How to use the built-in Elements Graphics creatively

04 Your new background

Elements Graphics

When you add a graphic, it’s always added to your picture as the background image – and be aware that it will replace any existing background. That’s why it’s important to promote your existing image to a new layer first.

Here, it’s worked perfectly. My cutout of the statue is now overlaid on the background I’ve just added.

05 Transformation tools

Elements Graphics

Now to work this up into something more ambitious. First, I want to match the perspective of the background to that of the statue, so I select the background layer and hit the ctrl/command-T shortcut to activate the transformation tool. This will automatically promote the background to a full layer, by the way.

To adjust the perspective, ctrl/command-drag the corner handles. Here, I’ve moved  the base handles further apart and dragged to the top handles together to make the background wider at the base and narrower at the top – to give it the appearance of vertical perspective, in other words.

06 Background adjustments

Elements Graphics

I think the background needs to be darker, so I’ve added a levels adjustment layer directly above the background (not the top layer) and I’ve pushed the grey point slider (circled) to the right to create the darkening effect.

07 Spot effect

Elements Graphics

But I also want to create a ‘spotlight’ effect on the background, so I’ve selected the Gradient tool, chosen a black-white gradient and created a radial gradient on the adjustment layer’s mask, with black in the centre to mask the darkening effect and white at the edges to allow it to come through.

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