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How to remove, or change, background in digital photo?

I have a family photo that was shot outdoors, at night. Consequently the background is black.
Is it possible to change or remove the black background using either Adobe Photoshop Elements or ULead Photo Impact 7 ?
If so, how do I do it, or where do I look for instructions?

I am running WinXP Pro on an AMD 3000+ CPU, with 768mb of RAM and two internal 80 gig HD's.

Thank you

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Removing background

In reply to: How to remove, or change, background in digital photo?

You failed to say what you want to change the background into.

So I will change it to white.
You can also render it into clouds, etc, etc.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 3:

Open the photo that you want to modify.

If you do not have Layers Pallet visible,
Click Windows/Layers

In the Layers Pallet
Double Click ''background''
Then Click OK
(that unlocked that layer)
and retitles the layer to Layer 0

Use the magic wand tool with tolerance set to 30.
Click in the black area. Then press the Del (delete) Key to remove the black area.
You should see a checkboard pattern, indicating transparent.

If that did not get all the black:
Repeat with the magic wand and use the Del key again.

You can switch to the eraser tool to remove leftovers.

Click Layer/New/Layer
That adds a new layer (Layer 1) above Layer O.

But we want it below Layer 0, so drag it there.
And you want Layer 1 active (highlighted).

Set you forground color to White

Grab the paintbucket tool and pour the paint into the transparent area.

Thats it.


You can use the same idea to apply a photo of clouds (or any photo) to the transparent area, by opening a photo (of clouds) and using the ''Move'' tool to drag it over the original photo.

That creates a Layer 1.

Then move Layer 1 below Layer 0 in the Layers Pallet.


Remember, before you can save this as a .jpg photo you have to Flatten the Image (Layers/Flaten Image).


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Thank you

In reply to: Removing background

Thank you very much, Snapshot. I just learned more in 5 miutes from you than I did in 5 hours with the "help" instructions. Hope I can return the favor someday.

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Five minutes

In reply to: Thank you

dromel, Snapshot is very , very good. Nice to have him on the CNET Forum. Check Joe out on the Digital Camera Forum also. Knows his stuff.


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In reply to: Removing background

Joe, Nice info.
Flaten image also reduces the size of the image from two images to one file. Imagine the size of the file if there were ten layers without flattening the image?
Would be similar to sending ten images v/s one.

Keep up the good work and tech advise. :

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In reply to: Removing background

Another choice while having the image area selected is to PASTE INTO the sected image area and manipulate accordingly. Strangely enough, there are numerous ways to accomplish that we all suggest. I have been on Photoshop for over ten years. I just learned a new technique from you.
Adobe Photoshop: a long learning curve. And one that will never end. Yet, worth it!


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