Photoshop for Multimedia Journalists

FadiagreenscreenfullwithgraphicI like working with green screens because of the limitless possibilities! One thing I’ve been actively working in perfecting is chroma keying in photoshop. As you’ll see over the jump there are many steps to get it just right. Learning photoshop is the gateway to learning more about compositing and editing which I will post about in a latter blog post. As a point of reference I used the following instructions found here:


This page demonstrates how to use Adobe Photoshop to create a transparent background.

The file will need to have a transparent layer, which can be achieved in two ways…

(1) Create a New Transparent File

Select File > New from the menu. A window opens like the one pictured right — this includes the option to make the file transparent.

Once the new file has been created, add your image content to one or more new layers. This will happen automatically if you copy and paste an image into the file.

(2) Add a Transparent Layer

You can add a transparent layer to an existing file by selecting Layer > New > Layer from the menu.

The new layer will be added above the currently selected layer. Drag the new layer below the image’s layer.



Starting off with a green screen image which I imported into photoshop.
End Result with photoshop chroma keying.
End Result with photoshop chroma keying.

2013-07-08 13.32.07

(3) Using the magic wand or lasso tool, select the area of the image you want to be transparent.

You may want to experiment a few times with the tolerance and anti-aliasing settings to get the best selection. In the example shown here, the following Magic Wand settings were used:

Magic Wand Properties
Hit the Delete button. The selected area is removed and the checkered (transparent) background becomes visible (See Below).
Use the eraser and/or blur tool to clean up any imperfections with the edges of your photo.
There is also the option to “refine mask”  (seen below).
I also used the “clone stamp” tool clean up the green around my hair line in the photo.

2013-07-08 14.16.222013-07-08 13.45.442013-07-08 13.33.512013-07-08 15.21.25Now that you have a transparent background you can save the file in a variety of formats, including GIF, TIFF, PNG and of course PSD.


  • JPG format does not support transparency.
  • If you find ugly edges around the image when you place it against a different background colour, see this solution.

2013-07-08 17.31.51

Got Questions or want to add to this post? Tweet me with #OneWomanBandit  @Fadia_Dame_Tele ! :-)


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