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Cleaning up white background- keep shadows

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Old 07-09-2012, 03:03 PM
ilegales ilegales is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 24
Cleaning up white background- keep shadows

i had a question which i hoped that someone was able to advise with

a photo i have of a small group of kids taken on a white background
i would like to make the background white but ALSO to keep the shadows underneath the kids
making it more realistic but getting rid of the grey on the lower part of the background

now i am using CS3
with the replace colour tool on a seperate layer then using a mask to paint in by hand all the areas that the replace colour tool took away
by this method i am able to do the photo is about 10 mins

please see enclosed image

is there another quicker / faster way to do this in cs5 or Cs6 ?

as i have a batch of similar images and it does take up quite a bit of time

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Old 07-09-2012, 08:12 PM
kav kav is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 574
Re: Cleaning up white background- keep shadows

I don't personally know of a better way. Typically I'd just paint anything that isn't working by hand. Something like this isn't very difficult.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:48 PM
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Phaeton Phaeton is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Melbourne, AUS
Posts: 30
Re: Cleaning up white background- keep shadows

Hmmm... This might be an easier, quicker way.
This only works for a pure white background. Make a quick selection of the kids and the letters. Bring up a Curves layers with this mask, grab the white pipette and set it to 0000 (pure white), click on the floor on a spot where it will leave your shadows intact but the rest of the background goes white.
The mask needs to have soft edges fading from the objects/talent into the background.
If there are any faint grey areas on the background left, you can quickly paint those off with white on a blank layer.
See below
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:38 AM
Scatterbrained Scatterbrained is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Suffolk, Va
Posts: 38
Re: Cleaning up white background- keep shadows

I actually had this discussion with someone on another board, so I'll post my responses here, rather than retype it all.
Why not just mask the product and shadow and then push background? That way you retain the original, natural looking shadow. You can go to your RGB channel, control click to make a selection, invert, and then use levels to tweak. This should allow you to retain the natural shadow via mask when working on white seamless.
ust try that method. Once you have the selection (in the RGB channel), go to layers, adjustment, levels, and tweak the levels until you have the shadow masked the way you want, copy that selection to a new layer and fill with black (preserving tansparency) and then put the selection of the product above it. Now you will have the product and it's proper shadow and you can just put a layer of white underneath. Keeping the shadow selection on a different layer also allows you to add a displacement mask if you are putting it on a textured background. Sure it's a few steps, but nothing too complex. Edit: I forgot to mention that you would want to use quick mask when adjusting the selection, makes it a bit easier.
Here is an example of what I"m talking about. In the original I didn't have "white" anywhere. The brightest part of the image (aside from specular highlights on the mannequin) is around RGB 225, the darkest parts are below RGB 150. After the process the brightest parts are at RGB 255 and the darkest parts are around RGB 225. Bear in mind I didn't take this shot trying to get an all white background.
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