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Extracting from a white background


Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Extracting from a white background

All right I've made some additional modifications to this file. For starters I've gone ahead and renamed the layer. So I have rope 01 down here near the bottom, and then I have rope 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 all the way up the list until I get to rope 14. I went ahead and re-created actually rope 14 because it needed to be skewed slightly, and it needed its layer mask. So all I did was I took rope 13 layer, and I once again pressed Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on a Mac in order to duplicate it.
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  1. 40m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 1s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 6s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. What you can do with Photoshop
      1m 46s
    2. The mission-critical eyes
      2m 44s
    3. Copy Merged and Paste in Place
      6m 52s
    4. Sharpening details to match
      4m 34s
    5. Masking eyes
      9m 22s
    6. Working with clipping-mask layers
      9m 5s
    7. Shading with layer effects
      8m 10s
    8. Color and highlight effects
      4m 2s
    9. Refining layer masks
      5m 43s
    10. Fabricating the highlights in the pupils
      7m 33s
    11. Using a merged copy to sharpen
      5m 34s
  3. 2h 14m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      1m 16s
    2. Introducing the Auto commands
      7m 23s
    3. Adjusting Cache Level settings
      6m 8s
    4. Reading a channel-by-channel histogram
      6m 21s
    5. How the Auto commands work
      5m 22s
    6. Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color
      7m 7s
    7. Blending the Auto results
      4m 4s
    8. Introducing the Levels command
      6m 15s
    9. Using Levels as an adjustment layer
      3m 12s
    10. Applying custom Levels adjustments
      6m 8s
    11. Understanding the gamma value
      7m 39s
    12. The futility of Output Levels
      2m 56s
    13. Selections and adjustment layers
      5m 48s
    14. Opening up the shadows
      3m 40s
    15. Previewing clipped pixels
      4m 51s
    16. The black, white, and gray eyedroppers
      5m 7s
    17. Gray card tips and tricks
      6m 5s
    18. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      7m 29s
    19. Introducing the Curves command
      7m 44s
    20. Curves dialog box tricks
      7m 16s
    21. Curves adjustment layer tricks
      5m 45s
    22. Correcting an image with Curves
      5m 32s
    23. Filling in the highlights
      5m 42s
    24. Neutralizing casts and smoothing transitions
      5m 37s
  4. 1h 46m
    1. The art of enhancing edges
      1m 26s
    2. How sharpening works
      6m 2s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      6m 7s
    4. Introducing Unsharp Mask
      6m 19s
    5. Radius and Threshold
      6m 24s
    6. Sharpening colors vs. luminosity
      5m 56s
    7. Gauging the ideal settings
      8m 59s
    8. Unsharp Mask vs. Smart Sharpen
      7m 1s
    9. Using the Remove settings
      9m 30s
    10. The More Accurate checkbox
      6m 8s
    11. Saving your Smart Filter settings
      5m 31s
    12. The Advanced sharpening settings
      7m 52s
    13. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 18s
    14. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      6m 43s
    15. Sharpening with High Pass
      9m 23s
    16. The new and improved Sharpen tool
      6m 22s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Edge's evil twin: noise
      1m 12s
    2. Color vs. luminance noise
      7m 21s
    3. Reducing color noise
      7m 45s
    4. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 59s
    5. Relegating an effect to the shadows
      6m 27s
    6. Switching between layer and mask
      6m 59s
    7. The Dust & Scratches filter
      4m 56s
    8. Adjusting shadow saturation
      5m 52s
    9. Combining High Pass with Lens Blur
      6m 57s
    10. Masking a layer of Lens Blur
      7m 34s
    11. Painting away High Pass sharpening
      8m 22s
    12. Building up a noise pattern
      6m 40s
    13. Converting noise to texture
      4m 24s
    14. Bleeding colors into paper
      6m 16s
    15. Matching different noise levels
      8m 31s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. We are the stuff of light
      1m 24s
    2. Applying automatic lens correction
      5m 53s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 44s
    4. Shadows/Highlights in depth
