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Extraction variables

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  • Extraction variables

    Thank you Jak for directing me here. I will attempt to attach the
    pic that I'm having trouble with...

    I need to pull these people out and put them on a new background, but the guy on the left has hair as dark as the back and the ones on the right have highlights on their hair. Is there a tut for the whole situation? I thought I was following the extract guidelines, but everytime I try to put it on a different background something is wrong.

    I'm having trouble submitting the jpg at 413k - what am I doing wrong?
    Attached Files

  • #2

    I found that I was saving the file as too high a quality, so it wasn't that I did something wrong with the file size itself. This is at medium so it went through. This is one of the background attempts, which is okay except it isn't consistent enough to be considered a real background - just got 7.0 so should be able to make a better background, but somehow I flattened my layer and lost my extracted cleaned up cloned out people. Oh well, the same problem exists of getting it so they are not looking like cut outs if I put them on a different colored background vs. just crystallizing the colors of the original one.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      I'm working on a solution to this, but it's starting to storm here so it may have to wait till the lightening dies down. I just wanted to let you know I found your post though.

      I'm having trouble submitting the jpg at 413k - what am I doing wrong?
      Max. File size for these little help-type uploads is around 100k


      • #4
        post size

        Thanks Jak - I try to keep it 100 to 1000k ration. The largest was 437k open but it was because when I went to 'save as' I did it in the largest quality and that must've made it a lot bigger, so after changing it it went through.

        Hope you don't get stormed out - we're just sorta dreary here in Mi - looking forward to sunshine in the days to follow.


        • #5
          Well, the storm's holding off for now anyway. It's real dark, and I can hear some thunder rumbling but it doesn't seem to be getting worse (for now anyway).

          I just did a real quick extract on your image. The first thing I did was make a levels adjustment layer and lighten the image a lot. In extract, I enlarged the thing a WHOLE lot and used a 2 pixel brush on it. I could just barely see where the edges of the hair were, but I don't usually worry much about getting the edges absolutely perfect when I'm extracting. What I usually do at this point (see the attachment) is go in and use the eraser to clean up the jaggies a bit.

          Then, try this:

          1. With the magic wand tool, select the empty area showing just the gray pixels

          2. Hit Shift+Ctrl+I to invert the selection

          3. Go to Select > Modify > Contract and contract your selection by 1 pixel

          4. Invert the selection again (Shift+Ctrl+I) and enter quick mask mode. Your subjects should be covered by the red quick mask now.

          5. Gaussian blur the quick mask at about 1-2 pixels. Just enough to barely soften the edge.

          6. Exit quick mask and hit Ctrl+x to cut the pixels...

          Storm just got really bad - gonna upload and run! Sorry to leave so fast!!!
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Gail, in addition to blurring the edges a bit more (using the method Jak outlined), you may find that you need to use the burn tool to darken some of the highlights on the hair that don't look right against your new background. I've used the burn tool in this exact situation to reduce highlights in hair, the side of a face, etc. when the extracted image doesn't look quite right against the new background.



            • #7
              Extract ideas

              Thanks Jak - will give it a good try. And Jeanie also - I tried cloning the light areas to darker but forgot about burning - usually when I have it's looked so fake or fuzzy but at this point something has to work. I would get a good clone out but it just wouldn't look good on the backgrounds - but now with 7.0 I think I can make a bigger more consistent background of the one I tried just converting pixels to the crystallized effect.


              • #8
                Gail, Don't forget to use the burn tool at a VERY LOW opacity. I usually use around 3-4%. And set the tool for midtones or shadows (in this case) depending on how light the area is that you're trying to darken.

                I made the mistake of using the burn tool at a higher opacity for months and thought it never worked. That was until I learned that putting it at a very low opacity and then going over the area a few times (if necessary) works MUCH better!!



                • #9
                  gd, the extract tool is a poor choice for this picture. The extract tool is a poor choice for anything.
                  There are so many ways to go about making selections, but one of the first things you should ask yourself is if you can do it by tracing it with the pen tool. The pen tool won't suffice with wispy "stuff" and you'll have to learn to make selection via manipulating channels and that can be tricky but fun learning and worthwhile. But for other selections the pen tool is usually the way to go and this picture is appropriate for that.
                  Add an curves adjustment layer above the bg layer and crank up the light so you can see where the hair and clothes meet the background, then get in close with the magnifying glass (Ctrl+spacebar+mouse click to get in close - Ctrl+spacebar+Alt+mouse click to recede) and start clicking away with the pen tool. Also helps to temporarily remove all your pallettes on your screen while doing this, just press Tab to get rid of them, Tab to get them back. Tracing around with the pen tool will only take a couple minutes. After you're done, look in the paths pallette for your path and turn the path into a selection - you can do this by dragging it down to one of the icons at the bottom of the paths pallette - then save the selection in an alpha channel (select>save selection) and you're basically done.
                  The extract tool in photoshop, Knockout, all those other similar products should be avoided, as should the magnetic lasso. They're all interesting and somewhat appealing at first, but you'll learn they're sloppy. Basically a waste of time. There are better and faster ways. In fact, once you get used to the polygonal tool you can actually do a better job selecting these people than you could with the extract of magnetic lasso, and faster too.

                  Believe it
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Mig; 06-06-2002, 01:15 AM.


                  • #10
                    Idea gratitude

                    I really appreciate everyones ideas and I have tried a couple ideas and will be trying/applying all. Now I seem to be having trouble with backgrounds. Are there picture files anywhere where one can go to and get outdoor scenes or photography studio backdrops, etc. I made a stage curtain out of the action bar code but it still doesn't have realistic depth. I tried drop shadow so the extractees don't look like paper dolls, but I must still be doing something incorrectly (probably not using the pentool yet).....but mostly at this point I'm curious about background or drops - any suggested spots to check?


                    • #11
                      There's a thread HERE started by DJ entitled Three Steps to a Perfect Studio Backdrop that you might check out.


                      • #12
                        Thanks Jak for such a quick response. I have made a couple backgrounds like DJ's which was the only one I've checked out so far - and so I'm enclosing the most dimensional one I've come up with so far. My problem may be perfectionism, but I doubt it. The guy on the left has hair so dark he still looks cut out and pasted on. Perhaps I should burn the curtain more and lighten his hair and/or adjust the total image levels again or something. I was going to see if there was something I could do to make them or the background look more 2D or 3D, but the info on that is not as well defined in Adobes site as I can tell yet cuz my brain hasn't clicked in gear and I haven't tried it yet - so the quest continues. You people are great!
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Got called to do a different task - hope to catch up with your response soon.


                          • #14
                            Hmmmm... Let me see...

                            The first thing I noticed was the unevenness of the lighting on the people. You might select each one individually and adjust the levels/curves a bit to try to make the lighting quality on each one a bit more similar.

                            The next thing I noticed was a lack of shadows in the background. Even though photographers try to eliminate deep shadows in the background, I think in this type of situation a shadow adds some reality back that seems to have gone missing. The way I usually do that is to make a drop shadow and make the distance and blur the max possible. Then I take it even further by putting that shadow on it's own layer and using the gaussian blur on it. I sometimes even stretch and distort it.

                            Third is the lighting on the background itself. Try playing around with the lighting effects to get a spot going in the middle and some fade off around the edges.

                            The blur tool or smudge tool used just on the edges of the people might give it a smoother transition as well.


                            • #15
                              One would tend to suppose one is in over ones head at some point. I’m sure I will have to play around with all these ideas for awhile before I comprehend the gifts of knowledge you have shared. Hope to be able to share and show you something for all the good coaching you aid with……..


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