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  • Need some advice

    I am working on a manuplation project for a friend. The picture is of a father and daughter, at a wedding, going down the isle. The setting is out doors there are many people, chairs, grass, and a Hotel in this background. The request was to isolate the couple from all of this and enhance the image of the daughter and father.

    I have recently purchased Knockout 2.0, and this was my first time to use it. Needless to say, this was a tough job for Knockout. I really gave it a good test. But after seeing the results I think I may need to try another approach. Three big problems exist, the girls veil is very sheer and there is a lot of background showing through, her bouquet has a lot of thin runners shooting out in all directions, and the father is walking in front of a woman whose dress is the same color as his coat.

    Now this is tough but I think I almost have it figured out. But, I thought I would also try a different approach and offer it to my friend. I thought I would enhance the couple and blur the background. Do you think that this is a good approach? What would be the best proceedure for creating the blurred background effect?

  • #2
    Wow that does sound like a difficult one. I think blurring the background is a good approach to take. It will reduce clutter, place more emphasis on the bride and most likely create a softer overall look. As long as there aren't people in the background that they want to see in the photograph, I think blurring the background sounds like the way to go.

    Here are a couple of tutorials that may help:
    Background Blurring Tut
    It's All A Blur
    Depth of Field

    Last edited by T Paul; 01-22-2003, 02:48 PM.


    • #3
      If you just want to select the couple and blur the background, use the pen tool. Trace around them, turn the path into a selection, expand the selection by a pixel, feather the selection by 1 pixel, then blur... and if you want an interesting look, fade the blur in darken or lighten mode.

      If you want to remove them and change the background that's more complicated. Commercial mask filters are an easy way out and may be useful at times, but for something like this you really need to try a combination of several methods. Trace around whatever you can with the pen tool and then turn the path into a selection and then save the selection in an alpha channel. This selection will act as a base for all to follow because you can take this alpha channel, duplicate it and then manipulate the duplicate by softening it, or whatever else you want to try to improve your selections.
      You can then go back to a duplicated copy in the layers pallette and add a layer mask and activate the selection from the alpha channel and then paint in and out whatever you want or don't want while painting on the layer mask with the default colours of black and white. (Prior to doing this you should add a layer and fill it with some "different" colour and drag this layer below the duplicate, so when you go to work you'll see what kinds of changes you're making.)
      As for the girl's veil, you have many options. You can select it, then remove the unwanted colour, but a better way would be to paint on top of it. (If you want to retain the sheer quality of the fabric, then you might opt for the former, and fix that later when you decide on whatever background you'll eventually put the people in since the see-through colour might be different, in which case you can change the colour of the background showing through the veil with whatever colour-changing adjustment layer you're comfortable with.)
      Trying to select the "thin runners" may be hopeless, depending on their size. You might end up with a pixelated look. May be better off removing these "thin runners" all together in the masking stage, and then painting them back in by hand. Depends on how big they are and how easy they are to select. Or, grab what you can with a selection, soften it, then paint them back in on layers above & below the layer you're working on. This is the same problem with hair. People try to select minute strands of hair and end up with an unnatural-looking pixelated strands,when they should paint hair back in using a small brush.

      Knockout has the reputation of the being a superior commercial mask filter, but it, along with MaskPro, the extract tool and any other commercial masking filter is sloppy and "dumb", compared to what's available via channels and a couple other techniques using invert & difference.



      • #4
        I guess I should post a copy of the pic. This is the unaltered cropped scan I took of the 4x6 snapshot I was given. I guess I should get used to someone handing me a 4x6 or 3x5 and asking me to crop out a section and blow it up. Problem is most "snap shots" aren't usually very good quality images to begin with.

        I like what I have read of your posts so far. I was able to successfully manually extract the pair from this photo but an artifical background doesn't look too natural when the original BG was an outdoor scene. Or at least using my proceedures. All your help is very much appreciated.

        It looks like I'll have a film grain problem if I attempt to enlarge the shot too much.


        • #5
          Guess it would help if I remember to attach the file huh.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Lets see if I can make this bigger. The other image seems to small to see anything.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              T, thanks for the tutorials I went through them and gathered a lot of info. This does seem like the way to go.

              Mig, you just reminded me how far I have to go yet in Photoshop. Thanks for the insite. I will have to try your techniques.

              Chuck, hope the image post will give you an idea of the scope of the project.

              This is giving me a chance to learn some new techniques.


              • #8

                I would recommend removing them entirely from the photo and placing them on a new background. As far as her vail, you could fix the parts that you can see through with the copy tool. You could even (after you fix it) select the parts of the vail that you couls see through and change there opacity so you could see the new background through it.

                Shouldn't be too hard to do.

                Good luck!!



                • #9
                  Hi Paul. I'ill have to start trying to figure out what background would be appropriate for this setting. I already have them extracted. I just haven't found a good BG yet. I'll look at both methods and see what works best. I may just complete the project with an example of each and let my friend decide which way she likes. At least it's good practice.


                  • #10
                    A good park backdrop would be nice for a shot like this.

                    Hope it works out! Post the results, I for one would like to see them.



                    • #11
                      Well here is the results of the image done by simply bluring the background. I have been having problems replacing the background because of a problem I have never run into before. I will have to either figure out how to deal with the problem or start over with a different scan of the image. The image I did all of the work on was scanned with Silverfast AI using the multiple scan option set to 4 passes. This produces an image that looks like an original background with 3 multiply layers. I have to run a levels layer to bring the image up to proper tonal range. Manipulating the image either by removing the background or moving the foreground to a different image results in the loss of the tonal adjustments. I am unable to regain the tonal settings without effecting the new background adversly. Every time I attempt to run a levels adjustment on the selected foreground, even with a mask in place, it plugs in a white background which screws up what I am trying to do with the new background.

                      I guess I'm Photoshop challenged tonight.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        my try...

                        Well, I'm always up for trying to extract things, as I love doing photo manipulation.

                        Anyhow, I just used masks to mask out most of it, boy, my Wacom tablet/pen sure helps in the finer areas.

                        Anyhow, I brought them onto a new layer, found a background out of my photo album and dropped that in.

                        I used various tools, some blur, some clone stuff, added a few adjustment levels.

                        They don't exactly match up with the sunny day...but not too far off for the amount of time it took me.

                        Live and learn...good luck with your attermpts.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Kevin, even though the background is blurred, the regular pattern made from the hotel balconies is distracting. I think father & daughter would fit well on an old church as a background. I did a wedding a couple of years back with a *tiny* church which I think would work quite well. I'll see if I can find those photos over the weekend. (Of course, that would only work if the subjects are "churchy" type people )

                          Jeff's idea with the path is also a good one.


                          • #14
                            Hi Jeffery, that background seems to work real nice. Good job. I will need to build up my war chest with a bigger selection of backgrounds.

                            BigAl you are right. The background is still distracting. I'll have to go back to the single pass scan and do another extraction. Any help with backgrounds would be very appreciated. I need to get my camera out and just go around taking pictures of scenes that would look good as a background. Most of the time when I shoot I am trying to frame a particular subject.

                            Thanks guys.


                            • #15
                              Thought I would post the end result. I wasn't able to come up with a suitable background. I instead blured the background quite a bit more and desaturated it. This made a more dramatic accent to the foreground than I had previously. My friend was very happy with the print I gave her.

                              I am going to have to start gathering a collection of backgrounds for the future.
                              Attached Files


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