Removing a background

I recently took a photo of my little boy. He was sitting on top of the car and I took the picture through the open sunroof. In the background you could see a blue sky with white clouds, which I wanted to remove.

Here is the original image:

  1. The first thing I did was to select the background using the Magic Wand tool, Tolerance 40, Anti-Aliased, and Contiguous. I then filled it white.
  2. At first glance this seemed okay, but open close inspection I could see a blue tint of the sky showing through his individual hairs.
  3. I didn't want the blue tint, nor did I want to erase the individual hairs either. What I needed was a way to remove the blue yet keep the detail.
  4. To achieve this I used the Sponge tool (which is grouped with the Dodge and Burn tools). I set the Mode to Desaturate, and Flow to 50%. I used a soft edged brush and rubbed over the edges of the hair, I had to do this 5 times before I had the tint I liked.


This article has demonstrated how to remove a blue-sky background from a subject who's hair colour has been contaminated by the background, without losing the detail of the individual hairs.


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