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Best way to remove background

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  • Best way to remove background

    I love my work and it's a new found love. So I was wondering if you at the retouch pro list would be so kind as to give me some tips on getting rid of unwanted elements in the background of photos. Please go to this site to see the type of thing I am talking about. Most of the graphics are mine, some are not. Often I need to pull a horse and maybe one more element off of a photo. I find extracting destroys the image.
    I am successful at removing the unwanted "stuff" with magic wand and cloning. I just want to work smarter and faster.

    I have enclosed a file for you to see (reduced for load for you) anyway I want to take the horse, rider and lake and leave all the garbage in the background.

    What do you think?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Looks like a prime candidate for quickmask.

    Just click on the little 'quickmask' icon down towards the bottom of the tools. You can use all the paint/erase/airbrush tools you want. When you're done click the icon next to the qm icon and your mask will now be a selection. Depending on whether you selected the background or the foreground either hit delete or copy to new layer.

    Some practice is necessary so you don't leave a halo. Use soft tools, feather, blur, things like that.

    You can also save selections, combine them, subtract them from each other, etc.

    Of course, if you don't use Photoshop you'll have to translate to your editor's language, but they all have a variation on this feature.
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    • #3
      Hi, Fine equine stock at the end of your link. I would assume that you are using either Photoshop 5 or 5.5 from what you said about using the extract tool. For either of those programs you will have much better results, in my humble opinion, using either the pen tool or magnetic lasso. The pen tool will allow you create a pretty tight path around the object to be isolated and it can be loaded from the paths pallete as a selection. The magnetic lasso works good when you dont have a lot of variation in color,hue etc. around the item to be masked. I wish I knew how to work faster but in this line of work faster isnt necesssarily better. There are dedicated masking programs out there, Cinematte, Corel Knockout, and Extensis mask Pro which give you greater control of the masking process. Cinematte is mostly useful in Green or Blue screen type work and for what you are doing I dont think it would be very helpful. The two remaining ones, Knock out and Extensis mask pro are more suited to the work you are doing and having used both I would recommend Mask Pro as the one which is probably the most versitile and easiest to use, but again, its not uncommon to spend 20 minutes to perhaps a couple of hours masking complex things, then cleaning up the mask and fine tuning it. By the way, you do good work! How's about filling us folks in about it? It looks interesting! Hope this helps some. Sorry about the poor spelling. Cows cant type very well. Tom


      • #4

        I appreciate the input. I'm working in Photoshop 6.0.1 and loving it. (Should have told you what program before, sorry). I sub contract to the lady I did the site for, I also work in GoLive.

        I've only been at it for about 8 weeks and taught myslef. Still learning big time. From what you guys said I'm on the right track. I always want input on the subject to make sure I'm not crossing any methods off my list.

        I appreciate the feedback and look forward to reading the posts

        Thanks Again!


        • #5
          Watch it Laura, this forum becomes addicting before you know it.


          • #6
            Becomes? I've only been around and I HAVE been addicted to it. So much good information by so many wonderful people.



            • #7
              That's it in a nutshell. These people sure a great arn't they?