photoshop is SO much fun!

khanjar

New member
I learned my techniques on PS 5.5, I now run CS3 extended, only because of Vista, otherwise I would have stayed with 5.5 as it was perfectly adequate for my amateur needs.
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
I had no intention of offending so I hope I didn't and if I did I apologize.

When I started extracting I used the same erase methods. The problem was that it is too easy to miss part of the background or damage the part I wanted to extract while trying to erase the excess, and it took forever. There was always something that needed cleaning up afterward that added to the total time of any project not to mention my frustration levels.

So I was happy when I found out about using the polygon lasso. Using the polygon lasso gives better control while enabling you to delete large chunks of the excess without danger. Putting a white or black (depending on the color of the image you are extracting) layer behind the layer you are extracting from enables you to see any mistakes quickly before you try and use it. It just gives you a quick clean extraction with a minimum of fuss. With practice I can now extract most images in about 1/2 hour.

Using the pen tool takes longer but is even more precise. I haven't bothered since I like the speed of the polygone lasso tool but my friends who use it swear by it.
 
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shiradotnet

New member
While the erase method does work there are easier and more thorough ways to extract on newer versions of Photoshop. (Never use the extract tool or the magic wand if possible.)

The two best are using the lasso tool and the pen tool.
I have used the lasso tool to remove the bulk of the background. Ie, I'll come in close to the central image with it, but not all the way in - I leave a narrow border all around the image.

Once I have removed the large chunks of background,then I go in close to the central image for fine tuning, and I use the eraser tool for that part.

I really like your suggestion of using a duplicate layer underneath with the Gaussian blur tool to blend the edges of the cutout into the new background!
 

TribalDancer

New member
My favorite cutout method is using the Quick Mask tool.

http://www.idigitalemotion.com/tutorials/guest/mask/mask.html

Here is a link which shows 5 different ways of masking including:
* Using Photoshop's Magic Eraser tool
* Using Photoshop's Background Eraser tool
* Using the Extract command
* Using Quick Mask mode to make a selection and layer mask
* Using the Pen Tool to make a selection and layer mask

5 Great Background Masking Techniques in Photoshop

And here are a ton more tutorials of all ilke on masking:
Adobe Photoshop Quick Mask Tutorials
 

gisela

Super Moderator
I like the quick mask tool too. I'm not sure I tried all the different ways but the quick mask is the one I've been using ever since discovering it. It's good because you can use all the different tools (eraser, brush, wand, lasso, etc) for creating the mask which then turns into a selection.

And thank's everyone for the links! Will come in handy, I bet!
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
Here is a link which shows 5 different ways of masking including:
* Using Photoshop's Magic Eraser tool
* Using Photoshop's Background Eraser tool
* Using the Extract command
* Using Quick Mask mode to make a selection and layer mask
* Using the Pen Tool to make a selection and layer mask

5 Great Background Masking Techniques in Photoshop
That's a great link Tribal Dancer. :D

Maybe I am in the minority but I tried the mask tool using the erasers and brushes and hated it. I ran into the same problem I had with just erasing everything, that even after I thought I was finished I would find I had missed a spot or the image would have a halo around it.

It is quick masking with the pen tool however that all my friends love using. No halo and it is very, very, precise. They also use the pen tool to make original art or "vectors" by using the color fill and outline options. I know, I know, someday I have to bit the bullet and give it another try but until then I'll stick with the polygon lasso and 300%+ magnification. It's just easier.

uh... I guess I should give some more links so I'm not just babbling.
Photoshop’s Image Masking Tools
Pen Tool Tutorials
 

TribalDancer

New member
Yes, the pen tool works when you have a precise object with sharp edges and good contrast. It can be tricky and harsh for other subjects.

It is THE tool for Illustrator, and is great for very precise lines and shapes!

The Quick Mask has always been a favorite because nothing is permanent. That is to say, I can be working and accidentally veer off and not notice it, but be able to go back and correct it without having to undo all the work I have already done, as one has to with simply erasing. I also seem to get cleaner edges with a mask than I do with erasing, I am not sure how or why.
 

masrawy

New member
That's a great link Tribal Dancer. :D

Maybe I am in the minority but I tried the mask tool using the erasers and brushes and hated it. I ran into the same problem I had with just erasing everything, that even after I thought I was finished I would find I had missed a spot or the image would have a halo around it.

It is quick masking with the pen tool however that all my friends love using. No halo and it is very, very, precise. They also use the pen tool to make original art or "vectors" by using the color fill and outline options. I know, I know, someday I have to bit the bullet and give it another try but until then I'll stick with the polygon lasso and 300%+ magnification. It's just easier.

uh... I guess I should give some more links so I'm not just babbling.
Photoshop’s Image Masking Tools
Pen Tool Tutorials
Hey, you're not in the minority by all means the pen tool is the best way to create a cut out that professional use. It just has a steep learning curve, but once you have it mastered it's your best friend. That's the beauty of Photoshop there is not only one way of doing the same thing it all depends on the image you trying to work. Sometimes a combination of several tools is needed to get the job done right.

BTW In PS CS4, they added a new tool for quick selection it is pretty good and simple to use for most jobs ... so don't hold dearly into your old version of the software.;)
 

Reen.Blom

New member

BTW In PS CS4, they added a new tool for quick selection it is pretty good and simple to use for most jobs ... so don't hold dearly into your old version of the software.;)
Can you give us a link or at least a name of that magic new tool? Not so easy to give up what you are comfortable with for some mythological panacea :lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Oh God I want the cs4 pack. Or just ANY pack after cs. Need a new computer to handle it though. I have ps cs and none of the other programs. I'm dying for illustrator, indesign and flash. All my skills in those are slowly disappearing because I can't practise *sob*
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
Yes, the pen tool works when you have a precise object with sharp edges and good contrast. It can be tricky and harsh for other subjects.

It is THE tool for Illustrator, and is great for very precise lines and shapes!
And since walking away from quick masking I have learned to make vectors in Illustrator. I love, love, love it! Which is why I feel kinda silly that I still never touch the pen tool in Photoshop.

However even with images that don't have a clean edge the artists I know who do this kind of work prefer to extract with a tool that gives one (polygon lasso or pen). The reason is that if you don't you have to deal with the other colors from the old background bleeding into the extracted image. To correct the sharpness of the edges there is an additional step in the process where you "clean up" the image that involves going back in and adding back the soft edges or glows or anything else that was original to the extracted image you want to keep but now on a transparent background so that you can use it in any setting you want. Some people will even "rebuild" the image where ever parts are missing because something else was in front of it or a part was cut off by the edge of the photo, such as part of a sleeve or other piece of clothing.

Basically it is done in this order:
  1. Extract the image removing all background.
  2. Clean up the image; remove flaws, soften edges, rebuild, add effects.
  3. Add to new background.
  4. Use layering, effects, opacity to blend with background.
  5. Add special effects and additional foreground to create depth.
  6. Any final special effects including lighting or framing.

It takes a long time but the finished product is just gorgeous. If you can get the same results with the Quick Mask using more then the pen tool more power to you. It's not how you get your extraction that matters so much as being willing to be meticulous with it afterward to get the results that make you happy.

...I wasn't going to mention all that to begin with though because when people I know have started learning they are often overwhelmed by all of it. So I tell them to just worry about the extracting to begin with. I would hate anyone to think it's too hard and quit.
 
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gisela

Super Moderator
Don't be confused. I think the message is clear and strong: They obviously want us to try the pen tool :)

I promise I will give it a try and report back how I like it.
 
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