Take cut-&-paste further by compositing elements onto textured, colour backgrounds. Brian Grant shows you how on a piece of his fantastic work…

Image backgrounds in digital art can be more than simply act as incidental scenery to a piece of work. Rather, with good planning and some honed colour skills, it’s possible for backgrounds to frame an image in an incredible variety of ways.

For this tutorial, leading designer and artist Brian Grant shows us how he has created one of his latest pieces, and in the process using the background to transform a basic image of a model to create a futuristic work of art.

The key to this is to successfully manage a great image extraction of the foreground object, then use the gradient tool to transform a background.

Step 1
The image that we start with is Rachel, a model from a recent fashion show. To start, convert the image from RGB to CMYK by choosing Image > Mode > CMYK.

Step 2
Choose Filter > Extract, and choose 100 as your brush size. Draw around the model, and then fill it, then click OK. Everything that is not filled in will be deleted. If your hand is not that steady you can hold down Shift and click to create the outlines more easily.