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Yeah, that thing! I’m going to start with a confession: I generally avoid taking snapshots in my studio and then adding a nice background to them because hey, too much work and I’m lazy! However, if your computer can’t handle pretty sims, which are usually laggy, or if you want to make vendors for your poses or fatpacks, there are several ways to remove your avatar from the studio background and paste it on another one. I know at least four of them and they can all be successful – after working your ass out 😀

The trickiest part is the hair. That’s where the background can stick through your nicely cropped photo and sometimes removing it can be a huge pain in the ass. But I have some tips for you and you’ll see, they work just great!

Two pieces of advice, before we start:

1. work on high res photos until you’re ready to move the avatar on the new background. Some white bits will stick to the avatar edges, but they become less visible when you rescale the photo and they will be a lot easier to get rid of at that point.

2. Use contrasts: if your avatar has light hair/skin, use a black background, If you wear dark hair/skin, use a white background. If you have light skin and dark hair, use method 2 (shown below) with a green background (or any other color that is highly contrasting to  your outfit).

Now I’m going to show you two ways (they may seem complicated, but they are NOT, really) that will get you here:

Method 1: Using the mask

Step 1: Duplicate your avatar layer. On the original layer, that should remain on the bottom, we’re going to clone stamp some more hair in the area where the hair bits are mixed with he background. Select Colone Stamp tool in your toolbox, press Ctrl and click when selecting an area where the hair looks similar to the one we want to clone, then release the Ctrl key and color the hair bits. It may look weird and ugly, but it will be useful in the end! Before we finish with this layer, we need to add an alpha channel to it, so we can get transparency. Right-click on the layer, select Add Alpha Channel and that’s it. You can’t see it, but it will be useful later!

Step 2: Forget about the layer in the bottom and let’s play with the one we duplicated. The first thing you want to do is make it grayscale. Go to Colors/ Desaturate and then check Luminosity, for a better contrast. Then we want to make the photo black and white, so we need to increase the contrasts. I use Levels for that and play with the arrows until almost all the avatar becomes black.

Of course, there are white bits in the dress – that’s something you’ll always have to deal with, so I simply paint them black. When I finish that, and all the avatar is black and all the background is white, I go to Colors/Invert, so all the background becomes black and the avatar becomes white.

Now it’s time to add a mask to the main layer. Make sure you selected the first layer, the one witht the weird hair, right-click on it and select Add Layer Mask. Now go to the B&W layer, cut it (select it and press Ctrl X or go to Edit/ Cut) and paste it on the layer mask: make sure you selected the layer mask (click on it, then press Ctrl+V or Edit/ Paste). Now take a good look around it, there may be some bits of white color that you need to erase, but the hair is amazingly cut out!

See? I’m sure you’re going to LOVE the clone stamp!

Now, we can bring our pretty background in! First, right-click on your avatar photo and select Apply Layer Mask, then rescale it to the smaller size that you need. You’ll see that any flaw still left in it becomes less visible. Open your background photo, make sure both of them are at the same size, than paste your avatar photo. Before you anchor the pasted layer, you can blur a bit the avatar edges, so they look smoother in the final photo. Finish editing as usual.

See? Not THAT hard! Now let’s see

Method 2. Scary transparencies

Not that scary, actually 🙂

First of all, duplicate your main layer, and then make a new white layer (if your background is black or any other color, you will just have to use the color code instead).

Move the white layer beyond the duplicated avatar photo and then just delete the background, you won’t need that anymore.  Select the avatar photo and then go to Layer/ Transparency/ Color to Alpha. If your background is white, just click ok. If it’s another color, you’ll have to put in the color code and then click ok.

After you did that, you will notice that part of your avatar is transparent (third photo below). Well, we just have to fix that, right?

Right-click on the avatar layer/ click  Alpha to Selection. You’ll see that some parts of the selection are inside the avatar. That’s the white on the dress and skin. We’ll just have to paint that white – and now you understand why I was talking about contrasting colors in the beginning of this post 🙂

To get this done with, make the avatar layer invisible and make sure you select the white layer, then invert the selection (Ctrl+ I or Selection/ Invert). Now press Delete on your keyboard.

When you get to photo 2 below, paint the transparent bits on your avatar white. Make sure not to go beyond the avatar edges, because that will just add white background to your photo.

Now right-click on your layer and select Flatten Image.

You still have some little whiteish bits in your hair. Add a colored background layer to make them  become more visible. You’ll just have to burn them out. In your toolbox, select Dodge/Burn, choose Burn and Highlights. Use a solid brush on the hair edges.

I must admit I did something totally unprofessional here. I painted the transparent bits in the photo uneven and it didn’t look good on the new bagckground. Lazy me didn’t want to go back and repaint, so I just duplicated the resulting layer several times and merged them down until there was no transparency left.

Finally, resize, make the final touches and paste on the new background, as shown in Method 1 above.

Not that hard, is is? Easier than posting the credits, IMO :)))

Styling:

Skin: Akeruka Blanca Medium

Makeup: ROZENA ~Breezy eyeshadow green

Hair: [e] Found – Black 04

Dress: DCNY_Boho Baby Dress_Rainbow

Jewelry: *N@N@*Margarida set (hunt prize)

Pose: Label Motion

Background photo: Flickr Second Life Stock Images group

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