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Thread: Removing background from images

  1. #1

    Removing background from images

    Hi,

    I am designing a catalogue however the photos have a background, for
    example the pictures are of shoes but i can see the table the shoe is
    sitting on and the background behind the shoe, is there a way to cut
    the shoes out in Photoshop so the background is removed?

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Removing background from images

    Hi Alex,

    Well, Photoshop let you make selections in multiple ways, including by colour, or by painting a selection with a brush. It's possible to select your shoe and then make everything not selected white. If you'd like to share up an example photo then me or one of the others on the forum can make more specific suggestions about how to remove the background.

    However if you have a lot of photos that need this sort of post production work you should expect to spend a lot of hours working in photoshop, maybe plan on 3-5 minutes per photo. Consider charging your client for the extra time involved and suggest next time around that they commission you to take the photos of the products, so you can control the background in the photos.

    -Dendrophile

  3. #3
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: Removing background from images

    Yeah your best bet to do it quick is use the magnetic tool to select the shoes, touch up with lasso. Various ways to do it or speed up. One thing I do when masking off complex objects is duplicate layer > posterize/adjust curves > mask off shoes on this one (usually easier due to simplified contrasting colours but depends on image how useful this is) then save this mask and use this selection to select the shoes on the original image. Then touch up rough selection and smooth/expand etc as needed until you got what you want. Usually I find this works for me as get through high volume of images with good quality selection mask in under 4 minutes.

    Unsure how familiar you are with photoshop. Some tutorials on photoshop probably more helpful to you than anything I can say though as I only know what I need and not great at teaching others how to do what little I can. Gomediazine and the like often have good free tutorials, don't bother with advanced stuff, especially Linda tutorials until you got basics. For me basics is all I need.

  4. #4

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    Re: Removing background from images

    There are a variety of techniques for doing this - one of the easiest (for certain types of images) is to simply use combinations of the eraser, background eraser, and magic eraser tools.

    It often helps to add a white-filled layer below the image (so you can see if there's any residual background left).

    The degree of accuracy will depend on how large the images are going to be printed.

    If you can shoot them against an evenly lit background of a sold colour, it makes the job a LOT easier.

    How many do you have to do?

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:15 AM.

  5. #5
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: Removing background from images

    small rider to Colin's & others basic sound advice: don't try to do the selection of the shoe in one go, eroding is easier. Also don't discount using the polygonal lasso even tho shape is curved, you can use dozens of points and work, say a 1/4 of the frame at a time then finally use eraser at 100% view.

    There is a different approach using a negative brush for selecting out the shoe, then you can be quite violent with darkening, recolouring, colour washing, texturising background, but I do that in Nikon Capture NX2 (works on any tif or jpg) and wouldn't have the faintest how to in PS.

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    Re: Removing background from images

    Speaking of removing things - has anyone seen my daughter's chair?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Removing background from images

    Probably left the chair where her left foot toes are!

    Serious question; was your daughter in the garden, or elsewhere, when her picture was taken?

    i.e. Is this demonstrating removal of a chair from a single source image, or the 'cutting out' of your daughter and superimposing her on another shot?
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 14th December 2008 at 10:52 AM.

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    Re: Removing background from images

    Re: Foot

    I hadn't noticed that! It wasn't part of the trickery though - just the grass on the front lawn getting a bit long and her toes disappearing into it. It all came about from a photo she saw somewhere and asked with typical 8 year old amazement "how did they do that" - so I showed her how easy it was. In retrospect, it would have looked better with both legs off the ground.

    Re: Remove stool -v- total extraction

    In this case I simply took 2 shots - one with her and the stool in the shot, and a 2nd with neither. Stack the first on top of the 2nd in photoshop and simply erase as much stool & surrounding grass as required. Apart from the need to be careful along body edges it really doesn't matter how rough one is with the rest of it.

    Total extractions and "replanting" can be much harder - you can end up with a LOT of layers dedicated to adjusting skin tones and lighting - the attached one here was a combination of 2 point and shoot shots and a newspaper clipping, complete with a totally noisy & distracting background - off memory it had about 17 layers. Bit of a rough job, but best I could do with what I had - and printed on canvas it still brought tears to my mothers eyes!

    Cheers,

    Colin - pbase.com/cjsouthern

    Last Family Photo Never Taken.jpg
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th January 2009 at 05:14 AM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Removing background from images

    Oh if you are pasting the shoes in over a realistic scene as opposed to solid fill or abstract background you might want to add shadows or reflections.

    May be of use to some but many will know this already. My method for quick reflection I make a duplicate of the masked off object and Vertical flip it, warp and scale y down (but not x) and rotate to look right. Use liquid brush and warp to join and align the reflection correctly to the object being reflected. Add layer mask and apply black>white gradient (horizontal) so the reflection fades the way it would really.

    quick example I made (for my boot loader so didn't spend much time on it), frog on right is orig image, left is the one I made in pshop
    frog.jpg

    For shadows I use the selection mask but rotate it accordingly, then stretch and warp this selection as needed to fit whatever it's projected over. I clear all image info and but keep selection mask, then feather the mask to give more realistic penumbra. Then I use various method for shadow body depending what I want. One method is standard dark grey solid fill and change to layer blend mode (eg. overlay or whatever) and set opacity to what looks right. Or I copy the background and layer blend mode and or change curves to darken, then make detailed shadow painting out the edges to give realistic penumbra with low opacity normal brush (soft edge round) with black (r0g0b0) on the layer mask. Can then darken umbra region with burn brush on low.

    Quite quick and simple methods when used to them and add bit more to final image. Often little things like subtle soft shadow, minor dirt and scratches on made from scratch textures etc although seem insignificant we all notice they are missing even if we cannot put our finger on it we know it doesn't look quite right. Obviously this is fine if it's intended. What's more anyone can do it, just getting familiar with the tools. I am sure there is better workflow or method of doing this (please share if you know and I will be eternally grateful since will save me time) but hopefully it's helpful.

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