White Seamless Questions :: Part 1 (Video)

June 27, 2008 | • Resources • Technique

I have now compiled the questions that have come in about the White Seamless tutorial that we have been going through here on the blog. Find parts 1 through 5 under the “technique” category to the left.

There were some questions that came through via the comments, email, and flickr about post production in PhotoShop that I discussed in part 4 of the white seamless tutorial. I done and went and got me a screen capture program to walk you through some clean up procedures, cropping, and that multiply mode change as well as showing an image shot WITHOUT the tile board and how to clean up the floor.

Please excuse the crappy audio quality and all that. I’ve now done and went and got me one of them dang ol’ audio interfaces that has more buttons than a 747 cockpit. I’m trying to figure that out now for future blog posts. I am working on all of the other questions this weekend and through next week. We are in the middle of the final editing and authoring stages of the OneLight DVD so bare with me as I get that priority off my plate first.

To view the video full screen, see it on the the blip page here. I’m not sure why it will not toggle to full screen on the embedded video above.

Cheers, Zack

PS – Tell me what you think about blip.tv. I like that I can upload widescreen videos and I love the user interface more than YouTube. What are your thoughts?


  • Chris said on June 27, 2008

    I LOLd when you gave the corresponding PC shortcut. Thanks for that, and thanks for this phenomenal series of tutorials. Please do more!!


  • Jeff said on June 27, 2008

    I like blip.tv better as a player than youtube b/c the quality seems a ton better. Good video too btw!

  • Induk Han said on June 27, 2008

    That’s Perfect!

  • Kurt Damron said on June 27, 2008

    I don’t know much about Blip, but I’ve been on Vimeo for a while now. It rules over YouTube for several reasons. It will allow you to upload widescreen in full HD. That’s right, HD. And it plays back in HD. There are all sorts of other cool things about it, too.

  • Jason said on June 27, 2008

    Great tutorials – I really like the video and I like blip.tv very nice to see all of the screen.

    Keep up the great work…BTW when are you coming to Phoenix to hold a workshop?

  • Wes said on June 27, 2008

    Thank you so much for what you are doing. This is a great help to me. Looking forward to the DVD.

  • Nathan Hulse said on June 27, 2008

    Great, I’d already tried the crop tool method. but corrected the whites with slight levels adjustment. Now O know an easy method. Thanks.

  • Samantha Spears said on June 27, 2008

    This is great! I just shot some white seamless yesterday and I can save a LOT of time with these shortcuts over clipping masks.

  • Dean said on June 27, 2008

    Once again, nice job! i reeaally like to see the shot right out of the camera. Then all the post work. Makes me feel like I have a fighting chance. Love the dodge and multiply tricks.

  • Mart said on June 27, 2008

    WOW, thanks, even more to try now!

  • Shawn Cartagena (remember it) said on June 27, 2008

    Ok Chief Love what your doing. I don’t know how involved you are with Dave Cross and the gang but to me I hold you right up there if not higher than a lot of the greats.

    Your passion eminates.

    Oh yeah wife kicked me in the arse for rushing out and pissing away$$$$$ to play like you.( White seemless, Background stand, additional Hensel head)I still need more toys and studio but still making due with what I have and still playing.
    Can’t get enough of what your doing.
    You got it so Keep on Keeping on.

  • Khara Plicanic said on June 27, 2008

    Love it! What screen capture software is that? The green ‘click’ circles are fab. :)

    Looking forward to your workshop in KC!

  • Chris said on June 27, 2008

    @Khara Plicanic

    ZA’s using ISHowU (http://www.shinywhitebox.com/home/home.html) for the screencasting. I’ve just started using in for work, myself, and I have to say it is very easy to use. It’s a $20 piece of software for the Mac. If you need something cross-platform and/or currently free, I’d suggest Jing (http://www.jingproject.com/). It saves files as .swf, and you can pull the embed code without alot of headache.


  • Alan B. said on June 27, 2008

    Dude! That was awesome! Thanks for sharing this info. The video quality was great too.

