How to replace a tropical background
PhotoPlus : The Canon Magazine|February 2021
James Paterson shows how to change backdrops in Affinity Photo
James Paterson

THE MISSION

Replace a backdrop with a tropical scene in Affinity

The time needed 20 minutes

Skill Level Intermediate

Kit needed Affinity Photo

Replacing a backdrop is a fun way to transform your photos, and it’s a simple task with Affinity Photo’s selection tools. Whether you want to transport your subject to a faraway place or make an accurate cutout, this technique will give you results. We’ll begin by selecting the bird using the handy Selection Brush. This can lock on to the edges of the figure, allowing us to isolate it with a few clicks. Next, we can improve our selection using the Refine control, which lets us knock out all the messy, bits of background that show through the bird’s feathers.

Automated tools can only get us so far, so we may need to finish off our cutout manually by painting on a layer mask to fine-tune what is hidden or revealed. Thankfully this shouldn’t take too long, as Affinity Photo’s selection tools will do most of the heavy lifting for us.

Once done, we can drop in another image and transport our subject to a tropical paradise. Matching up the two images can take a little work, as we want the perspective and depth of field to fit with each. It helps to pick a background scene with areas that are out of focus like this as it makes the composite look more realistic. It also helps if the lighting in each match. Here both scenes are in sunlight, so they fit together more naturally.

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