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Remove White background - the final solution?

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  #1  
Old 10-14-2007, 02:09 PM
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Oceanwatcher Oceanwatcher is offline
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Exclamation Remove White background - the final solution?

I have been on a search ever since I left Photoshop 5 behind to find a version of the Remove White plugin that actually works.

This plugin worked with PaintShop Pro and PhotoShop and was the absolutely best tool to remove a white background from a picture. It is like sliding the emulsion off a print and over on a glass plate. You have to try it to actually get the feel for what it is doing. It is not possible to get even close by selecting with similar colors or any other masking technique.

I never found anything that worked until a few days ago when I stumbled upon the solution. I wrote a blog post on http://www.wisnaes.com/ to describe the process of getting the original plugin to work with Photoshop CS2. You can comment here or at the blog.

I have tried to get in touch with the original author of the plugin, but no luck so far. If anyone know an updated e-mail, please send me a pm here. The e-mail I found did not work.

The really wonderful thing with this plugin is to be able to lift soft shadows off a white background. Also lifting a signature off a white background so you can add it to your pictures becomes a breeze.

Happy removing!
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:23 PM
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Stroker Stroker is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Many moons ago someone asked about it in these parts. As an exercise, I wrote one for PC/Win using Filter Meister.

Transparent Shades
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:36 AM
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creeduk creeduk is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Wow that is going back I can remeber using remove white many moons ago.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:25 AM
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cricket1961 cricket1961 is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Stroker

Anyway you can create a Mac version of Transparent SHades?

Chris
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:57 AM
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Stroker Stroker is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Alas, I can't do Mac. However, you should be able to make yourself an Action to do the exact same thing. Mimicing Remove White or Transparent Shades with stock tools is rather easy.

- have your thing on one layer
- copy it to a new layer
- Edit > Fill
--- Use: White, Black, or 50% Gray
--- Mode: Saturation
- in the Channels palette, copy it to new alpha channel
- Invert it
- load it and apply as a layer mask

Of course, the desaturating step(s) to get an alpha for layer mask are widely open to taste. Could very well use Image > Adjust > Desaturate for a mask. Or Channel Mixer.

All you are really doing is desaturating and using the resulting greyscale as a layer mask. That's it in a nutshell. And, you know, various things to taste.

I know it's not a Mac filter, but might keep you happy for a bit. After all, doing these things to fit your flow is uber good. Personally, I never use Transparent Shades. I would just as soon home brew the individual steps.

Last edited by Stroker; 10-15-2007 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:30 AM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Often I can get away with Blend If in the Styles palette. Much depends on the graphic. One trick I have learned is to put a blank layer below the layer you are going to use Blend If on to knock out black or white. Do the Blend If thing then merge that layer down into the transparent blank layer below. This retains the transparency and the layer is "workable"

In the sample below, I knocked out the white sky. No selection used, just a very small Blend If. Merged down and you can now see the transparent area which can set as a mask or drop a new sky in behind it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Picture-1.jpg (18.1 KB, 80 views)

Last edited by Swampy; 10-15-2007 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:00 PM
rovis rovis is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Hey, thats a cool trick Swampy!
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:01 AM
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Alison Alison is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Hi Oceanwatcher,

Not sure if this is what you are looking for ..... http://www.pspug.org/filters/filtersff.shtml ..... scroll down to where it says Mark McLaren and check out that filter. It is a PSP filter, but may well work with PS.

You could also check out the free filters at Free Photoshop-compatible Plugins.

http://www.thepluginsite.com/resources/freeps.htm
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:22 AM
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Stroker Stroker is offline
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Ah, Blend If. Don't forget you can split the sliders by holding Alt and click dragging. Something like that.

Blend If and I have a bit of a strange relationship. Sometimes it does things kind of wrong. Rather, it doesn't quite work the way I think it should for some uses. I think the problem that I run into on occassion with Blend If is a matter of order of operations. Maybe some day I'll sort it out and have a better working relationship with Blend If. I do use it, but sometimes I shy away from it. I don't know.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:49 AM
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Re: Remove White background - the final solution?

Stroker,

There is something odd about Blend If. When you do it, you can't load a selection from it by just Command/Control clicking on the layer thumbnail in order to generate a selection to make a mask. It must be because the Blend If is tied to that layer in some way that makes it impossible to manipulate further. I just happend to discover that by merging the BI layer down into a blank transparent layer things corrected themselves and I could then load the selection.

Much depends on the graphic, but the Blend If can create the basis for a pretty good mask. Assuming you are working on a duplicate of the original layer, do the BI then merge it down into a transparent layer, then load the slection from the merged result you can then apply the selection as a mask to the original. Many times it is easy from there to edit the mask to replace any highlight areas that may have gotten blown out by the gross BI process with levels or paint with a white brush.

1. In the sample below, I first duplicated the Background and added a transparent layer below the dupe. Ran the Blend If on the dupe then merged down. You can see the resulting mask where some of the lower areas were also affected by the BI. But this is okay since my main concern is the sky. It's easy enough to fix the "gross" areas of the mask with a white brush.

2. I dropped the sky in, but saw that the skyline and the church spire needed some touch up. So those were the areas I concentrated on. Fixed the spire with a small 100% white brush, reduced opacity and just scribbled some white along the horizon line of buildings to bring up more of their detail.

3. Put a gradient mask on the sky and ran a pretty big gaussian blur so the transition would be softer.

Whole thing took about 5 minutes and I never had to make a detailed selection.
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File Type: jpg Sample.jpg (96.5 KB, 56 views)
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