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Looking for good tutorial on extraction

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Old 05-13-2004, 12:19 PM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 2,985
Okay, I gave this a quick try...

1. Duplicated Layer
2. Used magic wand to select the various blacks in the kitten, using the add tool and Select Similar until the kitten and fine hairs were selected. (Figured selecting the blacks and inverting the selection would be quicker than selecting all the colors in the background.)
3. Inverted selection so that the background was selected and went into Quick Mask to touch up. Appled a Gaussian Blur to the selection to soften the edges and prevent jagged edges.
4. While still in Quick Mask, opened levels and moved the black and white triangles towards each other until the selection just covered the fringes of the kitten.
5. Exited Quick Mask and made a layer mask for this layer (Layer>Add Layer Mask>Hide Slection). This way you can always paint back in or out areas of the background by painting on the mask.
6. Touched up as necessary.
7. Used the clone tool and healing brush to fill in areas of the kitten that were covered by the grass.
8. Created a new layer to be the new background.
9. On the kitten layer, used the smudge tool to create some fine hairs lost in the extraction process. Experimented with different size brushes and opacities to make it look more natural.
10. Copied the kitten's eyes and placed on a new layer. Used a curves adjustment and hue/saturation adjustment to brighten the eyes. Then applied USM to sharpen the eyes.
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File Type: jpg kitten2.jpg (94.0 KB, 40 views)
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:00 PM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 2,985
I also did a real quick version using the extraction tool. It did a pretty good job.

I duplicated the image then chose Extract. I chose a brush large enough to cover the fine hairs as I outlined the kitten (size 20). As I outlined I just barely overlapped the edge of the kitten so that most of my brush was selecting the fine hairs of the kitten. Then I filled the image and previewed before extracting. This allowed me to fine tune where necessary.

Once the image was extracted I erased a few areas and used the smudge tool to tone down some of the rough edges. Finally I used the eraser set at a low opacity to clean up a bit more and created a new background for the kitten.

This one is a bit rougher, but if you spent some time on it, you could really clean it up and create a nice image.
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File Type: jpg kitten6.jpg (94.3 KB, 24 views)

Last edited by T Paul; 05-13-2004 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:29 AM
Chip Hildreth's Avatar
Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hillsborough, NC
Posts: 131
I have to extract dogs, some really furry, and replace the backgrounds for magazine ads. That kitty is tougher than any dog I've had to do but my approach would be the same.

- Select the defining shape and the most characteristic little spikes and the like. Extract would work, lasso would work, I would probably use the path tool just because I'm used to it and I can pretty well draw the outline I want, it also makes keeping the closed interior gaps easier.
- Knock it out of the background and check for old background traces.
- Make a few custom brushes to mimic the different hair characteristics and then go back and add the fringe onto a touch-up layer with the clone tool. Sometimes I've used the selection channel to make a feathered opacity mask for softening the extreme outside edge of the fringe.

It's not a superfast technique but the results are good. I don't know how well this works on lower resolution, anti-aliased files. I've only done this with high rez film scans.

I've used extract to cut people out of plain backgrounds with fairly good results but the edges usually showed some of that soft fringe and the occaisional shape distortion. The images were all digital photos.

Just another perspective.
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