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Using the Instant Alpha tool

From: Keynote '09 Essential Training

Video: Using the Instant Alpha tool

It's an important thing to have your graphics and photos be focused on the subject what you are discussing and having the ability to remove unwanted backgrounds is a really powerful feature of the iWork suite. Let me talk to you about the Instant Alpha feature that's built in the Keynote. Let me go up here into my Media browser and I'm going to pull over this logo called Ducati logo and let go and you can see this logo has a white background around it and of course we don't want that for presentation. We would like to be able to get rid of that white if we could. I'll go here to the Alpha tool, click on that and I'm going to hover over my selected object and I'm going to click once and let's see what happens. You will see that background that was white turned blue. That's letting me know that this is the area that I'm selecting now to remove.

Using the Instant Alpha tool

It's an important thing to have your graphics and photos be focused on the subject what you are discussing and having the ability to remove unwanted backgrounds is a really powerful feature of the iWork suite. Let me talk to you about the Instant Alpha feature that's built in the Keynote. Let me go up here into my Media browser and I'm going to pull over this logo called Ducati logo and let go and you can see this logo has a white background around it and of course we don't want that for presentation. We would like to be able to get rid of that white if we could. I'll go here to the Alpha tool, click on that and I'm going to hover over my selected object and I'm going to click once and let's see what happens. You will see that background that was white turned blue. That's letting me know that this is the area that I'm selecting now to remove.

In other words, the point that I clicked on is my sample point, which was white, and it's looking for every bit for white that's contiguous with that original point and it's going to say, "I'll get rid of this for you." Now notice the edges right around the logo, you can see a little bit of white still showing. I'm going to drag this tool out a little bit. You can see this radius increasing and as I do so more and more, I'm telling this sampler to be a little bit more generous or go out a little bit farther and pull out some more white and you can see that its making that edge even smoother. When I let go, when I click off, you can see we have a really credible alpha channel built into this particular graphic. An alpha channel is this area that's transparent.

In other words, now when I hold it over this you can see that we can see right through it. That's a pretty powerful feature, something that's normally very complex that we were able to do very quickly. Let me go on to Slide 2 and show you how this works with the photograph. I'll go up to my Media Browser, click the photo here, drag this in and let go and I'll close the Media Browser and we'll have a look here. Now this is a much more complex image with much more complicated background instead of that nice clean graphic. Let's see how well the Alpha tool can work here.

I'll go up and click on that and I'm going to start appear in this brown area and I'm going to click and hold. You can notice already that because there are so many different colors now in the background, this whole selection process looks a bit different. What I'm looking at is I want to make sure that this blue area that's growing as I'm changing this radius doesn't encroach upon the helmet or the motorcycle or the parts of the image that I care about and the nice thing about this tool is that you don't have to do everything at once. So I'm not going to let go right now and I can take it in stages. I can be patient. It's important to know that you can take your time with this tool.

It's doing a lot of complicated things. If you are patient with it and you just kind of keep your eye on what parts are being selected, you can take it step by step and really get a very credible mask taken out of it. Now, let me exaggerate this just for a second on this stage. I'll grab it too much. That's way too much, but you can see here that brown has encroached upon the image itself and if I let go and click off you can see we have kind of destroyed the image a bit. So you can go too far, but you can always go back. I'm going to press Command+Z, take it back to where we were, I'll press on the Alpha tool again and I'll just keep pulling out little bits, taking my time.

Normally something like this in Photoshop in a very complicated photo like this will take a long time and if you really want to get a perfect mask, you might want to do that. But what's nice about this is it's something you can do really quickly to see if this image is actually going to work in your presentation. Let's do it few more. Now remember here in this original photograph our tire was truncated little bit on the bottom so that flat part came from the original and not from the any of the Instant Alpha that we are doing here. Pull that back a little bit and let go.

So you can see from that very complicated photograph-- and there are few bits here I can clean up but you get the point. We got a very credible mask and because of this bottom part it was a little too close to the original color and it was flat anyway, I'm just going to take this image, I can just hide it underneath the edge there and that's works just fine. I can go up here now to the Format bar, click on the Shadow and you can see that Keynote builds the shadow around the new image that's been created from that alpha channel creation. So it's a very impressive feature. One more thing I would like to show you on Slide 3.

