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Digital Background

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Old 02-12-2008, 02:18 AM
Liz Liz is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brisbane Oz
Posts: 86
Unhappy Digital Background

This has become one of my biggest angsts. Tried the cloud thing, doesn't work for me. Does someone on this site have a plug-in or purchased backgrounds that work for them? I've researched some of those available and not that impressed but may not have found the one that is popular. Most photographic silk backgrounds have more depth of detail and color than clouds can create.

Second of my problems, apart form the formal setting, is that I live in a small community and when one of these people die, the request is to offer tribute to them and usually involves an enlargement from a 6x4. It usually involves extracting that person from a group. Well, if the original photo has some formality to it, or if they are older, then I can extract from the original and formalise the background or vignette it so that it looks natural. But sometimes the person is in their youth, or in workgear like the one I have to do at present. Looks odd to have an Electrician in workgear against a formal background. The original photo has very little to work on as the background detail is pretty well obscured by other people in the photo.

I tried doing a two colour background, then use gradient to blend the two colours. Created a depth of field with a dark position where the imaginery floor might meet the imaginery wall. Stills looks crappy.

Tried two colour cloud, blur, etc, etc. Crappy.

I dunno. Any plug-ins, any ideas?
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:24 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Carolina
Posts: 1,294
Re: Digital Background

I had a similar request recently...not sure if this is what you were seeking...
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:38 AM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,028
Re: Digital Background

Have you tried a cost effective royalty free stock photo site like iStock Photo? Not only will you find a large variety of backgrounds but you will also fine images of work / play settings that are useful to paste people into.
Regards, Murray
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:04 AM
Squggle Squggle is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ludlow, Shropshire
Posts: 48
Re: Digital Background

Here is a basic overview of how i do mine, see attachments below.

If you want greater depth of field, just add a Gaussian blur.

If you want ripples or folds then that's another tutorials entirely

++See Attached++
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bgtut1.jpg (37.6 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg bgtut2.jpg (45.1 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg bgtut3.jpg (99.6 KB, 67 views)
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:47 AM
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palms palms is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: England
Posts: 5,685
Blog Entries: 30
Re: Digital Background

what about just messing around with graident tool i added a bit of blur to this one and then colourized for the other
(not a great lover of clouds myself )

Attached Images
File Type: jpg bg2.jpg (28.8 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg bg.jpg (21.1 KB, 7 views)
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Old 02-22-2008, 02:33 PM
Liz Liz is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brisbane Oz
Posts: 86
Re: Digital Background

Thanks for all your replies.
Palms 1 - I think I was looking for a background with some effect applied. Usually these extractions are rush jobs and quick extractions can sometimes leave a few dodgy bits that need to be disguised by a busier background.

Skydog - Great links and I have bookmarked them for my library.

MisterMonday - Having a look at i-stock Photos actually gave me the idea to choose one of my own stock photos and really blur it to finish off this particular job.

Squggle -Great tut. Why not place that one in the Tut section for other beginner's like me to enjoy? Perhaps you could expand Step 1 a bit. Are you saying that you repeat a few times the render clouds filter? I'm not sure.

Really appreciate your help on this one.
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Old 02-22-2008, 03:58 PM
dkcoats dkcoats is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The frozen North
Posts: 519
Re: Digital Background

Some other things you can do with render/clouds-based backgrounds:
You can use various transform tools - e.g. distort. Or warp.
Try various levels of sharpening - unsharp mask at low amount/high radius, for example.
Or instead of transforming the clouds to make them bigger per Squggle's tute, make them bigger to start with and then shrink 'em (you can increase the canvas size, then re-crop after transforming).
And, as Squggle suggests, play with different versions on layers with various blending modes.
In general, just beat the @#%$ out of the suckers. You might be surprised what you can get out of them.
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