September 16, 2013

Adding Wallpaper to Photos: A Tutorial

See my full disclosure policy here.

I was playing around with Photoshop, trying to figure out how to use the magic eraser tool {yes, I should have figured that out long ago}. While I was trying to figure that out, I figured out how to erase a background and add a new one. So I thought I'd share.


It also works great for indoor shots. You can take a cute, but somewhat boring, shot and really make it pop.

Or here is one with just a little bit added in the upper left hand corner of the photo. Can you tell I had some fun playing around? This is a really old picture, left over from my vintage rosettes tutorial.

 You can also replace the floor. You get a fun, textured backdrop without the hassle of slivers or lead-based paint.

 Here's how to get the same effect yourself.


Just so you know: I use Photoshop Elements 9. That is the only version of Photoshop I have ever used, so I have no idea if this works in other versions. I have never written a Photoshop tutorial before, so let me know if you have questions, and I'll try to answer them. 

Okay, here we go.


First, select image on the menu and scroll down to open Magic Extractor.

Now you need to tell it what is foreground and what is background. Foreground is red, background is blue. I just scribble all over. There is also an eraser button if you color outside the lines. Background is where the wallpaper will be; foreground is everything else.

Click preview in the upper right hand corner. It will give you an idea of what you still need to do. Keep coloring with the red and blue, clicking preview to check your work, until you get it where you want it. Smaller details take longer. You can adjust the size of the brush to help you get in the smaller spaces.

You can also change the background color. With some images, the higher contrast gives you a better idea of what is going on. When you have it where you want it, there is a sharpen tool on the left that you can use to sharpen any fuzzy lines you have.

When you're done tweaking, click okay and it will take you back out to your main screen, with just your foreground.

Open the file you want to use as your wallpaper. You can use your own file, or do a search for "free photoshop textures". I found mine here.

Select all on the wallpaper and copy it.

Go back to your first image and click Layer>New>Layer and hit okay.

Paste your wallpaper onto your new layer. I like to turn off the original layer so that it is out of the way. Select the move tool and resize it to fit your image, then click the green check mark. 

It will look like this. Notice that this layer is on top.

Switch the layer order so that your original image is on top (turn the layer back on). The wallpaper will show through where you removed the background. Merge your layers and flatten the image and you can edit it however you'd like.

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