Zoom settings for Virtual Backgrounds
Zoom settings for Virtual Backgrounds

Working from home? With the importance of social distancing dominating the headlines, gatherings of friends and colleagues are now taking place almost exclusively online. Although the new stay-home rules prevent most businesses and individuals from meeting in person, digital tools such as Google Meet and Zoom make it possible to stay connected with your coworkers and loved ones from a safe distance.

Though some businesses have put their operations completely on hold for the time being, many others continue on… thanks to virtual meetings. Zoom is one of the leaders in this tech space.

One unique feature of Zoom is that it lets you use a “virtual background.” Do you need to hide that pile of laundry in the corner of your home office? Would you rather your coworkers not see your messy bookshelves and family photos. Hide them all with one of their provided images. Or create a customized background with your company’s branding.

Here’s how to do it. (Screens shown are from the Mac version. But, the steps are similar for Windows.)

In the Zoom menu, choose Preferences…

When the Settings window opens, click Virtual Background from the list of options. Your camera will turn on and you’ll see a preview of how others see you. Below the preview are a few standard options. You can choose the Golden Gate bridge or a view of Earth from space. For even more visual interest, choose one of the video backgrounds. You can appear to be enjoying a tropical beach vacation, or standing beneath the Northern Lights. But, the best part of this feature is that you can upload your own images and videos.

To add your own background image, click the button with the + sign on it. Then click Add Image or Add Video. A new dialog box will open. Navigate to where your photo is saved, and select it.

For those with a little more technical savvy, here are the details to create your own image from scratch. The recommended image size for your background is 1920 pixels by 1080. The maximum file size is 5 MB.

As an animator and motion graphics designer, I make custom virtual backgrounds. Would you or someone you know like an exciting branded video background for your future Zoom meetings? Drop me a line for more details, or share this article with a friend who might find it useful.

For a free mockup and estimate, email phil@phillustrations.com

I am an animator / #Illustrator / graphic #designer from Seattle, WA. I write about design and productivity. http://phillustrations.com

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