Choose a background screen color
A unique feature of Primatte Chromakey is that it works with any solid color screen, as long as that color is not present in the foreground subject. Blue and green are most commonly used in chromakey photography because they are rarely found in skin tones, and green is often preferred because it is less often in clothing. Here are important guidelines to follow.
- Contrast the color of the background screen & subject
- Be careful of white, black, gray
- Avoid red, yellow, brown
- Use a saturated color if possible
Contrast the color of the background screen & subject
This is a very important rule! The color used for your backing screen should NOT be present in the subject. If your model is wearing a blue shirt and she is photographed against a blue backing screen, the shirt may visually disappear when the blue background is removed. At right, our model has blue eyes and is wearing a jean jacket.
While Primatte Chromakey software can work around color similarities in a screen and subject, like a dark blue shirt against a medium blue screen, it is smartest to plan ahead and avoid the problem.
Be careful of white, black, gray
Some photographers try to solve the issue of color spill by using a neutral background of black, white or gray. While this cuts down on lights reflecting color onto your subject, it may cause other issues.
Black, white and gray baking screens are often problematic because those colors are found in almost every foreground object. Shadows are mostly composed of black. Highlights almost always contain white. A value of gray is often lurking in another color. This makes pulling a key extremely difficult, since Primatte doesn't know what color to focus on for extraction.
At right, the white background picks up some of the lighter colors of the vase, like peach and pale green. It also matches the bright white highlights that reflect onto the vase from the lights used for the photoshoot.
Avoid red, yellow, brown
Another color that you need to be careful of is red. A red screen can get too entangled with the red skin tones of human models. This is also true for yellow and brown since they are almost always found in skin tones. Blue and green are the best choices for photographing humans because these colors are least likely to be found in skin tones.
At right: While the screen in the photograph is well lit, its red color is too prominently found in the model's skin tones. This will cause a lot of issues during the Primatte Chromakey masking process.
Use saturated color if possible
If possible, use a saturated color for your screen. For instance, a rich blue will always work better than light blue or turquoise. There are numerous screen products manufactured in the colors of 'Chromakey Blue' and 'Chromakey Green'.
A professional screen in Chromakey Blue provides a smooth, bright saturated background.
This screen was created with blue paint on a board. While Primatte works with this blue, the color is too washed out for professional shoots.
Step Three: Choose a screen material