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Extracting elements from their backgrounds

From: Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing

Video: Extracting elements from their backgrounds

This compositing project is going to be a ton of fun and what we're going to look at here is how we can take this photograph of this old vintage book and how we can remove the text and also remove the background and then blend in a few different graphic or design elements. Now, if we open up this folder, first turning on its visibility, you'll see that we have a number of different photographs here. These photographs were captured by one of my colleagues Ralph Clevenger. And this particular project stems from something that was real, where he had asked me to design this page for his website in order to have some information about himself and also a few interesting graphic elements.

Extracting elements from their backgrounds

This compositing project is going to be a ton of fun and what we're going to look at here is how we can take this photograph of this old vintage book and how we can remove the text and also remove the background and then blend in a few different graphic or design elements. Now, if we open up this folder, first turning on its visibility, you'll see that we have a number of different photographs here. These photographs were captured by one of my colleagues Ralph Clevenger. And this particular project stems from something that was real, where he had asked me to design this page for his website in order to have some information about himself and also a few interesting graphic elements.

So, here he took this photograph of this old book and what we want to do is extract this book from the background. So, in order to do that, let's close this little folder here and focus in on the background. Next thing we want to do is grab one of our Selection tools like the Quick Select tool and we'll start off by simply clicking-and-dragging across the image. Now, if ever we notice that the Quick Select makes a mistake, as it did over here, press Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, and then click to paint that away. Paint it back in, make your brush a little bit smaller, and essentially teach Quick Select where the edge is and it's going to be tricky in order to get this just right, but eventually, you'll start to build this up so that you can have this just right.

Now, your brush size will determine how fine of detail this is. So, if you have a larger brush, you're going to discover that it won't be as good of a selection. All right, well here I'll hold down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows, just subtract that and then add a little bit more there, and then make my brush nice and small, try to add that little piece, nice little design element of the book and just go through these edges, looking to try to build this out little by little. You can see here I am just single clicking as I move along and it's building up this nice edge.

Now, I'm holding down Option on a Mac, Alt on Windows and dragging along this edge, just trying to get a little bit of a better edge there. All right, go down here, make sure I have nice edge that extends all the way to the edge of the book itself, and sometimes this takes a little bit of tinkering, a little bit of back-and- forth work in order to get this going, and to get it in the right spot. The great thing about working with Quick Select is that it's fast. The downside is that the edges almost always are a bit jagged. So, here in this case I think we have a pretty good start.

We'll have to see how it actually looks, and we'll just add a few more little details into this, a little bit more up here, adding a little bit more of that shadow into the mix here, and then hold down Option or Alt. It looks like I brought in too much. I was so close, got a little bit too ambitious there with those shadows up top, and I think we'll have to paint that in a little bit better here in a minute. Okay well, we got all the details of this selection. What do we want to do next? Well, typically what you want to do is copy your background layer and I like to do that just in case I make a mistake or accidentally erase something.

Although we will work with a mask, it's just a nice safety net. Here I'll turn off the visibility of the background layer, and then I'll click on the Add Layer Mask icon. This will give me my first view of the image. Now, at first glance it looks okay, yet there are really some problem edges. So we need to fix this up. In order to fix this up though I also need a solid color background, whatever it's going to be, and in this case, it was for his web site so I want white in the background. In order to create a new layer filled with white, one easy way to do that is to click on the New Layer icon.

We'll go ahead and name this new layer white. We'll then press Shift+Delete. That will open up our Fill dialog and here we'll choose a color, we'll select White and click OK, and then of course we need to relocate this layer underneath our book layer. One way to do that is to simply click- and-drag this layer underneath, or if you're bit of a power user or you want to learn a shortcut, you can also press Command+Left bracket on a Mac, Ctrl+Left bracket on Windows.

Now, once I do that all of a sudden my edge looks even worse. So I need to fix it up. All right, well, let's zoom in a little bit and let's press the Spacebar key and just pan around the image and get familiar with our image. One of the things I'm noticing is there are some problem areas like this line is just kind of strange. So, I'll click in my mask, grab my Brush tool and here I'm going to paint with black. I'll make my brush a little bit more of a normal brush here, so I'm going to go ahead and choose a brush from this menu which is a little bit more straightforward, and then Left bracket key to change the size there.

I had used a creative brush previously, so it remembered that. I need to go back to something a bit more normal, and then I'm just going to go ahead and mask out some of these little problem areas that I am noticing that are a little bit more overt. Now of course we'll be using some of our other controls to fix this up in a minute, but for now again I just want to hit some of the most noticeable problem areas. So I'm just painting with black, kind of sweetening up the edge there a little bit. Here I'll press the X key, click once, hold down the Shift key, click again, just add that line there, just build that out a little bit more, and then over on this side I think for the most part that's okay.

