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Greg Carpenter
Greg Carpenter

Fade Into The Background

There is a moment in Labelle's 1975 performance on the music variety show Don Kirshner's Rock Concert that tells you all you need to know about the celebrated trio. Patti LaBelle introduces her bandmates, acknowledging Nona Hendryx as the group's main songwriter and Sarah Dash as, affectionately, "Miss Silver Throat." And then, the three perform "(Can I Speak to You Before You Go To) Hollywood" from the 1973 album Pressure Cookin', a song in which each woman takes a turn singing lead. Dash's solo lives up to her introduction: Soaring high, her voice is every bit the sound that New York Times critic Clayton Riley once described as "sensual human warmth, often fragile but never helpless, a voice that is clear at its center, cream at the edges." But as the performance continues, the women's sisterhood comes into relief. In the song's final moments, they each move from the different sections of the stage from which they have been performing and press close together in a tight circle, singing at full throttle, voices intertwined.

Fade Into The Background

By the end of the decade, the demand for girl groups had subsided and Birdsong had left the group to join The Supremes. Dash, LaBelle and Hendryx realized they needed to change in order to stay relevant, and enlisted the help of Vicki Wickham, a white English music industry professional who had befriended the group when she booked the Bluebelles on the British pop music television program Ready, Steady, Go! in 1966. Wickham agreed to be their manager, and together the four women devised a new concept, one that tapped into the energy of late '60s counterculture and pushed beyond the romance themes that dominated pop music. Breaking with the girl-group tropes of identical costumes and indistinguishable personalities, each of the women of Labelle would choose a stage costume that conveyed her individuality: There was the fiery earth mother LaBelle, the cool androgyny of Hendryx and Dash's sleek and flirtatious femininity.

In this tutorial, I show you how easy it is to fade an image into any background color with Photoshop. This is a great way to blend an image into a larger design, or for creating space to add text beside your subject.

We'll start by creating a new document and placing an image into it. Then we'll choose an initial color for the background, and fade the image into the color using a layer mask. Finally, I'll show you how to change the background to any color you like, including how to choose a color directly from the image itself.

Photoshop places the image into the document, and it opens the Free Transform command so we can resize the image if needed and move it into place. If your image is larger than the document size, Photoshop will automatically resize it to fit, as it did here (fashion portrait from Adobe Stock):

To make more room for the image to fade into the background, move your subject over to the side by pressing and holding the Shift key on your keyboard and dragging the image left or right. Holding Shift limits the direction you can move, making it easier to drag straight across:

In the Color Picker, you can choose any color you like. But I'll choose white for now by setting the R, G and B values to 255. We'll come back and change the color once we've faded the image into it.

Now because we can't see the image yet, we're not going to get things right on the first try. But the idea is to drag out a black to white gradient across the layer mask in the area where we want the image to fade into the color.

Then with your mouse button still held down, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and drag across the area where you want the image and the color to fade into each other. So this will be the transition area between the color and the image. Holding the Shift key as you drag limits the angle of the gradient so it's easier to drag straight across:

We can see the gradient by looking at the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel. The black area of the mask is where the fill layer is 100 percent hidden, allowing the image below it to show through. The white area is where the fill layer is 100 percent visible and blocking the image from view. And the gradient in between is where they fade together:

The opacity setting in the Layers panel gives you fine control over the background transparency of your image or a layer within your image. Using this feature, you can fade an image into transparency or put a colored background behind your layer for it to fade into.

Create a new fill or adjustment layer by clicking the circle icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select Solid Color from the drop-down menu. Select a color of your fade in the color picker and click OK.

Specify the gradient as the first image so it gets stacked on top, and use it to fade from transparent at the top to the opaque background-color at the bottom. This will give the illusion the image underneath is fading into the background without requiring alpha-transparency on the image itself.

While you can have a background gradient, that would appear behind an image, as the background images are placed over background color. In order to have the image look like it is fading into another color, you would need to place another tag on top of that the body such as:

Some people can easily fade into the background intentionally, wanting to find a way to disappear. They have an ability to go from interacting with others, to making it seem like they were never there. Here is how easily you can fade into the background, based on your personality type.

While INFPs can have charismatic and comedic personalities, they are also capable of fading into the background. INFPs can sometimes be seen as more outgoing, which makes it surprising to some that they are introverts. They can be very entertaining and fun people, but they simply reach their limit when it comes to social interaction. When the INFP is feeling drained they will often try to fade into the background and find a way to slip away from all of the noise.

ISFJs can certainly fade into the background, especially if someone they love wants the spotlight. They enjoy being able to make others happy, and rarely want to be the center of attention themselves. ISFJs actually enjoy being able to observe their loved ones enjoying themselves, without having to fully get in the middle of things. They do require time to themselves in order to recharge, and too much social interaction can be a bit overwhelming for them.

ISTPs can certainly fade into the background, and often prefer it this way. They can give of a mysterious vibe with their demeanor sometimes, only interjecting when they feel a strong desire to. They do enjoy being able to inform people, and will step out of the shadows to give correct information. ISTPs simply prefer being on their own most of the time, since they become drained quickly by most people. They will enjoy being around the ones who do not drain them as much, but they are rarely chatty people.

ISFPs can sometimes fade into the background naturally, but this depends on who is around them. When they are with the right people they can become the center of attention, enjoying the energy they give off. If the ISFP is around people who make them feel uneasy or drains them quickly, they will want to fade into the background. For ISFPs it is often about the energy they feel around them, and what it inspires them to do.

To use a solid color, select your background layer and then the Paint Bucket tool. As mentioned before, this might be stacked with your gradient tool. If so, right-click on the gradient tool and then select the paint bucket.

Make sure your background image is selected and then press Command-t (Mac) or Control-t (Windows). Now you can change the size, proportion, and location of your background image.

Hey, Can Affinity Designer blend an image into a solid background color (thereby extending the image) as you can see done in the attachment? If so, how? If not, can affinity photo do this? Also, what is this actually called?

I would like the floor and all other geometry to progressively fade off into the background with distance, preferably after a given distance point from the camera or non-linearly. This in order to make the horizon less edgy/crisp.

With volumetrics enabled, I created a cube and fitted it over my scene geometry so it will be wrapped inside the cube. I made a material for it and removed its shader so nothing goes into the output surface socket. I did as above and plugged a volume scattering/absorption node into its output volume socket.

For the roads material (first, and then for every material subject to be faded into the background) with its settings Blend Mode set to either of Alpha Hashed or Alpha Blend, I used the Camera Data node View Z Depth socket to mix the original shader with a transparent BSDF by plugging it into a mix Shader Fac socket. I was able to adjust the starting distance point at which things start to fade with some math nodes.

Apparently in order to have only the geometry rendered in a layer, one needs to set in Render settings->Film, Alpha to transparent instead of Sky, and there's no environment checkbox in the passes options of view layers. There's also no Environment socket in the render layers node in compositor. So even if I get all my geometry to render over a transparent background, I don't know of any means to blend it over the proper part of the original background, as the only means I know of, of getting the original background into compositing is through an Image node for which there are no input sockets or an apparent way (to me) of mapping it correctly, so I'm getting the wrong part of the background. If it matters, my background is in png format, not exr or hdr.

The other nodes calculate the 'fade' based on distance - but only for 'Camera' rays (since we don't want the 'fade' to affect how the mesh interacts with the rest of the lighting of the scene, only how it appears to the camera. The Divide controls how far away from the camera the scene should fade, while the Color Ramp affects the profile of the fade (change those to affect the 'hardness' and distance of the fade). 041b061a72


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