Smoothing the Background with a plain coloured Layer
Making the Background more uniform, smoother, less mottled, in Photoshop.
It’s a bit of a cheat, as many processes may seem to be, but it consists of judging your current background, assuming it to be heavily mottled, and choosing the colour(?) you want, dark areas or lighter ones, and trying to get all the rest to be the same, hence all of the same colour.
- Zoom in quite close, 300%-ish. move round to find the area you want and click on it with the eyedropper tool. When you click on the chosen bit it will make the foreground in the tools list on the left hand side near the bottom (two squares), change to the same colour.
- Click Image/Image Size and record on paper, the image size in pixels.
- Click on File/New, and enter those sizes you recorded, and click OK. You now have a white panel of the same sizes as your original picture.
- Click on Edit/Fill and a dialogue box shows foreground. Click OK, and the white panel will fill with the foreground colour, which is the colour you first chose by clicking on a bit of your original background. We now have to substitute this background for the original, but it will be very smooth and look artificial. So, add some noise.
- Click on Filter/Noise/Add noise and choose a level that suits you, I use 1,4% or so. Click OK, and the whole panel changes to suit. Now you have the original and beside it a same sized panel of the chosen background.
- You must now Select All (of the new background panel), Copy it, and Paste it onto the original file – So it is Control A, control C, then make the original picture the working layer and click Control V to load the new onto the original. It will make the original change to the new background but it will hide everything so only the new background is visible.
- To the Layers and you should see the two layers, the original and the new above it. and just above it should be the Blending Mode button click that and choose Lighten as your blending mode to blend both layers together. Click on the picture to confirm it.
- Zoom in quite closely and Click on Image/Adjustments/Brightness and Contrast, and move the Brightness slider till you feel comfortable with the result. Not too smooth or it will look false.
- Flatten the result. And finally adjust the darkness to suit your requirements. Mine background is about R22, G22, B24.
- Sometimes I don’t choose a part of the original background, but use my chosen numbers directly, R22, G22 and B24, to make the new panel.
There are other ways of course, but you need several to be able to choose one that suits the situation in hand rather than use only one method all the time. That will not always work.