Press X to paint with black, exchange those two colors. Okay, well how then can we make this even stronger? What we need to do is we need to go to our Mask panel and in the Mask panel, we're going to open up Mask Edge, and the great thing about Mask Edge at least in Photoshop CS5 is that we can refine this edge by using Edge Detection and Smart Radius. So, here we're going to go ahead and increase the Radius. As I do that, it starts to pay attention to those edges much more closely and here you can see it's already a much better edge.

I'll smooth it out a bit. I'll add a touch of Contrast. That will add more edge definition there, and this edge already just by doing just a few little small changes, it's already looking a ton better. Maybe just a little bit of Feather softening that, and you know what, I think we nailed it. That's really looking good. Here we have that before and then the after. This whole Refine Mask thing is reason enough to upgrade the Photoshop CS5. It is so incredibly strong.

All right, well, I think that looks pretty good. Let's click OK in order to apply that and we are now off to a really good start. We've extracted the book from its background. The next step of course is going to be to work on the contents inside of the book. We need to get rid of all of this copy, so that we have a blank slate so to speak, so that we can start to build out this particular composite.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing
Photoshop CS5: Creative Compositing

58 video lessons · 30346 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 30s
    1. Welcome
      52s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 38s
  2. 20m 12s
    1. Combining layers with blending modes
      1m 36s
    2. Using blending modes and color adjustment layers
      2m 21s
    3. Layer blending and shortcuts
      4m 3s
    4. Creative project: Wisdom begins in wonder
      6m 23s
    5. Creating a flamenco dancer advertisement
      5m 49s
  3. 17m 39s
    1. Snapshot project: Using Auto-Align and Auto-Blend
      3m 27s
    2. Flag project: Combining depths of field
      3m 46s
    3. Nature project: Combining foreground and sky
      4m 47s
    4. Nature project: Adding clouds and creative color
      5m 39s
  4. 15m 28s
    1. Combining multiple frames
      5m 21s
    2. Cleaning up the details
      5m 5s
    3. Modifying color and tone
      5m 2s
  5. 11m 48s
    1. Combining interior and exterior architecture
      6m 57s
    2. Increasing drama and visual interest
      4m 51s
  6. 25m 27s
    1. Composite project overview
      4m 12s
    2. Masking multiple images together
      3m 28s
    3. Extending the canvas and adding elements
      2m 58s
    4. Enhancing the main elements
      1m 47s
    5. Cleaning up the background
      4m 27s
    6. Award-winning composite inspiration
      4m 30s
    7. Photoshop composite inspiration: Web sites
      4m 5s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Project 1: Removing a model from a background
      9m 27s
    2. Project 1: Combining multiple photographs
      3m 23s
    3. Project 1: Working with shadows
      8m 15s
    4. Project 1: Adding light and color
      5m 18s
    5. Project 1: Working with curves and masking
      3m 45s
    6. Project 1: Final color and tone adjustments
      6m 56s
    7. Project 2: Combining multiple photographs
      7m 51s
    8. Project 2: Adding shadows
      7m 21s
    9. Project 2: Organizing layers and adding blur
      5m 48s
    10. Project 2: Adding film grain
      6m 19s
  8. 22m 58s
    1. Illuminating the eyes
      4m 16s
    2. Blending graphics with photos
      4m 25s
    3. Making final color modifications
      6m 19s
    4. Creative portrait blending
      7m 58s
  9. 25m 54s
    1. Working with color and tone
      3m 46s
    2. Adding texture
      4m 4s
    3. Adding film grain
      2m 44s
    4. Modifying texture
      4m 32s
    5. Darkening edges
      3m 34s
    6. Applying a creative color effect
      7m 14s
  10. 14m 39s
    1. Creating a selection of the TV glass
      4m 14s
    2. Masking the images into the selection
      5m 16s
    3. Modifying the color and tone
      5m 9s
  11. 27m 42s
    1. Extracting elements from their backgrounds
      6m 49s
    2. Removing the words from the book
      4m 31s
    3. Masking and image blending
      4m 35s
    4. Creating composite options
      4m 56s
    5. Enhancing the color
      6m 51s
  12. 11m 39s
    1. Setting the stage with color and tone
      4m 30s
    2. Working with textures and blending
      7m 9s
  13. 20m 31s
    1. Project overview
      4m 54s
    2. Using masking and blending modes for emphasis
      5m 8s
    3. Adding and modifying typography
      4m 55s
    4. Making final color and tone adjustments
      5m 34s
  14. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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