The main purpose of Skype is to make video calls. Often these video calls are to friends or family. Still, you may also need to use Skype for work or interviews occasionally. As Skype calls tend to happen from your home, you occasionally have some clutter or mess in the background or something private. Either way, you may not want the person or people you are Skyping to see what’s behind you in HD.
To help protect your privacy, Skype includes a virtual background feature that allows you to choose a pre-selected background or a custom image and use that to replace the background in your webcam. Traditionally this sort of background replacement would require a green screen and a chroma-key to work. Microsoft, however, has included a pretty impressive foreground/background detection algorithm that keeps you in the picture and can reliably hide your background.
How to Configure a Custom Skype Webcam Background
To configure a custom webcam background, you need to go into Skype’s settings. To do so, click on the triple-dot icon in the top-left corner, then click on “Settings.”
Once in Skype’s settings, switch to the “Audio & Video” tab. The top section will be a preview of your webcam; just beneath that, the “Choose background effect” section is a selection of pre-installed webcam backgrounds.
The top-left “background” is the default, with the image from your webcam remaining unaltered. The second-from-the-left image in the top row applies a blurring effect to your background. The other options default options are all static images.
To add your own custom webcam background, click the bottom-right option with the plus symbol in it. Now select an image file from your computer; more than 15 image file types are supported, so you should have plenty of choices. As of November 2020, the only real restriction is that Skype doesn’t support any animated background. If you try selecting an animated GIF, a single frame will be selected and used.
Tip: Custom webcam background images will always appear at the end of the list. They can be removed by clicking the small “x” icon in the top-right corner of the image.
Now you should be all set for adding your own cool custom backgrounds to Skype. Just remember that if you pick a lighthearted one for your friends, you switch to something more appropriate for work or other more serious calls. Tell us how it went for you in the comments section.