The idea of changing the solid background color in a photograph is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is separate out the foreground object from the background and then add some color to that background. The issues arise when you attempt to do that separation. Selecting objects in Photoshop is notoriously challenging, even with all the marvelous tools that Adobe has given us. I’ve been working in Photoshop for years and I still shutter at the thought of making selections. It’s not an easy task.
Let’s quickly run through the process of applying a colorcast to the background of an image. The first step you need to take is to add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to the file. This adjustment layer, with the Saturation slider pushed all the way to the left to remove any color, will leave the image looking desaturated. This is good because you’ll need a more neutral appearing photograph for the next step.
Next, add another of the same adjustment layers, but this time, check the Colorize box in the Properties panel to add some color back to the image. This will be the overall hue, so be sure to push the Hue slider up above to choose the color you’re happy with.
As of right now, you’ll have a consistently colorized photograph across its entirety. This is exactly what we want, but now we have to get the object you want to stay with its original color, out and on top. To do this, copy the original image layer and then move that layer to the top of the stack in the Layers panel. It’s time to make a selection.
If your image shows a relatively deep depth of field, meaning that the subject is completely in focus, while the background is completely out of focus, it’s probably easiest to use the Focus Area tool under the Select menu to make your selection. Then, after that, go into the Select and Mask palette to deal with any edge issues that need to be addressed. If the depth of field isn’t that direct and obvious, you’ll need to choose a different selection method. Perhaps use the Quick Selection Tool or something similar. You’ll likely still need to tend to any edge issues in the Select and Mask palette. When finished with that, output the selection to a mask and you should be all set. The entire process is as if you’re making a copy of a physical photo and then cutting out the object you’d like to stay with its original color with a pair of scissors. Then, you’re colorizing the first photo and placing the cutout on top of it. It’s that simple and direct. The idea of it all is anyway.
If you’d like to see how this process is completed with screenshots, please click through to the post below. Also, if you have any questions or comments please be sure to add them below.