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Help-extracting background & feathering edges

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  #1  
Old 06-20-2005, 03:35 PM
KBS KBS is offline
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Help-extracting background & feathering edges

I'm new to the forum and would appreciated any criticism. I will be retouching animal photos in my new company and having trouble extracting backgrounds and applying a feathered edge that still looks like fur. this is how I did it.
1. Created 2 layer masks and mixed into 1 alpha channel-tried not to clean it up too much and lose the fur. Used Russ Brown's tutorial but since there was no background contrast, I mixed two channels, one to get more detail in the fur and one to take any black out of dog itself.
2. Erased part of dog (legs & chest) using eraser tool.
3. Defringed by contracting 4 pixels, feathered by 2
4. Decreased contrast for right eye and added color for left. (Yes, this dog does have 2 different colors-she's not demonic!)
5. Added white layer for background so you could see detail.

I know this isn't very clean but don't know what to do next. Gaussian blur? Won't I lose fur edges?
This is my first request for a critique, hope I've given enough info and followed the rules? Intermediate (hobby level, not pro) Photoshop CS user on a MAC.
Thanks everyone
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File Type: jpg Lani3copy(flat)RevB-web.jpg (90.6 KB, 182 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2005, 09:53 PM
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Ken Rogers Ken Rogers is offline
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There's a fantastic method for such selections which Deke McClelland has documented in his book, "Photoshop 7.0 Bible Pro". This procedure works well for hairy selections.

1) Duplicate a channel.

2) Run a "high pass" (found in filters) at setting 10.0 on this channel.

3) In the Levels window, bring the shadow triangle and the highlight triangle very close together. This creates a mask that hopefully has done all of the hair selection work for you, by making those fine hairs white against a black background.

4) You want the dog and his hair to appear white, so you will need to "invert" parts of your mask in order to achieve this (as some areas of hair may be black, not white).

5) Finish the rest of the mask by hand, painting white over what you want selected, and painting black over what you wish to remove.

I know this is impossible to visualize, but it will make more sense as you work through it. Good luck!

Ken

Last edited by Ken Rogers; 06-20-2005 at 10:07 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-21-2005, 01:49 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Just did a simple extract on this one.

Cleaned edges a little, using soft eraser set to about 20% opacity.
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2005, 02:20 PM
Ken Rogers's Avatar
Ken Rogers Ken Rogers is offline
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Nice job, Gary. I just tried the "high pass" method, but I got poor results. The procedure works well for human hair (anything non-fuzzy).

Ken
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:32 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Thanks Ken,

I usually give the extract filter a try. It's a bit hit and miss, but sometimes it gives quite good results, and it doesn't take long. If it doesn't give the result I'm looking for, I scrap it and try something else.

The trick is not to use the in-filter tools to clean up the extract, but to use history brush and eraser to correct things once the object is extracted.
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Old 06-21-2005, 11:16 PM
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Duv Duv is offline
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[QUOTE=Gary Richardson
The trick is not to use the in-filter tools to clean up the extract, but to use history brush and eraser to correct things once the object is extracted.[/QUOTE]

Now that's an interesting tidbit. Thanks for that Gary. Will give it a go.

Dave
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Old 06-22-2005, 02:11 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Dave,

I also put a layer underneath the extracted object, coloured with a contrasting colour to help see what needs doing. Afterwards I discard it.
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2005, 03:03 PM
KBS KBS is offline
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Thanks everyone for your comments. Gary, your idea of using the history brush after extracting really helped. It's worked the best so far and I will post my pic when it's done. BTW, has anyone used Knockout 2 or Automask 4.6? I posted this question in the reviews section too. Concerns: does it work for fur? Lack of support, tutorials etc. I also found using a background layer helps to point out the problem areas.
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Old 06-22-2005, 04:48 PM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Glad I could help a little, can't remember where I picked up the tip about history brush, but I use it a lot. Just remember to move your history point if you do any adjustments to your image before you extract otherwise you can get some unwanted results.

I don't really have any hard and fast rules about selecting objects, tend to experiment and see what works with each image, I've yet to find one that works for all. If I ever do, be sure I'll post it here.

Can't really help you with the programmes you mentioned, if they work well for you, let us know.

Good luck.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2005, 06:04 AM
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Paris Paris is offline
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A curse you Gary Richardson

One of the tools I have not touched is the history brush or should I say was. Thanks to your little tip on extracting and cleanup this is no longer the case.

I had put it in the too hard for now basket along with the pen tool. The pen tool came out about a month ago and now the history brush is out, which means even more new things to learn and come to grips with.

But hey... thank you for a very useful and helpful tip that works

Paris
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