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Cut out the person

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  • Cut out the person

    Hi everybody,

    I have a problem with cutting out the person from photos. I always do: Filter - Extract and then I mark the edges with the 'smart highligting'. Even after using 'edge touchup tool' and 'cleanup tool' I am not satisfied with my job.

    I'll show you my cutout

    - original photo:
    - cut out photo: - the edges' shortcomings are really visible...

    Can you give me a tip, how do it better or tell me how do it in the other way?

  • #2
    Re: Cot out the person

    Take your lumps and use the pen tool to cut a path of the body. Use a alpha channel/color range mask to get started on the hair. Then you can make a layer mask that you can edit. (So can anybody else that touches the image.)

    The "fast/easy" tools are not necessarily the best for silhouettes.


    • #3
      Re: Cot out the person

      Hi, Booboo! Welcome to RTP!

      Probably the most difficult thing for Photoshop beginners to wrap their head around is extracting object, but it is the foundation of everything else you do in Photoshop. Extractions and masking. The beginner reaches for the extraction tool, but most professionals avoide it like the plague.

      Most pros reach for the pen tool and use it to create a mask on the layer (all underlying layers turned off so you can see what you are doing). Another tool is the QuickMask where you use a brush to paint in the selection and then create a mask from the selection. Channel selections and manipulations usually come later when you grasp the concept of how masking work (white reveals, black conceals).

      Look in your manual (gasp, yes read the manual) or use the PS help menu to look up some of these terms.. Quick Mask, Pen Tool, Mask. Search the internet for tutorials and helps with masking. It takes time to master the skill, but well worth it.


      • #4
        Re: Cot out the person

        The extract function works better on some pictures better than others. I don't think this one is a good candidate for this tool, personally. I think you'd get better results with quick mask. When you're done, try using a small smudge brush set to less than 25% or so to go over the edges and blend them slightly.
        I did this in just a few minutes.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Re: Cot out the person

          For a really nice series on how to do some great masking, check out "Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: The Essentials" and Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques" on They'll get you very familiar with masking of all sorts. If you don't want to pay for a whole subscription, you can sign up for a trial membership (1 week) for free! They really do a great job presenting the material in a visual format. I highly recommend them.


          • #6
            Re: Cut out the person

            Originally posted by Swampy View Post
            Hi, Booboo! Welcome to RTP!

            The beginner reaches for the extraction tool, but most professionals avoide it like the plague.
            I do not know about it, I thought 'extraction tool' is only one to do things like cutting out

            Swampy, really appreciate your help. Now I know exactly what tutorials I'm looking for.

            hawkeye60, good job It took you only a few minutes whereas I spent an hour with extraction tool

            Thank you directing my attention to proper solution!

            P.S Sorry for my English but I still learning


            • #7
              Re: Cut out the person

              The Quick mask tool is a good method, as is the Pen tool, which is my preference. This might help.


              • #8
                Re: Cut out the person

                Although I would not use the extraction tool for this photo - I think many people use it improperly. The "smart highlighting" is only useful when the edge is glaringly evident. You need to get in really close and use an appropriate brush size and ONLY highlight the transition edge - that part of the subject that is a mix of fore- and background. When you take that time to do this, I find the extraction tool works remarkably well and very fast.


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