  • Trey said on June 27, 2008

    fantastic work Zack!

    i just did a big test yesterday and your tutorial was referenced no fewer than 27 times. we were scratching our heads over the floor issue – i just couldn’t get it to go perfectly white in camera & spent time last night wondering how you do it…

    …turns out, you did it the same as me.

    you are awesome & i gave you a shout out on my blog. thanks for the inspiration.

  • Stuart Allen said on June 27, 2008

    great video… I tried the PC shortcut for dodge and it didn’t work, guess it was user error 😉

    thanks for the really easy to understand explanations on how to touch up white seamless. great video and now I know about blip as well.

  • zack said on June 27, 2008

    @Chris – Yep, you are correct. I used iShowU for the screen capture. Its a great program. I also used their other product, Stomp, to compress the video for web. It brought the original 804 MB file down to 54 MB.

    Thanks for the shouts on the blogs!


  • Ian said on June 27, 2008

    Love the video quality, and great tips. I use the same technique daily to get previews ready for our portrait customers.

    I made it into an action, so you hit go and it brings up a levels layer pushing the midtones so you can see dark areas, then leaves this layer on top of the background but selects the background layer again, then selects the dodge tool set to the right presets. Then you can dodge away any dark areas on the bg whilst still having the levels layer on showing where they are. Once your done you just delete the levels layer!

    Nothing revolutionary but I find it helps me.



  • Michael Tissington said on June 27, 2008

    Great video – thanks mucho!

  • Martin from Hamburg said on June 27, 2008

    Nice! Thanks for sharing this great video 😉

    Greets from Hamburg,

  • squilky said on June 27, 2008

    I got the gradient portion to work, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get the part where you select with the marquis tool and hit delete to replace the areas that aren’t pure white with pure white. Anyone else have this problem?

  • D_2 said on June 27, 2008

    Dang…that was the bomb diggity

    I’m pretty sharp with Photoshop but never gave much thought to manipulating my composition by utilizing the rectangular marquee and dragging to make new compositions.

    Excellent…many many thanks Zack

  • zack said on June 27, 2008

    Squilky – Is the photo you are working on a locked background layer?


  • peter bang said on June 27, 2008

    Great Stuff man. I also use blip and I like it that it’s clean and converts it to flash.

  • Bliss said on June 28, 2008

    Great quality, and the contents… OMG, that’s awesome!! Thanks a lot, Zack :)

  • Stuart Allen said on June 28, 2008


    One more question regarding the screencast. Did you record it at the true resolution of your desktop then reduce it in the conversion?

  • matt miller said on June 28, 2008

    freakin killing it zack. thanks for opening up your bag of tricks!!!!

  • zack said on June 28, 2008

    Hey Stuart,
    I did capture at my full screen resolution (1920×1200). Then I used Stomp to compress it for blip.tv. iShowU has a lot of capture options. You can even capture at 1080 HD levels. Just hope you have enough room on your hard drive to handle it! :)


  • Brentv said on June 28, 2008

    Zach, Great tutorial. Next time please turn up the Dr Dre Chronic Instrumental up a touch!

  • Levi Ely said on June 28, 2008

    I about peed my my pants when you told PC users to hit control+alt+delete as a short cut to unlock the background layer. I don’t know If I enjoy the commentary or the actual tutorials more.


  • John said on June 30, 2008

    Zack, thanks for a great set of tutorials. The video was first rate as good as i have seen any where. Please please do more. A tutorial on light ratios balancing ambient with flash and how to meter would be great. Your blog is fantastic thanks for sharing the information and taking the time.

  • jimmy douglas said on June 30, 2008

    Hey Zack,
    Really loved the tutorials – and blip.tv ROCKS with the full screen.
    I was really amazed the way you used the (for lack of a better term) the reverse crop tool. I never realized you could extend the boarders of a photo that way. So much easier then changing the canvas size.


  • Ed Bush said on June 30, 2008

    I wanted to say thanks for a great tutorial. I went out and picked up all the stuff a few weeks ago when I first saw the posting. Tried and tried but kept having the less than white foreground and was beating my head against the wall trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Now all the pictures I shot I will go back and quickly fix. This was a great vid thanks again.

  • Jeremy said on June 30, 2008


    I thought I was doing something “wrong” still, since I had a little clean up to do (although after adding the tile board and a 2nd bg light, post work dropped a ton).