      7m 59s
    5. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      4m 43s
    6. Sharpening on top of blur
      7m 3s
    7. Sharpening the merged composition
      6m 16s
    8. Grouping and masking layers
      5m 40s
    9. Adjusting the density of a mask
      7m 14s
    10. Creating a Shadows/Highlights shortcut
      5m 47s
    11. Restoring detail with Shadows/Highlights
      6m 23s
    12. Changing the Shadows/Highlights defaults
      6m 21s
    13. Smoothing skin details with Gaussian Blur
      3m 56s
    14. Smoothing with High Pass
      5m 44s
    15. Lowering contrast with Gaussian Blur
      7m 4s
    16. Inverting a sharpening effect
      7m 5s
  7. 2h 32m
    1. Color becomes monochrome
      1m 31s
    2. Converting an image to grayscale
      6m 49s
    3. Extracting luminance information
      7m 37s
    4. Introducing the Channel Mixer
      10m 23s
    5. Aggressive channel mixing
      9m 42s
    6. Proofing CMYK colors
      7m 49s
    7. Color settings and intent
      7m 6s
    8. Practical Channel Mixer variations
      4m 30s
    9. Saving variations as layer comps
      7m 57s
    10. The default grayscale recipe
      8m 55s
    11. Creating a custom black-and-white mix
      6m 59s
    12. Shadows/Highlights in black and white
      4m 58s
    13. Introducing the Black & White command
      5m 55s
    14. Adjusting Black & White settings
      9m 39s
    15. Mixing a Black & White portrait
      6m 32s
    16. Black & White vs. Channel Mixer
      9m 21s
    17. Adding tint and color
      8m 0s
    18. Introducing the Gradient Map
      7m 10s
    19. Loading custom gradients
      4m 32s
    20. Editing gradient color stops
      9m 58s
    21. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      7m 13s
  8. 2h 10m
    1. Two great commands working great together
      1m 18s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 13s
    3. Setting key colors and Fuzziness
      5m 38s
    4. Predefined vs. sampled colors
      3m 57s
    5. The Localized Color Clusters option
      5m 41s
    6. Defining a selection with care
      4m 44s
    7. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      5m 20s
    8. Testing edges with the Magic Wand
      5m 14s
    9. Hand-brushing a selection
      5m 39s
    10. Saving and loading an alpha channel
      4m 35s
    11. Converting a selection to a layer mask
      2m 46s
    12. Switching between an image and a layer mask
      6m 58s
    13. Protecting elements with a layer mask
      8m 5s
    14. Duplicating and editing a layer mask
      7m 34s
    15. Introducing the Refine Edge command
      4m 46s
    16. Accessing the various Refine Edge options
      5m 35s
    17. Refine Edge's preview options
      6m 21s
    18. The Adjust Edge values
      4m 11s
    19. Edge Detection and Smart Radius
      6m 5s
    20. Using the Refine Radius tool
      8m 8s
    21. Using the Decontaminate Colors option
      7m 30s
    22. Old-school masking adjustments
      7m 7s
    23. Four micro mask adjustments
      8m 33s
  9. 3h 13m
    1. Photoshop's vector exceptions
      1m 11s
    2. Making text in Photoshop
      6m 18s
    3. Creating and editing a text layer
      6m 56s
    4. Font and type style
      7m 35s
    5. Type size and color
      7m 52s
    6. Combining layer effects and type
      10m 57s
    7. Drawing a custom shape layer
      8m 34s
    8. Side bearing, kerning, and tracking
      10m 36s
    9. Point text vs. area text
      8m 26s
    10. Selecting and formatting a paragraph
      5m 19s
    11. Copying and pasting unformatted text
      7m 45s
    12. Creating text inside a custom path
      6m 26s
    13. Creating text along a path
      8m 13s
    14. Adjusting baseline shift
      6m 16s
    15. Drawing a fading arrowhead
      7m 29s
    16. Fading a shadow with a layer
      5m 32s
    17. Logo creation and Fill Opacity
      7m 44s
    18. Stretching a background element
      6m 9s
    19. Drawing with shape outlines
      6m 18s
    20. Combining vector-based shapes
      6m 42s
    21. Masking vector-based shape layers
      6m 7s
    22. Correcting spacing problems
      7m 44s
    23. Drawing the ultimate specular sparkle
      8m 45s
    24. Preparing text for commercial output
      5m 9s
    25. Saving a high-resolution PDF file
      7m 11s
    26. Inspecting the final PDF document
      7m 8s
    27. Saving large poster art
      9m 32s
  10. 2h 36m
    1. What filters ought to be
      1m 25s
    2. Layer effects vs. filters
      6m 14s
    3. Carving with an Inner Shadow effect
      7m 45s
    4. Selling an effect with Drop Shadow
