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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Ok -- how do I do a green screen?
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03/06/2016 09:39:58 AM · #1
I'm in another play. My church has a theater group, and it's our 11th or 12th year or something like that.

We have a tradition for most plays of working a photo into the set somehow. Usually of one of the pastors. So I've made the pastors into football players, civil war heros, etc.

This time the director wants close to 10 photos! All of couples in front of a certain mansion. The generations going back to the 1840s. She gave me a photo of a mansion that she wants to use.

So I want to make life easier, and see if I can use a green screen to make the selection of the people easier.

I bought a piece of green fabric awhile ago and tried this.

I tried it with a squirrel.

All I ended up with was a green squirrel. And the selection process was horrible.

So...

1. How do I do this?
2. Can I just buy cheap green fabric instead of a pricey green screen background?
3. How can I get it to work?
4. How do I make my people not green?

Thanks!! I spend so much time on these things, because I still suck at photoshop. But usually I only have to do 1 or 2. This many is intimidating!
03/06/2016 10:07:44 AM · #2
Firstly, it doesn't have to be green -- not that long ago the standard was to "blue-screen" ... what's most necessary is that the color not match anything the subjects are wearing.

The major factor is to have the background color as uniform as possible -- texture or folds in the material can cause problems, and you need really even lighting. Once you have the shot, you may be able to maximize the accuracy of the selection by using only one of the color channels, not the composite RGB channel.

If you're using Photoshop, try using the Magic Wand with a low tolerance (maybe 4-8) and anti-aliasing turned on. If your first selection is "pretty good" you can also use the "Similar" command to select non-contiguous areas using the same parameters as the Magic Wand.

I usually save the basic selection and then touch up the mask (alpha channel, saved selection) with the paintbrush tool (tablet/stylus a big help for this). Once you have the mask/selection the way you want activate it and use the "Paste-into" command to insert the background photo.

ETA: You may also want to read one of the Tutorials on Layer Masks (we have 2 or 3) for more detail on using saved selections/alpha channels/masks ...

Message edited by author 2016-03-06 10:09:56.
03/06/2016 10:57:39 AM · #3
It's sounding to me like Wendy's being GIVEN existing, historical photos to put in front of the mansion in PS. Green screen is irrelevant to that. Green screen is something you do WHILE SHOOTING to create an easily-removable background; in other words, if Wendy is shooting some of the couple herself, she'd follow 1031.gif GeneralE's excellent advice, but if she's having to use existing images she needs to select the old fashioned way.
03/06/2016 11:04:57 AM · #4
I think the "selection process" is the same, just (much) harder with an irregular background.
03/06/2016 11:40:38 AM · #5
I'm sure this is obvious but I always select the green screen with the magic wand and then invert the selection.
03/06/2016 11:41:00 AM · #6
Originally posted by GeneralE:

I think the "selection process" is the same, just (much) harder with an irregular background.

Well, yes and no... The magic wand, for example, is not likely to be especially useful with an historical, b/w or sepia image... Wendy has Topaz, I believe... This would be an excellent time to learn to use ReMask if she has it...
03/06/2016 11:44:42 AM · #7
If I read correctly, you'll be shooting the couples to put in front of the mansion, right?

One of the things you need to make sure of is that the green doesn't bleed onto the subjects. This can happen if your lighting is off or they're standing too close to the screen. The bounce will add a cast to your subjects and selecting will become problematic. They should be at least 4-5 feet from the green bg.
03/06/2016 12:00:38 PM · #8
Goodness, we look like the SC Support Squad!
03/06/2016 12:16:49 PM · #9
Originally posted by vawendy:

This time the director wants close to 10 photos! All of couples in front of a certain mansion. The generations going back to the 1840s. She gave me a photo of a mansion that she wants to use.

See the emphasized portion above; either they are using old photos as part of this montage, OR they are dressing actors (?) up in period clothing. For Wendy's sake I hope it's the latter and she can cheerfully disregard what I was saying :-)
03/06/2016 12:32:12 PM · #10
A lot of people use the magic wand or other selection tools, but I find it's often easier to use the Select -> Color Range... dialogue when you have a single color background.
03/06/2016 01:22:01 PM · #11
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by vawendy:

This time the director wants close to 10 photos! All of couples in front of a certain mansion. The generations going back to the 1840s. She gave me a photo of a mansion that she wants to use.

