This is a tutorial on using the Select Colour tool in Photoshop CS5 to replace a background with a single colour.
I shot this Small Pearl Bordered Butterfly, with flash and was holding a leaf in the background to stop a black background effect. Unfortunately I held it too close and the leaf lines are still visible. So I decided to replace the background using Photoshop CS5’s Select Colour Tool. This is how I did it.
To do this I first used the eye dropper tool to set the foreground colour to a green in the background for later use in colouring the background. This is selected from the tool bar – see image below. Then just click on the background colour to set the foreground to the sampled colour.
Now to use the Select Colour tool, which is found in the Select Menu.
This opens the following tool, which shows the mask you will create. Currently it is all black. The key to the tool are the three eye dropper icons. The first one you use to select the colour you wish to select, the other two can be used to add or subtract colours from your selection. See below.
So I used the first selection dropper (arrowed green in the image above) to select the main green colour.
As you can see it select a large amount of the green leaf (the white in the above image) but there’s still some green tones left. So to remove these I used the + dropper to select more green, by clicking on those colours (you can just click in the tool itself if you wish). Also I should note that you can preview the image by toggling the Selection / Image radio buttons in the tool.
After selecting more greens with a few plus clicks my selection looked like above. Clicking Ok, closes the tool and your image is left with the selection marching ants, as shown below.
So now to cut out the background via the Cut option – found in the edit menu.
So I was now left with just the butterfly and flower. To create a new background, I created a New Layer – under the Layers menu.
Now I have a new layer – I place this lower than the butterfly image – so the layers tool looks like the following.
Now to create the background, I needed to be working on the new layer ( Layer 1). So in the layers tool I made sure this was highlighted (selected).
Now to create the background – I used the paint bucket tool. Found in the toolbar as shown below. (Remember I had already selected a green foreground colour earlier on) and filled the new layer with a solid green.
Too complete all I needed to do was to flatten the image – Under Layers Menu
The resulting image looks as below – I hope you think the image looks better than the botched original.
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary – Final Image – Background replaced in Photoshop CS5 – using Select Colour Tool. Taken on Canon 50D with Canon MPE-65mm Macro Lens. ISO 400 F11 1/250 Flash.