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Clean Up A White Background With Levels And a Paint Brush 42 Comments

In this tutorial, I show you a quick trick I use to clean up the edges of white renders. I often use these white renders on my websites, and having anything other than white on the edge will show the seam. It’s a simple trick using levels, but it helps you find any pixels that aren’t pure white and paint them out. I was using this this morning and thought it may be helpful to make a quick video. Hope it helps.


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  1. This is so perfect for my current project thank you!

    I’m after a bit of help creating something using the techniques from this video

    Any ideas where I can find tutorials along the lines of this. Thank you.

  2. Rafael Coelho

    Great Nick! As always a great tutorial, nice tips.

    Thank you, you do a great work 😉

  3. Jenson

    1. Render Image
    2. Add Layer Mask in PS
    3. Add a radial gradient to it (like a vignette)
    4. ???
    5. Profit

    • 1. Bring image to PS/AE
      2. make circle mask
      3. add feather

      in ps you can draw on mask with brush
      in ae you adjust mask by moving points

          • Tim A.

            Well, Use the multipass, shadows can be retrieved per light or as a global shadow pass. Besides a multipass setup the closest thing I have seen is the shadow catcher plugin. That will definitely work…

          • nick, you need to fix your title, its terrible english!!

  4. Volker

    adjust layer > levels > bring the white arrow (on the right) in to the left just a litle bit > blend out the adjustment by painting a black spot in the middle on the adjusment layers maks

  5. Diego

    Great as always, nick. It’s these subtle changes that differentiate an amateur designer from a professional one.

    I’d love to see more modeling tutorials around here… That alarm clock looks AMAZING!

    Anyways, thought I’d hop by and show my appreciation. Keep it up! Greyscalegorilla is the best online resource for learning Cinema 4D. Regards from Argentina!

  6. er.. “clean up a white background edges…” ? think you need to revise that title nick. TYPO

  7. Sam Baggase

    This has the be the biggest waste of human energy. Great tutorial though

  8. kidding

    This is the most sensless Tutorial ever. I need to do so many Pure White Background renders i cant believe what i see here.

    What the Users realy need isnt a painted mask in PS or AE. Its a Scene-preset in cinema that avoids that problem completly. So it would be much easier to change your scene then editing tons of images that way.

    Its getting more hilarous every day – GSG made my laugh of the day

    • PixBox

      Hi kidding,

      could you please explain what exactly “Its a Scene-preset” means. I have no idea how to avoid the problem completely in advance. Looking forward to your brief instruction on this. :-)


  9. Manefaces

    He Nick
    THX for that thiny nice trick (i do it like that for years now).
    But that’s not the reason for my message. i dont know how i can contact you otherwise so i use this comment for to make a request for a very very badly needed request.

    I really ned to know how this was made. I experimented with som cloth tags and Thrausi plugin stuff but it wont come out the way i want it.

    So if you have time and kind of Interesst to figure out how this was made i would be very Thankful.


  10. haha funny, doing a lot of work on the edges and than crop that part off 😛
    but thanks again for the tutorial!

  11. Thanks, Nick. I like the “Levels Blaster” trick to spot the trouble areas!

  12. Hi Nick, what screen capture tool do you use? I use Apple-shift 3 but I would prefer to select only part of the screen. Thanks for your site, it has made beginning in 3D a lot less daunting, even fun!

      • Great! Is there a way to make the part of the screen you grab with Apple shift 4 store in your clipboard rather than become a file on your desktop?

  13. Baris Oktem

    Thank you for tutorial and i also ask same thing about model is it free? If it’s free where can i find that?
    Thanks again….

  14. Hi guys,

    I think the best practice for avoiding this kind of adjustment, and losing part of the subject, is rendering without the pre-multiply option. This way you can use your image in whatever background you want.


    • Thomas

      Could you explain this a little bit more? I want to render an object and it’s shadow on a transparent background.

      In 3d Ma there was a material called Matte/shadow you could use for just this sort of thing.

      I know there is a way to do this using object-buffers and multipass rendering, but this is beyond my skills in cinema (for the moment).

  15. Sandro Forbice

    Just use the Alt Key while you drag the highlight cursor on Levels and you’ll see where the problematic not 255 areas are. :)

  16. thanks for the tut but still the guys at maxon should really take care of the Cinema4D render engine at messes every thing . incorrect Illumination noisy shadows …. etc

  17. In 3DS Max, there is an option to set an shader to the floor, that is receiving shadows, but not displays the diffuse colors. It’s Called Shadow Matte and it is used for such problems.
    When you render a scene, you get an image with an Alpha and tranparancy. Also you get the shadow on the floor, without rendering the floor herself.

    There are some plugins available for Cinema4d, but I never tried them. Has anybody some tricks for this, because this tutorials is an option, but not extremely satisfying…

  18. This seems a pretty roundabout way of doing things. You can eliminate eliminate any unwanted noise on the floor by adding a Compositing tag to the floor, and simply check ‘Compositing Background’. It’ll still pick up shadows, but there will be no horizon line to worry about.

    Yes, there may still be some shadows around the edge of the render, but these can brushed out in a matter of seconds in PS.

  19. you definitly should try shadow catcher – you get all your shadows and a nice clean alpha channel.

    the big profit is, that you can use your render on variety of backgrounds afterwards

  20. Old Man Dave

    @ Gary
    As far as I know (AFAIK, for all you crazy kids) Shadow Catcher doesn’twork with HDR lit scenes as there’s no “real” shadows

  21. simo

    My best Cinema 4d ever . Thank you guys. I was scared of cinema 4d, started watching you guys and following you and i’ve been getting better and better


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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.