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Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert advise

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2012, 04:20 PM
FCP FCP is offline
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Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert advise

Hello

I'm looking for solid advise on the subject of removing and replacing backgrounds.

For starters, I am one who never ever thinks this looks natural and I can always spot it. Unless, it's composite work for advertising I'd rather do a reshoot. Clients ask 'can you please replace this brick wall shot with a solid white background. I cringe. What's your take?

I am a retoucher and a photographer. I retouch for several clients who shoot portraits and head shots. Sometimes they request changing a background. My opinion and experience has shown that changing a solid background to a complex background or a solid to a solid is much much easier then changing a busy complex background to a solid background. Agree? I also believe that no matter how sharp and no matter how perfect the hair is it just doesn't work sometimes. Agreed?

One of my clients recently had a request to change the background from a busy background. It's wall paper, light purple with repeating black victorian like design. Similar to vintage type wall paper. To be put on a white backdrop. Beautiful model great hair, no problem..right. Wrong. No matter what technique use it just didn't look right. Background swaps like this are a pain in the arse to me. It's one of those things that I just haven't been able to dial in. It kills me and not just the hair part.

The client recommends using Mask Pro. I'm no fan of plug ins, actions, etc but I have a trial of the new Mask Pro. The thing with Mask Pro is this, Mask pro unlike Photoshop uses color to differentiate between pixels. It builds color segments and the Keep and Drop tools use the color segments to know which to keep and which colors to drop. In my image the shadow highlights, shadows, eye liner, eye shadow and some skin are very similar if not almost identical to the backgrounds colors. Mask pro isn't perfect at color recognition. It can't pick up slight variations. What happens is those areas get dropped even though you don't want them to and cleaning it up is tedious. It just didn't work. I'm by no means versed at Mask pro. I couldn't get it done and had to tell the client just that.

What are your thoughts on all this?

p.s... sorry for the long post. fyi: Please don't ask for a sample of the image. This is a general discussion about replacing backgrounds, Mask Pro, and dealing with a client. Thank you
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2012, 06:09 PM
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Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

I agree with all of your sentiments about masking up until Mask Pro of which I know nothing about. Some masking tasks are easier than others, that is a given. It depends upon factors such as camera, resolution (the list goes on). Try masking a high ISO file and it brings me to tears even after nullifying the noise.

Interested in others thoughts too.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:20 PM
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Pictus Pictus is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

As you can see at http://www.flickr.com/photos/1098642...4617/lightbox/
I do a lot of BG replacement.
For complex background, the only way is to redraw the hair...
Sometimes this even applies for perfect extractions...
In http://russellbrown.com/tips_tech.html look at his masking tips.

Also for complex BG extraction GrowCut(still x86 only) may help
http://s657.photobucket.com/albums/u...nt=Growcut.mp4
or Topaz Remask http://youtu.be/qcfm8Do2EjI

There are also other plug-ins for you to try like:
-Vertus Fluid Mask
-Digital Film tools EZ Mask
-Akvis SmartMask

Btw, most of the time I use Vertus/Remask and the CS5 tools.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:19 PM
Dannynichols Dannynichols is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

That is some nice work. The little girl in pink was very cute. The 3 kids reminded me of Nikki Harrison. But your work is very good.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:51 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

Mask pro is an app commonly used before the refine mask was introced in cs5. honestly, manual masking is the only way to go.

It can look realistic, but has to be planned. DOF can't be replicated, if you want a BG to fit the image, both of them have to have same angle(mm on camera) and focus distance.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:59 PM
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daygraphics daygraphics is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

Pictus... i didn't read all of the response and haven't yet looked at any referenced links, but one thing I can agree with you on right away. Barring any particular method of masking, sometimes you just need to to redraw hair or fuzzy, fringy edges. Not too hard once you develop some techniques.
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:02 PM
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daygraphics daygraphics is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

I use Mask Pro - and have done manual masking and have oftentimes preferred my manual techniques. See squirrel mask attached. All Manual.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SQUIRREL_ALPHA_MASK.jpg (60.5 KB, 21 views)
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2014, 10:45 PM
beefhitler beefhitler is offline
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Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

Go through leuallen's comment on this thread:

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...new-trick.html

That technique works. Although I personally use ReMask, I'd come back to this technique every once in a while.
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  #9  
Old 10-23-2014, 07:02 PM
InfinityWork3 InfinityWork3 is offline
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Wink Re: Mask Pro and removing backgrounds...expert adv

Quote:
Originally Posted by FCP View Post
Hello

I'm looking for solid advise on the subject of removing and replacing backgrounds.

For starters, I am one who never ever thinks this looks natural and I can always spot it. Unless, it's composite work for advertising I'd rather do a reshoot. Clients ask 'can you please replace this brick wall shot with a solid white background. I cringe. What's your take?
dealing with a client. Thank you
Damn, I've never heard of anyone asking for SO MUCH, haha. Most retouching jobs are pretty much lined up from the beginning unless you are working with small clients
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