How to Start With a Black Background in Photoshop

Though white is generally the default background color when creating any new document in Photoshop, this doesn’t mean that it always has to be that way. Depending on the design you are working on, sometimes it’s best to start off with a black background. But how is it done?

A black background can be achieved with the start of a new document in Photoshop by adjusting the Background Content setting in the New Document dialogue box. Here, users have the ability to set the starting background to white, colored, or transparent.

Whether you need to work with a colored background for a one-time project or black is your preferred starting point, establishing your background color at the beginning can help eliminate steps later on. Keep reading for a breakdown of how to start with a black background in Photoshop.

How to Start Photoshop With a Black Background

While it’s simple enough to change the background after you’ve created your file, there are easier ways to achieve the look you want without taking a bunch of extra steps. This can save you time in the long run, as well as keep your mind on the list of more important tasks you need to accomplish.

To start with a black background in Photoshop, you will need to make a few changes to your settings upon creating a new document.

Creating a New Document With a Black Background

To start, open up Photoshop and navigate to the File menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Then, select New to create a document from scratch. This can also be done by hitting Ctrl/Command + N on your keyboard.

Once the New Document dialog box opens, you’ll see various options to customize your document. This includes:

  • Width
  • Height
  • Orientation
  • Resolution
  • Color mode
  • Background contents

Each of these elements can be adjusted and saved as a blank document preset. This is also where you will set the starting background color.

Find the setting for Background Contents and click the drop-down menu. If you’ve never adjusted this setting before, the default should be set to White. From the menu, select Custom instead. Now, next to the drop-down menu, you should see a square box. Here is where you will select your color. In this case, you’ll want to change the background color to black.

Now, all you need to do is click the blue Create button and your new document should load up with a black background.

How to Change the Background After Creating a New File

If you’ve already created your new document with a white background, no worries. Changing the background of a document is one of the easier things to do in Photoshop, and there are several ways to get it done. Below, you’ll find a quick rundown of how to do this in the two most popular ways.

Creating a New Background Layer

The easiest way to change the background color of an existing document is to create a new layer. Simple click on the Layers tab in the menu bar and select New Fill Layer. From here, you’ll want to click Solid Color. Once the new layer is created, you can select your custom color from the color palette.

You may also want to give your layer a name so that you don’t get it mixed up with other layers. Just double-click the name in the Layers panel and type out your preferred name. In this situation, something simple like Black or Background Color might be best.

Painting Over Your Background

Another simple option is to simply paint over the existing background layer. While this isn’t as non-destructive as creating a new layer, this is easy to achieve and can be done quickly.

To paint over your background, start by grabbing the paint bucket from the toolbar. Next, make sure your color is set to black by clicking on the color palette. You can also click the arrows next to the little black and white overlapping square for a quick switch between colors.

Now that your color is set, simply click anywhere on your canvas and the entire thing should turn black. Keep in mind that if you use the erase tool, it will remove the black paint that you have just created.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide gave you a few ideas on how to start with a black background in Photoshop. Whether you’re just looking to switch things up or you have a specific design in mind, having your background color in place from the get-go can help things run smoothly.