    I was still left wondering if my floor area around the subject should be coming out of the camera better. Since that area is basically being lit by the same light/lights as the subject, I guess that’s what you work with and PP it later. Glad to see I wasn’t totally off!

  • wale said on June 30, 2008

    thank you so much!! this is incredible. i really can’t wait for your DVD.

    blip looks good.

  • David Burke said on July 1, 2008

    Blip.tv is awesome. The quality and lack of clutter rules. iShowU is great too, I am going to try Stomp as well.

    Thanks for this great tutorial. You are such a Giver dude!


  • Jim said on July 2, 2008

    Awesome vids and tips all around.
    I’m wondering if you have any ideas on a more portable solution for the tile board.

    I thought about simply cutting a piece, but I worry about seams and the pieces sliding apart and making someone fall.

    I wonder if there is a roll or something or other that would reflect just as well, but be more easily transported for location shoots.


  • zack said on July 2, 2008

    I think vinyl is the portable option although I have yet to find the perfect vinyl that doesn’t have some sort of pattern placed in it.


  • Jim said on July 3, 2008

    Hmmm, I saw a clip where someone uses the back of vinyl as a white backdrop that is durable and paintable. . . Just maybe, I could make it work if I can keep it from flaking. When rolled up. . .

  • Suellen said on July 10, 2008

    OHG!! Thank you so much for these tutorials! You make it so easy to understand. The only other person I’ve found that can make the complicated seem easy is Scott Kelby. You rock!!

  • Peter said on July 13, 2008

    Nice video!

    Just an additional little tip: If you want to use a background that is not really white in the area where the subject is going to be, you can use the “blend if” sliders in the layer blending options of the subject layer instead of switching it to multiply mode as you demonstrated.

    Just double click the layer with the subject on white and drag the white slider under “this layer” to the left. This drops out all the white. If you hold down the option key while dragging, you can split the white slider in two, which gives you a softer transition.

  • Mark said on August 4, 2008

    Thanks for this detailed instruction on the white seamless. You are a savior. This has helped my high key tremendously. THANKS!!!!!

  • michaeldrager said on August 5, 2008

    Thanks so much for the time you invest in making us better photographers and more importantly better people.

    You are appreciated my friend!


  • Phil Monk said on August 11, 2008

    Just a note to say thanks for the white seamless info… just used it for work, very very cool. Best to you for sharing w/ other.

    Kindergarten musta been a breeze 4u.

  • chi said on August 18, 2008

    all tutorials should be video for us who cant read. Thanks

  • ML Photography said on August 20, 2008

    Thanks a ton for these tutorials! They have greatly reduced my learning curve and efficiency.


  • Tricia said on August 23, 2008

    Thank you SO much for generously sharing all of this information with us! It is greatly appreciated!

  • ale said on August 29, 2008

    THANK YOU!!!!

  • Carl Weaver said on September 1, 2008

    This was a great video. Very informative and interesting.

    Blip.tv is awesome. I use it almost exclusively for my videos. Tried others but none really compare to Blip.tv.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Neil Cowley said on September 2, 2008

    that’s a fat high-res look, are they hosting Hi-Def? I’ve switched to Vimeo cause they’ll host hi-def….but that’s really sharp too

  • Noel said on September 23, 2008

    ¡Muchas Gracias!

    My isolated micro-stock images are at 100% acceptance since employing your technique!

  • Serge said on October 1, 2008

    This is an awseome tutorial! I used another technique for whitening backgrounds, but yours is much faster and easier. Why have I never thought of this? :-)

  • Faze One Studio said on October 1, 2008

    Really interesting, i just thought it was a bit redundant that you repeated \the tut , when i could have watched it again…..lol

  • Mario Monti said on October 4, 2008

    Thank you.

    I’m a PC user, but I still find your Ctrl-Alt-Del comment funny… :)


  • danny said on November 21, 2008

    zach im gona call u that now after seing that video lol

    Realy good work there mate i never thought of that before with the crop idea.

    also you mention tileboard what is that and where do i get it?

  • Samantha said on January 4, 2009

    LMFAO at your Bob Ross reference!

