How to extend the background of an image with AI

By Michela Owen on October 25, 2023

By Michela Owen on October 25, 2023

Oh, the alluring world of photography! Where a picture is worth a thousand words, and a good background is worth a thousand pictures. Okay, I’m not great at math, but your background is important!

But what if your background falls short? Or what if your image isn’t quite the right dimensions, but you’d rather extend the background than crop the photo? Enter the magical realm of AI, the saving grace for us ‘mediocre’ photographers.

With a sprinkle of AI and a dash of creativity, extending the background of an image is as easy as pie!

Now, you may enjoy using Adobe Photoshop, or perhaps you’re a Canva enthusiast. Whichever camp you’re in, extending the background of your image is a stroll in the digital park.

Extending background with Photoshop

In just the last couple of months, Photoshop launched Generative Fill, although it was previously available in a beta version of Photoshop.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop.
  2. Use Edit > Canvas Size to resize your image’s canvas. (You can alternatively use the crop tool)
  3. Select the area you want to extend using the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
  4. Go to Edit > Generative Fill.
  5. In the Generative Fill pop-up, describe what you’d like to be in the selected area. You can also try leaving it blank if you want.
  6. Click OK to apply the changes and extend the background.
  7. Pick which of the three options you want from the thumbnails available.

Extending background with Canva

Canva has rolled out a nifty feature named Magic Expand that lets you extend your images in any direction.

  1. Ensure you have access to Canva Pro, Canva for Teams, Canva for Education, or Canva for Nonprofits, as Magic Expand is an exclusive feature for these versions. Also, make sure you are working within the latest Photo Editor within the Canva design editor.
  2. In a design, click on the photo you wish to edit. Note that Magic Expand doesn’t support images in frames, grids, or page backgrounds.
  3. On the editor toolbar, click on “Edit photo”.
  4. Under the Effects tab, you’ll find the option for Magic Expand. You can select from the available size options or simply drag any crop handle to expand your image beyond its original border.
  5. Hit the Magic Expand button and patiently wait for a few moments as your image is being processed to perfection.
  6. Remember, if you want to download your expanded image as a separate file, you will need to download it as part of a design.

Fair warning: AI doesn’t tend to do a great job with faces, hands, or transparent backgrounds. But with both Canva and Photoshop, you can try again if you don’t like the first results.

Now, isn’t that a piece of cake? With a bit of AI magic, you can turn your mediocre photo into a masterpiece. So, go ahead, extend those backgrounds, and let your creativity run wild!

Need help?

Now, if meddling with graphics isn’t your cup of tea, we totally get it. At Backslash Creative, we thrive on turning digital dilemmas into compelling visuals that tell your brand’s story. So, why not save time and leave the pixel-wrestling to us? We’d be thrilled to chat and see if we’re the right fit to bring your visual narratives to life. Get in touch with us today, and let’s make some digital magic together!

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