Green Screen Photography

Green Screen Photography

Green Screen Photography by Hampshire Photographer, Martin from MH Photography

What is Green Screen Photography?

Green Screen Photography is the use of a green or blue backdrop it allows the use of any background that you or the client wants behind them. The news use this process for the weather.

How does this work?

To begin with a green/blue background is placed behind the subject. The subject needs to be placed about six feet from the background (helps minimize color bleed). As a minimum of two studio light are used to light the subject (but no hair light), these are set roughly at 45° either side of the subject and about six feet in front of them. This is to evenly light the subject and produce minimum shadow.

Set the lights to your preferred light setting then you are ready to start photographing.

Picture of a lady on a green background Green Screen Photography

Subject against a green background.

Photo software (Photoshop).

Colour Range

In the first place to create your masterpiece, the image(s) need to be processed in photo software. Load your image(s) into the software and process to your preferred RAW settings (you are using RAW) and it’s in editing space of Photoshop then the magic begins.

In the first place use the select-colour range. When the box appears use sampled colours (top of box), quick mask (bottom of box) and tick the invert box. Next use the left eyedropper to sample the green in the image. At this stage the green will turn orange. Keep using the eyedropper to pick the green background until it is all orange. It is important not to use the eyedropper on the subject. If you have a space between an arm and body this will change to orange as you click the green background.
Once you have an orange background slide the fuzziness slider to the right to ensure that all the background orange is similar. Click the OK button, the orange disappears and this leaves you with marching ants around the subject.

Next click select-fine edge and the refine edge box appears. In view mode, select a white background. Next tick smart radius and set the slider to 30. Next adjust the smooth slider to 15, tick the Output decontaminate colors and move the slider to 70. Set the output to new layer with layer mask. Now use the refine radius tool (next to the edge detection and choose by right clicking), set the brush size to about 78 and go around the hair. Once you have completed this click OK, this leaves you with the subject visible and no background.

Lady on no background Green Screen Photography

Use of Photoshop refine edge

The Magic

Now you need to click on the layer mask, set the mode above the mask to overlay. Select the brush tool, set this to overlay and brush opacity to 20%. Go around the hair, you will notice a slight shrinkage (try at 100% if you want to see it happen). 20% just adjusts slightly however you may still have a green color on the hair and possibly clothes.

The next step is to click, create new layer button. When the new layer appears in the layer stack, right click to the right of the layer and click create clipping mask (a little left hand bent arrow appears). Go to the blend mode above and click hue, then select the brush tool. At the top of the editing space you select Normal in the mode box and 100% opacity.

Put the cursor over the hair in the area you want the green to disappear. Use the alt keyboard button to select that area of hair, now brush over the area next to this and watch the green disappear. Continue doing this on the rest of the hair. If you have a green tinge on white clothing then use the same method. Once complete all of the green tinge should now be gone in the image. You can now introduce your new background as a new layer, you may have to move the layer down the stack.

That’s how simple it is. Now it’s time to experiment.

Lady on a white background Green Screen Photography

Using Photoshop to remove the green tinge around the hair.

Lady against a cream background Green Screen Photography

New background for the image

Picture of a lady against a car Green Screen Photography

Adding a different background

That’s how to use Green Screen Photography

Want to find out more, contact Martin and see what can be achieved.

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