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Photography Question 
Teresa K. Canady

Digital Backgrounds

Does anyone have any advise on Digital Backgrounds? How do they work? Are they worth the money, or should I stick with traditional cloth backgrounds, like muslins?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Teresa

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10/11/2006 9:18:23 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  you can make your own BG in ps.... youll still have to get a cloth BG to shoot against though..
just a thought!

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10/11/2006 9:22:33 AM

Shawn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2005
  When talking about digital backgrounds that usually means a blue screen or green screen background and changing it after the fact with software.

I've personally not used them yet, but plan to. Although I've seen both good examples and bad ones.

As an uneducated opinion, I'd say that the most important thing is to control your lighting. The bad ones I've seen were because of the green background casting a green reflection onto the subjects so that when the green background was replaced with a scene of some kind, the people retained a green halo effect.

Green is used more often now in film because it's easier to seperate green from skin tones than it is to seperate blue. However it might be easier to avoid lighting problems with blue for photography.

As long as the background is far enough away and lit correctly though, it may not be a hard problem to deal with.

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10/11/2006 9:22:55 AM

Teresa K. Canady   From what I've read, you can buy the Digital Background Software that does not require the Green screen. Is this true?


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10/11/2006 9:25:38 AM

Shawn Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2005
  You can do it yourself in Photoshop as well, it's just not as easy without a solid backgound of a known color. When you have a known solid color, you can use quick select tools like the magic wand and not have to do much hand tweaking to the selection.

The green or blue chroma backgrounds give you a single color reference to trace your subbject with and the physical material is usually such that it is perfectly even and resists shadows or highlights. If you don't have a solid color background then the trace will be much harder.

There may be programs out there that specialize in tracing subjects regardless of the background, but their results will very wildly based on the background of the original photograph that you are trying to cut out.

A little side note though, is that when composing shots that you intend to remove the background or change the backgrond on, be mindful of things like hair and clothes that are transparent or have gaps.

If a woman's hair for example, has a lot of loops and activity making the edges so that you can see the background through her hair, you will have a much harder time replacing the background well. Or say you are photographing a tennis player where you can see through the racket weave to the background. That will be a trouble spot too.

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10/11/2006 10:32:17 AM

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