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Help and advice for beginners If you don't classify yourself as being particularly expert or experienced and you have a question or problem that you need help with in the area of improving images, this is the board to get the assistance you seek.

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  #1  
Old 12-12-08
Alex Ross
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Removing background from images

User 'Alex Ross' is actually a serial spammer and so this account has been terminated and links posted to commercial sites removed. But there is some useful information in the responses in this thread, so these are being retained.

Hi,

I am designing a catalog however the photos have a background, for
example the pictures are of shoes but i can see the table the shoe is
sitting on and the background behind the shoe, is there a way to cut
the shoes out in Photoshop so the background is removed?

Thanks

Last edited by Ian; 18-12-08 at 11:03 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Ross View Post
Hi,

I am designing a catalog however the photos have a background, for
example the pictures are of shoes but i can see the table the shoe is
sitting on and the background behind the shoe, is there a way to cut
the shoes out in Photoshop so the background is removed?

Thanks
Hi Alex,

Which version of Photoshop are you using?

The latest versions, CS3 and CS4 have quite sophisticated smart masking tools which can isolate quite complex shapes and edges.

Ian
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  #3  
Old 13-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi Alex,

Which version of Photoshop are you using?

The latest versions, CS3 and CS4 have quite sophisticated smart masking tools which can isolate quite complex shapes and edges.

Ian
It may also be helpfull to see an example of the picture you wish to make the cut-out. This can determine the best method for cutting out.
I now favour the use of vector masks, very accurate with minimal effort.
I will be glad to tell how to go about it.

Patrick
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Old 14-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
It may also be helpfull to see an example of the picture you wish to make the cut-out. This can determine the best method for cutting out.
I now favour the use of vector masks, very accurate with minimal effort.
I will be glad to tell how to go about it.

Patrick
Well as I sense the OP won't be asking, I'd definitely like to know Patrick
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Old 15-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Hi,

If you shoot with a single colour background as evenly lit as possible then the following will help you a lot.


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Old 15-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Well as I sense the OP won't be asking, I'd definitely like to know Patrick
Hi Stephen

Been out all day and after tea out again, Photo Club.
Will reply in full tomorrow.

Patrick
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Old 15-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Well as I sense the OP won't be asking, I'd definitely like to know Patrick
Me too please Patrick.
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  #8  
Old 16-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

I too would be interested to know how please! Would the background have to be one colour?
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  #9  
Old 16-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Well as I sense the OP won't be asking, I'd definitely like to know Patrick
I learned this at a workshop from a graphics artist; they use Photoshop in a different way to photographers.
The first thing he said was Photoshop is B/W based and thatís exactly what this method uses.

Open the image from which to make the cut-out also the target background.
Open channels>
Look at each channel individually and select the one with the most contrast from the subject to background to be cut out >
Now duplicate this channel> (it is essential you use a duplicate it wonít work otherwise.)
Now go to edit >levels> increase contrast to just black and white no mid tones.
Some areas you donít want to cut our will escape this treatment so paint in black in the black areas and erase any black areas in the white you donít want. You now have a vector mask.>
With the Ctrl key double click the left button on the mouse (assuming default mouse settings) and a selection is made with marching ants>
Select RGB channel and return to layers.
With the selection in place go to Edit> Cut or Copy and paste into the target background.
A little tiding up may be required.
This method works with a plain background as you might imagine, but can work very well with complicated backgrounds as long as contrast can be created subject to background in the channel. If there is an area that wonít contrast everywhere, do the cut out in stages using another channel that will create contrast even in three stages using the third the channel. If the background is so complicated that some areas still escape you may have to resort to dong that bit by painting and erasing on one of the channels.
Now an interesting bit of this method is if the subject to be cut out is sharp at the front and out of focus at the back (shallow DOF) then we can allow for that.
On the vector mask we have made use the blur tool to soften the appropriate area of the mask, this is best done by softening in stages to represent the increased softening as the subject gets further away from focus. Done well the effect of DOF is very convincing.

Any question if my explanation is unclear, are welcome.

Patrick
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Old 18-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Thanks for that Patrick - I've printed it out for use later.

jo
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Old 18-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Thanks very much, that will come in very handy!
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Old 18-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Thanks Patrick, I have also printed it for use later.
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Old 18-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

Hi Patrick, had a go at this method - not very sucessfully I'm afraid. More down to me not fully understanding what I'm doing and probably being a bit ham-fisted (not getting the levels adjustment bit!) If everyone else manages to grasp it - great stuff, but if it's not just me, any chance you could show a step by step guide with some grab shots as examples. I appreciate that it's a busy time of the year so no hurry.

Cheers,
jo
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Old 19-12-08
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Re: Removing background from images

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Originally Posted by jojo View Post
Hi Patrick, had a go at this method - not very sucessfully I'm afraid. More down to me not fully understanding what I'm doing and probably being a bit ham-fisted (not getting the levels adjustment bit!) If everyone else manages to grasp it - great stuff, but if it's not just me, any chance you could show a step by step guide with some grab shots as examples. I appreciate that it's a busy time of the year so no hurry.

Cheers,
jo
Hi Jo

Yes I will go through it again but with screen grabs, time presses at the moment but I will have the opportunity over the holiday if not sooner.

Patrick
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Old 28-02-09
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Re: Removing background from images

Thanks very much for the youtube tutorial, it was really helpful.
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