    Thanks for the video. It was very informative.

  • David Clark said on February 18, 2009

    Zack you are the man i swear to goodness.

  • Dale said on February 18, 2009

    The Video seems to have been replaced with a different video. It was there yesterday but it’s a different video today. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to play it again.

  • zack said on February 18, 2009

    I uploaded a new video to blip today and it replaced this one. I’ve now fixed the embed code.


  • Mark said on February 20, 2009

    Is there going to be a part 2?

  • Jim said on February 25, 2009

    Very good info Zack. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. You make it look too easy. :-)

  • Melli said on February 28, 2009

    This was a very helpful video! Thank you!

  • jjp said on March 22, 2009

    this whole set of white seamless tutorials is awesome — i’ll be going back and rereading/watching many more times.

    one nice tip to add:
    for those who like to work non-destructively, you can do the dodge/burn on a separate layer. hold option and click on New Layer (layers palette), then set the blending mode to Overlay and check the “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray)” box.
    from there it’s the same as what you’ve done, except using the Paintbrush instead of the Dodge tool (white to dodge, black to burn).
    this also works using Soft Light mode, with slightly gentler effects.

  • Stefanos said on March 26, 2009

    You are an constant inspiration and i ‘d like to thank you for this.


  • JimA said on April 18, 2009

    That was great. Thank you.

  • anita said on April 25, 2009

    I have been up since 6am this morning looking at your stuff, i have hit the mother load you are great! i have been tempted to call you at 6:30 am to ask you questions (im real eager to learn) i live in a small town of moultrie ga. and i am tring hard to be the best i can in photography but with little money and four kids its hard to get the stuff i need. can i use a halogen light(s) (worker light from hd) for the lighting or do i really need the strobe lights? and how do you keep the seam from showing up on the tile boards? Im just learning so some photography terms are forein to me. and could you post more links on were we could get some of these things that you say we need please. i know, im needy. sorry

  • KeenB said on May 7, 2009

    Great post-processing technique. I learned a lot just watching your video. I’m a big fan of your shots. Hopefully I’d get to pick up a nice white seamless backdrop soon and try out more full body length shots. Thanks again!

  • wade said on May 23, 2009

    how can i changed my white background to a solid color?

  • zack said on May 24, 2009

    @wade – Instead of making a gradient, make the bottom layer the solid color you want. You will just need to then make a layer mask on it to paint out the area affecting your subject.

  • Sheri Johnson said on June 8, 2009

    this video is awesome. it stopped playing at a certain point, but it’s still good stuff.

  • Little said on August 2, 2009

    what’s the name of the song in the background? I love it!

  • Wayne said on September 16, 2009

    That clean up tip with the dodge tool is too awesome. I have spent days laboring over those very details in my on-white shots ….. THANKS!!

  • Rhonda said on October 23, 2009

    I really enjoy your helps…the videos especially. I have been watching and reading on getting a seamless white background.

  • Todd said on November 4, 2009

    Man I don’t know what I’d do without my dodge tool…I need to pick up some tile boards. I only own one strobe, but even with just that I can do a lot. Using a white shower curtain tacked as a ghetto-fabulous backdrop, head and shoulders type shots over white are coming out great. Having a decent past as a graphic designer I’m good with the pen tool, but the pen tool isn’t as fun or as easy as the dodge tool for these types of isolations.

  • Eric Codrington said on December 20, 2009

    That was a great video! I learned so much. Now I’m off to practice on my sister. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kris said on December 25, 2009

    This tutorial is the best I’ve seen so far (and I have seen a lot!)! I’ve learned so much simple things. Before the tutorial I used much more difficult things to have the same result. No I can spend more time with the kids! Thanks!

  • Agenda said on March 11, 2010

    Just been watching some of your webtorials and I must say… Amazing!

    Thank you!

  • bruce said on March 18, 2010

    amazing genius!!! i did this set up almst exactly in my basement works great still losing pure white on the floor around feet but zarias is genius!!!

  • Mecca said on May 13, 2010

    I am beginning my start in photography and editing and I must say you have taught me some great tools. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Debbi said on July 20, 2010

    Blip won’t play on my iPad:0(

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