Al's Photoshop TutorialOld Course (Versions 4.0 through 6.x)

The Photo Background

This isn't just limited to Photos, of course. You can use any image as a background, such as a computer rendering or a scanned painting. Here I just found a crappy swimming pool picture on the net.

Save your work first; This step may be a bit damaging. Use File » Save As to save this version under a different name. Now, make sure all the layers for your character are turned on (Ink, Color, Shade, etc) but do not have the backgrounds on. In the layer window menu, select Merge Visible. This should give you a nicely transparent character.

Call up the picture you want in the background, and make sure its mode is RGB color. Then go to the layers window menu, to Duplicate layer. You'll want to change the Destination document to the one that has your character. Once this is done, you can close the background picture file, which should now also be in the character window. Be sure the background layer is behind your character's layer.

Now you can use Edit » Transform » Scale (under the Layer menu in versions 4 and below) to scale and align the background to the picture, and the picture to the background depending on which layer you start from.

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