Author Options:

Is there a program to do a green screen effect without a green screen? Answered

I want to do green screen effects with a picture, but run into problems since I don't have a green screen. I have seen the XBOX 360 game "You're in the movies" which does this by taking a picture of the background to be keyed out without anybody there. So, as my question states, I want to find a program to do this effect.


I use Photoshop Elements. It has a feature called "Magic Extractor" which allows you to select the parts of the photo you want to keep, and erase the parts you want to erase. The background should ideally be a solid color. It makes it a lot easier if it is a color that does not also appear in the part of the photo you want to keep. In other words, if your background is green, and your subject is not wearing any green, it is very easy to eliminate all the green in the photo. (Or red, blue, yellow, etc. There's nothing special about green.) Then you select, copy, and paste the extracted image onto another background. It works beautifully.

If you use a nice white (or black) background, that can work nicely as a luma key, assuming there is no other whites (clothes) or blacks (clothes, hair). If you use white, watch keying out the eyes! Really, any color works, green is just the best for a number of reasons I won't get in to, just make sure that color isn't present in what you want to keep. Good lighting when shooting the video is also important.

The free program Interactive Digital Photomontage can do what you describe and quite a bit more.

If you are going to be doing the effects often, though, why not make an actual green screen? Some cheap bed linens dyed green and stretched tightly should suffice.

Making the screen would be easy enough, but its the frame to hold the screen, getting the lighting right, and all other problems that come with a green/blue screen that I'm worried about. I'll check out this program, and if it works, maybe I'll even write an Instructable on it. If it doesn't, I'll try to write a plugin for Gimp. If that happens, I'll definitely write an Instructable on that.

short the entries in the monitor plug like this with thin wires