Introduction: How to Remove the Background From an Image and Add a Light Source

In this instructable, I will take you through a step by step on how to remove the background from an image and then add an apparent light source to it.


-A computer or laptop

-A copy of Photoshop (the newer the version, the better)

-About 20-30 minutes

-A little bit of patience

Step 1: Boot Up Your Laptop or PC and Open Up Your Photoshop

Power up your laptop or PC and load up your version of photoshop (preferably the newest version as possible).

Step 2: Load Up the Picture of Your Choosing to Edit

In the top left of your screen, select file and then open. This will make a new project with your chosen photo as the main layer.

Step 3: On the Left Hand Side Toolbar, Select the Quick Selection Tool and Select Your Chosen Area

The toolbar on the lefthand side has a tool called the quick selection tool, you will need to use this. Capture the area in which you want to give the light source. You can change the brush size using the bracket keys ([,]) If you mess up and need to remove things from the selected area, then use Alt and go back over what you want to remove.

Step 4: Once You Have What You Like, Left Click and Copy the Selection Onto a New Layer

Once you are finished using the quick selection tool, left-click and copy via a new layer. Once you have the quick selection copied onto a new layer, you can delete the original photo from the background.

Step 5: Now, Create a New Layer and Set the New Background Color to a Color of Your Choosing

On the bottom right-hand side of your screen, you will see a create new layer button. Press it and then go to the paint bucket tool on the left side toolbar. Then go to the color selector on the top right corner of your screen and set the color to the color of your choosing. In this case, I will choose white. Then create the layer the color of your choosing. Put this solid color layer below your "cutout" layer.

Step 6: Once You Have the New Background, Create an Exposure Layer

The exposure layer is located at the bottom right corner by the create new layer button. Place this layer just above your "cutout" layer.

Step 7: Set the Color of the Exposure Layer to Black

Go back to the paint bucket tool and set the color to black on the color selector and click on the exposure layer. This will then set the layer to the color black.

Step 8: Go to the Brush Tool and Set the Color of Your Brush to White

The brush tool is on the left side of your screen. You will select this and set the brush color to white. Use the brush that looks like it fades to the edges. This is the best brush to use for this project. You set it to white using the color selector on the upper right corner of your screen.

Step 9: Color in the Parts of the Cut Out Portion That You Wish to Be Affected by the "light Source"

Using the brush tool, color in the parts of the cutout that you wish to be affected by the "light source" with the color white. If you mess up and want to remove a part, then set the color of the brush to black and color over the parts you wish to remove. To change the sizes of the brush, use the brackets ([,]).

Step 10: Once You Finish That, Go Under the Properties Tab and Tinker With the Slider Labeled Exposure to See What Looks Best

Once you're done with coloring in the part that you want to have exposure, go to the tab labeled properties under the color selector and click on the tab that has the +/- on it. Then click on the slider labeled "exposure" and tinker with it until you like it. I am showing you my picture with a black background to show you the difference the exposure.

Step 11: Create Another New Layer on the Top of All That You Have Made So Far

Go down to the "create a new layer" and create a new layer. Put this layer on top of all that you have done so far.

Step 12: Using the Brush Tool, Create Your "Light Source"

Using the brush tool again and using the same brush as you did with the exposure layer. You will now create your light source by switching the color back to white using the color picker. You will put this light source wherever you feel that the exposure layer will best represent the light.


You finished your masterpiece! This is how to do some basic photo editing using Photoshop.