How to add people and objects into images using Photoshop.

Jascha Luca
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Knowing how to add people and objects into an image using Photoshop is quite a simple skill to learn and can be quite handy to know in today’s digital, social media obsessed world. If you’re completely new to the concept, or a little more advanced, in the tutorial below, you'll learn how to cut, resize, and manipulate an image, adjust layer masking.


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Adding an object or person to an image using Photoshop

The first step and the most important of all the steps is selecting the object you wish to add to your image.  It should be something that is going to match the angles, colours and scene to a certain degree. It is going to be possible later to change some of these aspects, however, it is always best to choose wisely and save yourself some work. Choosing the highest resolution image available to you is also going to be very helpful, as having more pixels to work with will make the final image blend better and look much more natural. For this example, I am going to use a simple base of adding a rock to a flat desert scene.

Beginning the process

Getting started, using the quick selection tool "W hotkey" click in the centre of the object you wish to cut out, and drag around inside the edges to select all the object. If you accidently select a wrong portion of area, you can just use the undo tool, or hold down the "shift key" and click again, this will remove a selection. Don't spend too much time being super precise with the tracing; we will fine tune the edges in another step shortly.


Next, copy the highlighted selection using “Ctrl+c” and paste it into position on the picture you’re working with, using “Ctrl+v” Now using the move tool, a line everything how you think it will work best with the scene, this can be a difficult little step, but it does get easier with practice. Next select the free transform tool "Ctrl T", and adjust the size of your object or person, to fine tune the placement. Remembering that we used a higher resolution image, especially for this purpose. If you were to use a smaller image and expand rather than shrink you will have to deal with some pixelation. This will also make it much more obvious that you have edited the photo.

Note: Holding “shift” when resizing. Will keep perspective and shape from distorting horribly.

Fine tuning the Selection you have just made.

To eliminate the excess of the person's background, you will have to use the “Layer mask tool”, which you can find at the bottom right corner, displayed to the right of the “fx” icon. Select a brush and adjust it to your desired size and flow rate. The more precise you can be, the better the final product will look. Try to use a small brush, and get as close to the subject as possible, sometimes have smoother edges is going to fit better with the scene rather than sharp direct lines, again this will take patience and a little practice. Zooming in close will also help with precision. Remember when using layer masks: Black erases, while white brings it back.


Note: It’s always good practice to name your new layers, especially when you have quite a few.

Once you've erased the excess parts of the image and smoothed the edges to fit, you will have a better idea of what size your item needs to be. Resize it again, if you feel it's needed. You may need to do a little more layer masking after this depending on how drastic the moves were.

Adjusting colours and tones to make the image fit more naturally.

Now how to make sure the colours better match the scene you are working with. Most of these options are found in the “fill or adjustment layer” one icon right from the “layer mask” tab again at the bottom right. There are several options you can use for this, Hue adjustment, levels adjustment and curve adjustment. To make the colour changes only apply to this one layer, make sure you right click on the new layer “hues, Levels, Curves” Ect and select create clipping mask. Otherwise, all the colours and tones will apply to the entire image. Finally, add in shadows to make the photo look as realistic as possible. This should also be done on a new layer to keep your work space tidy and easy to adjust, for shadows, a quick way is just using black and the brush tool and slowly darken the area shadows would normally fall.  If this is your first trying this technique it may seem a little hard, just keep practising because you will get used to using these tools quite quickly.  

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