off like so. As you can see, with the adjustments we make using the camera raw filter, the rendering and the background photo seems to blend in a lot better. 4. Refine layer mask Now let’s take a closer look at our composite photo. If you look closely, there seems to be a white edge around our rendered image and we need to get rid of that. I can do that by using a layer mask but First, I’m going to right click and turn this into a smart object. Next I’m going to Ctrl-click this layer to create a selection based of the visible part of that image. Then I’m going to go down and press this button here, to turn the selection into a layer mask. Next I’ll select the mask, and on the Properties Window, click on Refine: Select and Mask. At the top here you will see the different types of view modes. I’m going to switch to On Black to make it easier to see the white edges. You can adjust the transparency to see the background image better if needed. Now I’m going to go down here, and shift my edges to the left. This will get rid of those white edges. Experiment with other settings like Feather and Contrast to see what works best for your image. I’m going to change the view mode to Onion Skin to see what it looks like. Once you’re happy with it, press okay. And here’s the before and after. That looks way better. 5. Add Lens Flare. Next I’ll add some lens flare. I’ve walked through this process in my previous videos before but I’ll do it again for you guys. Just import the lens flare, and I’m going to place it between my rendering and the background image. Then I’m going to put the blend mode as Screen. Now I’m going to click here to add a layer mask then paint away parts of the image that I do not want. There we go, looks good! I’m actually going to add another lens flare. This image is already a PNG so I don’t have to set the blend mode as screen. And this time, I’ll place it on top of my rendering instead. But the problem with this is that the lens flare are in front of my window frames, which is not what I want. So I’m going hold down Alt and Left click then drag up here to make a duplicate of the layer mask on my lens flare layer. We need to click on the layer mask, and press Ctrl+I to invert the layer. There we go, now that looks correct. Now I’m going to use the brush tool and paint black on the parts I want to remove, now I’m going to switch the foreground color to white, and paint white on this part here to make the lens flare more visible, There we go now it looks like the sun is going Through the window. That’s the reason why I place this layer on top of my rendering. And those are the 5 tips for adding a background image to your rendering in Photoshop. Now I will just finish the image with two more things. 6.Adjusting the rendered image The rendered image looks a little dark, so I’m going to use the same method as before to make the adjustments. Select the layer and open up Camera Raw Filter. Increase the Exposure, contrast, etc. And once you’re happy with it, just press okay. There we go, it looks brighter now. 7.Stylize with Nik Collection Next I’m going to select the top visible layer, and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to flatten all these layers into a new one. Now I can edit this using Nik Collection Color Efex Pro4 There are a lot of different presets that you can use here just choose whichever you like most. I’m going to use this Cross Processing Preset here. There we go, if that’s too much, then you can lessen the effect by using the opacity slider here. Remember that you can always add another preset. For example, I’m going to use this Sunlight preset. And there we go, Looks good! This was part of the Architectural Visualization Package that I recently released on my Patreon. I’d also like to take a moment to thank all of those who supported me by signing up. It’s only been one week and the support is amazing! This package has been sent out, and won’t be available on Patreon anymore but it’s on Gumroad now for those who want to get it. If you’re interested, I will be releasing more models and files on my Patreon at a more affordable price. You will only pay if I release a package so you don’t have to pay for the months that I don’t create anything And that is all for today guys, leave a like if you enjoyed the video, comment below if you have any suggestions. Stay inspired guys, and I will see you, next time!