See the emphasized portion above; either they are using old photos as part of this montage, OR they are dressing actors (?) up in period clothing. For Wendy's sake I hope it's the latter and she can cheerfully disregard what I was saying :-)


The latter is how I interpreted it :)
03/06/2016 01:22:22 PM · #12
Originally posted by Paul:

Goodness, we look like the SC Support Squad!


LOL
03/06/2016 02:30:26 PM · #13
I'm at the play practice now, so I can't stay long. Just to correct:

I have an historic photo of a mansion. I'm taking pictures of people to put in front of mansion. For the older ones, I'm going to find old portraits, and swap heads to put current heads on old photos to then place in front of mansion. So I assume I'll green screen the people to make selections easier, because selecting around hair and stuff is awful!!

Lol, bear! I've had remask for years and finally got frustrated enough to actually try using it today!

I like having an SC support group! :)
03/06/2016 04:20:21 PM · #14
I have this software, it works very well. Not free though, but makes it pretty effortless. I bought it with a background which was pretty inexpensive.

I don't recall if the trial lets you save without watermark, but if it does, you'd be all set.

If not, and you only have 10 to do, perhaps I can run them through it for you.

Message edited by author 2016-03-06 16:20:41.
03/07/2016 11:08:43 AM · #15
just use white. if you use green and dont light it properly your selection by color will be all messed up.

shoot against white and go into photoshop and choose the channel layer with the most contrast, choose that one and duplicate it. increase the contrast of that layer but dont go overboard since are you will create a fringe. paint the inside of the area you want to keep black, select the black area, invert the selection.

go back to your original layer and create a mask from the selection.

i find this method to be better than using the the selection. a normal selection often gives me a fringe line. using a the color channels methods is a bit more work but it yields better results.

green screens you have to worry about lighting and color cast.

03/07/2016 11:41:38 AM · #16
Ok -- this has been pretty cool! I do love this place. I'm watching my membership count down -- 2 days left. And of course there's no issue about renewing. For some reason, I just let it count down. But how can you not stick around a place with such great people (even if they're definitely a pain in the ass at other times. ;)

I will be trying all the options, because I have enough photos to do so.

I'll be back with channel layer questions, because I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. But that's exciting in itself! :)

Huge thanks!
03/07/2016 12:16:33 PM · #17
Originally posted by vawendy:


I'll be back with channel layer questions, because I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. But that's exciting in itself! :)

Huge thanks!


http://www.bwvision.com/selections-part-2-channels/

03/07/2016 12:19:52 PM · #18
Originally posted by Mike:

Originally posted by vawendy:


I'll be back with channel layer questions, because I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. But that's exciting in itself! :)

Huge thanks!


http://www.bwvision.com/selections-part-2-channels/


Cool! I'm at the computer now. I'm going to go try this immediately! thanks
03/07/2016 12:31:02 PM · #19
Hmmm... It didn't work on one thing I picked. But I think it works on another problem I've had on photos. Definitely something with which to play! Intriguing...
03/08/2016 09:09:15 AM · #20
this is thumb to a composite of 12 individual portraits shot against this popup green-screen background purchased from amazon, individually edited in photoshop, then hand-stitched. the first few were labor intensive, but once i got the hang of it, it went fairly smoothly.

msob-fin-acad-poster-step-5c-web-Copy-e1457445103553-300x241.jpg
click the image to see the full image

i also used this 10x16' green-screen backdrop. for full-body and group shots.

of course you can use any color, but, as mike pointed out, lighting is the key. if you don't uniformly light the background, the selection takes work.

as for hair, there are a TON of tutorials and methods for dealing with it. just find one that works best for you.

good luck, have fun!

ps, the final composite was edited to mimic the "wall st journal" look ;-)

03/08/2016 05:21:09 PM · #21
Remask has probably been updated since your original purchase so do check that you have the latest version.
The one great thing about Topaz. You don't have to pay for the upgrades. Lovely!!!
03/08/2016 09:35:20 PM · #22
Since you already have ReMask, this should be quite easy. Just make sure the background is distinct from the models, it will make it a trivial task.
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