In this video, I demonstrate how to add a background image to Blender in the viewport and in the Compositing tab. This process is different from including an image in the viewport on a plane or as a reference image.
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If you don’t have time to watch the video, you can follow along with the tutorial below.
Adding Background Images in Blender in the Viewport
Select the camera and click on the Camera properties tab. Check the Background Images option, open the dropdown, and click the Add Images button.
Click the Open button to choose an image from the computer. Navigate to where the image is located. Select it, and click the Open Image Button.
The image will appear desaturated. Click into the Opacity setting and change it to 1.000. This section also provides additional functionality, such as changing how the image is framed to the camera, the color space, and the position, rotation, and scale settings.
Even though the image is visible in the viewport, the image will not be rendered. To render the image, it needs to be added to the Compositing tab.
Adding Background Images in Blender in the Compositing Tab
At the top of the Blender screen, click the Compositing tab.
Click the Use Nodes checkbox at the top left to enable nodes. The viewport will be populated with the information from the scene, such as the Render Layers node and the Composite node.
In the Viewport, click the SHIFT and A keys to open the Add menu.
Click into Search box in the popup menu, and type Alpha Over.
Click the Enter key to drop the Alpha Over node into the viewport.
The Alpha Over node is used to layer images, so drag it between the Render Layers node and the Composite node. Dropping the Alpha Over node between the two nodes will connect it.
Click and drag the Render Layers connection down to the second Image connection on the Alpha Over node.
In the Viewport, click the SHIFT and A keys to open the Add menu. Click into the Search box in the popup menu, and type in Image. Click the Enter key to drop the node into the viewport. Connect the Image connection on the Image node to the top Image connection on the Alpha Over node. Click the Open button at the bottom of the Image node.
Navigate to the location where the image is stored. Select it and click the Open Image button.
The image is now visible in the Image node, and the node has been renamed to the image’s name.
The background image is not be visible if rendered. Instead, the background would be based on the World color setting.
To correct this issue, click on the Render properties tab, open the Film section, and check Transparent.
The image is now visible when rendered; however, in this instance, the background is not filling the camera view completely.
To correct this issue, in the Viewport, click the SHIFT and A keys to open the Add menu. Click into the Search box in the popup menu. Type Scale. Click the Enter key to drop the Scale node into the viewport. Drag the Scale node between the Image node and the Alpha Over node. Drop the Scale node to connect it. Change the dropdown option to the appropriate selection. In this instance, Render Size corrects the issue.