Let's say we were given this logo graphic with this background. Of course, we don't want the background. I'll click on the object, go up to the Alpha tool, again click and hold and you can see it pulled the dock quickly because it's all the same color. A new feature for Keynote '09 is I'm going to hold down the Option key right now. I'm lifting the Option key up off and on here. It will take parts of that Alpha Channel that are non-contiguous, so you don't have to do those multiple iterations of pulling out things from the middle. You can just hold down the Option key and the Alpha Channel tool will look for all the colors, no matter if they are connected or not.

Let go. I have to got to say text is pretty hard to pull a mask and this did a very credible job, very quickly, of at least letting us know if this particular kind of graphic will work for us. So these built-in image editing tools in Keynote can really save you a lot of time and help you focus more on your presentation rather than on fixing your images. So Instant Alpha is not only a fast way to do mockups, it actually works.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Keynote '09 Essential Training
Keynote '09 Essential Training

59 video lessons · 30048 viewers

Craig Syverson
Author

 
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 15s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
  2. 13m 57s
    1. Exploring the user interface
      3m 54s
    2. Customizing the user interface
      2m 11s
    3. Using the Media Browser
      1m 42s
    4. Understanding the Document Warning
      2m 57s
    5. Understanding Keynote themes
      3m 13s
  3. 13m 8s
    1. Understanding master slides
      4m 45s
    2. Making changes to slides and masters
      3m 54s
    3. Creating a media placeholder on a master slide
      2m 18s
    4. Creating an object placeholder on a master slide
      2m 11s
  4. 12m 53s
    1. Layout and alignment of objects
      7m 28s
    2. Understanding stacking order
      5m 25s
  5. 35m 44s
    1. Working with free text objects
      4m 23s
    2. Comparing types of text objects
      4m 14s
    3. Formatting text in Keynote
      4m 5s
    4. Working with shape objects
      6m 40s
    5. Working with advanced shapes and colors
      5m 44s
    6. Using connection lines
      4m 40s
    7. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 58s
  6. 32m 43s
    1. Adding and formatting tables
      4m 16s
    2. Building conditional formatting and calculations
      4m 48s
    3. Chart types
      3m 44s
    4. Working with chart data
      5m 17s
    5. Formatting charts
      6m 10s
    6. Working with 3D charts
      5m 10s
    7. Linking charts with Numbers '09
      3m 18s
  7. 29m 17s
    1. Working with graphic files
      7m 49s
    2. Working with multimedia files
      4m 41s
    3. Applying masks
      6m 55s
    4. Applying image adjustments
      4m 15s
    5. Using the Instant Alpha tool
      5m 37s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Using 2D and 3D transitions
      6m 11s
    2. Creating transitions with text effects
      3m 9s
    3. Creating transitions with object effects
      4m 16s
    4. Introducing Magic Move
      4m 32s
  9. 30m 27s
    1. Using basic build parameters
      7m 33s
    2. Expanding on basic builds
      5m 20s
    3. Creating table and chart builds
      6m 41s
    4. Using smart builds
      3m 21s
    5. Building basic actions
      3m 43s
    6. Creating actions on a path
      3m 49s
  10. 28m 36s
    1. Using the Document Inspector
      5m 39s
    2. Organizing slides in the slide navigator
      2m 57s
    3. Organizing a presentation in Outline mode
      2m 54s
    4. Playing a slideshow
      2m 46s
    5. Adding notes
      1m 42s
    6. Using the Presenter Display
      5m 21s
    7. Recording narration for a slideshow
      3m 2s
    8. Using remote controls
      4m 15s
  11. 34m 54s
    1. Saving Keynote files
      5m 39s
    2. Saving a Keynote presentation as a PowerPoint file
      2m 17s
    3. Exporting presentations as PDFs
      3m 56s
    4. Sharing a Keynote presentation as a QuickTime movie
      7m 57s
    5. Exporting presentations as still images
      2m 14s
    6. Adding comments on a presentation
      1m 42s
    7. Collaborating with iWork.com
      7m 54s
    8. Printing presentations
      3m 15s
  12. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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