      7m 17s
    5. Creating blurry shadow type
      5m 30s
    6. Saving custom default settings
      6m 22s
    7. Creating a custom contour
      7m 3s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 35s
    9. Adjusting Angle and Altitude
      7m 8s
    10. Exploiting global light
      8m 11s
    11. Gloss and edge contour
      5m 8s
    12. Applying and creating layer styles
      6m 45s
    13. Loading, saving, and merging styles
      6m 17s
    14. Creating a textured bevel effect
      6m 56s
    15. Using shadows as highlights
      7m 39s
    16. Combining filters and effects
      6m 58s
    17. Working with random effects
      6m 55s
    18. Smoothing with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 13s
    19. Masking blacks from whites
      4m 37s
    20. Applying liquid styles
      4m 36s
    21. Simulating liquid reflections
      8m 12s
    22. Finessing and cropping a liquid effect
      7m 25s
    23. Initiating a displacement map
      6m 17s
    24. Applying a displacement map
      7m 37s
  11. 1h 12m
    1. Two words: Free Transform
    2. Scale, rotate, and constrain
      6m 30s
    3. Using the transformation origin
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a slant (aka skew)
      3m 37s
    5. The four-point "perspective" distortion
      7m 51s
    6. Two ways to make gradient text
      5m 59s
    7. Building complexity from a simple shape
      4m 42s
    8. Duplicating a series of transformations
      6m 3s
    9. Rasterizing a layer with its effects
      6m 41s
    10. Applying a custom warp
      7m 24s
    11. Blending and softening a warped layer
      4m 39s
    12. Creating spherical highlights
      6m 30s
    13. Using a center-source inner glow
      3m 51s
  12. 2h 42m
    1. Distorting reality
      1m 33s
    2. Extracting a foreground element
      6m 45s
    3. Introducing the Puppet Warp command
      7m 20s
    4. Setting and manipulating pins
      7m 48s
    5. Rotating pins and switching warp modes
      6m 41s
    6. Expanding and contracting the mesh
      6m 11s
    7. Changing the Density setting
      8m 0s
    8. Adjusting the pin depth
      5m 18s
    9. Winding an image into a pretzel
      6m 2s
    10. Applying Puppet Warp to type
      6m 30s
    11. Warping single characters
      6m 25s
    12. Editing puppet-warped text
      8m 24s
    13. Extending an image with Free Transform
      8m 46s
    14. Extracting from a white background
      10m 5s
    15. Tracing a shape with Puppet Warp
      9m 1s
    16. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 4s
    17. Warp, Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat
      8m 53s
    18. Saving and loading a mesh
      5m 59s
    19. Push, Mirror, and Turbulence
      11m 49s
    20. Lifting and slimming details
      8m 22s
    21. Warping fabric, arms, and legs
      7m 1s
    22. Masking and finessing the results
      10m 8s
  13. 3h 3m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 44s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw
      7m 40s
    3. Adjusting white balance
      7m 0s
    4. Selecting and synchronizing images
      6m 9s
    5. Making automatic adjustments and saving changes
      7m 19s
    6. Creating and managing snapshots
      8m 23s
    7. Adjusting the Exposure value
      6m 24s
    8. Working with clipping warnings
      5m 5s
    9. Adjusting Brightness and Contrast
      7m 35s
    10. Vibrance, Saturation, and Clarity
      9m 25s
    11. Recovery and Fill Light
      6m 57s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      7m 2s
    13. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 44s
    14. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      7m 49s
    15. Applying manual lens corrections
      7m 19s
    16. Vignette and chromatic aberrations
      6m 21s
    17. Introducing the Tone Curves
      6m 9s
    18. Parametric curves and targeted adjustments
      6m 26s
    19. Correcting a low-noise photograph
      7m 35s
    20. Sharpening and high-noise photos
      8m 25s
    21. Selective Hue/Saturation adjustments
      5m 34s
    22. Selective Luminance adjustments
      5m 39s
    23. Adding grain and vignetting effects
      5m 23s
    24. Mixing a subjective black-and-white image
      7m 53s
    25. Colorizing with the Split Toning options
      4m 29s
    26. Opening a raw image as a Smart Object
      5m 39s
    27. Camera Raw wrap-up
      8m 38s
  14. 55s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
26h 24m Intermediate Aug 13, 2010 Updated Aug 31, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.

Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Topics include:
  • Using blend modes, adjustment layers, and layer styles
  • Organizing a layered composition so it is fluid and editable
  • Creating and editing type in Photoshop
  • Using blur effectively
  • Using adjustment layers to add color
  • Combining layers into a clipping mask
  • Working with Camera Raw
Design Photography
Deke McClelland

Extracting from a white background

All right I've made some additional modifications to this file. For starters I've gone ahead and renamed the layer. So I have rope 01 down here near the bottom, and then I have rope 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 all the way up the list until I get to rope 14. I went ahead and re-created actually rope 14 because it needed to be skewed slightly, and it needed its layer mask. So all I did was I took rope 13 layer, and I once again pressed Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on a Mac in order to duplicate it.

I also went ahead and added this heart shape layer, which is turned off currently. I want to leave it off if you are working along with me, and the name of this file incidentally is called Elongated rope.psd. So again if you're working along with me, you will need to open this file, and it's inside the 23_distort folder. All right so what we are going to do in this exercise is we are going to take this elongated bit of rope, we are going to mash it onto a single layer, so we are going to merge all the visible layers together, and then we are going to go ahead and mask the rope so that we can separate the hands and the rope from the background, just like we did with that jumping dude in the previous project.

All right so here's what I want you to do. Make sure, again, heart shape, that heart shape layer right there is turned off. We don't want to be able to see it. We should be seeing all the other layers, however. Now go up to the Layer menu, and I want to choose Merge Visible. It's dimmed, however, because my heart shape layer is active. So you need to make sure that one of your visible layers is active. I will click on hands left and then go back to Layer menu and choose Merge Visible. You've got a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ Shift+E, Command+Shift+E on the Mac, and that's going to go ahead and merge all those visible layers on to one.

So it's called hands left. That's not accurate. Let's go ahead and call it tug of war like so, and then that takes care of the layer. Now we need to mask it. And we are going to create the mask by going over to the Channels panel. This is the easiest way to work incidentally. Go the Channels panel. We will be discussing masking in more detail in a chapter inside the Mastery portion of the series, but what I would like you do for now is just check out the channels we have to work with. This is the Red channel. Very bright as you can see here. We are looking for as much contrast as possible.

So bright is not good, because if we have bright hands against a white background, why then that's not a heck of a lot of contrast. If we switch to Green, things darken up. That's good, because the background is going to remain white inside all of these channels, and then Blue darker still. So I am just going to take that Blue channel right there and I'm going to duplicate it by dragging it onto the page icon at the bottom of the Channels palette. That creates a copy of the Blue channel. I am going to on go ahead and rename it mask, like so. Having duplicated and named this new channel, I will press Ctrl+I or Command+I on a Mac to invert it and the reason there is to create an effective mask we need the hands in the rope to be white against the black background, because white indicates the selection and black indicates a deselected region of the image.

All right now I'm going to press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac to bring up the Levels dialog box, and I'm going to drag this white slider triangle over to left and I am going to take it all the way down to 30, like so. So I'm saying anything with a luminance level 30 or brighter is going to become white and anything in between is going to remain some kind of gray value so that we have a little bit of softening around the edges. That's it! That's all I am going to do. So you leave the black point at 0.

Don't touch the gamma value, change the white point to 30, and then click OK. Now that doesn't entirely take care of the problem. I will go ahead and zoom in on these right side hands, and you can see that the sleeves are a little bit dingy, a little bit too gray. So at this point, you know what? I am going to actually-- check this out. I might have a nice avenue of white around this region, which would make it a lot easier to select and get rid of it, as opposed to resorting to any even mildly complicated techniques. So I am going to switch over to the Magic Wand tool and I'm going to enter those settings that allow us to test the black-and-white regions inside the image.

So I am going to change the Tolerance value to 0 and I am going to turn off Anti-alias. I want Contiguous to remain on. I don't care about Sample All Layers, because I'm working in a flat channel. All right now I click in this area that looks to be white and sure enough, look at that. I've got a nice avenue around this gray area of the sleeve. So with the selection still intact, I am going to switch over to my Lasso tool, and I could do that by pressing the L key of course. And now I am going to Shift+Drag around this region that I want to add to the selection. It's very important that you press the Shift key and drag around this area and then if you're concerned about these little snivels down here in the lower region of the rope, you can Shift+ Drag around them as well in order to add them to the selection.

All right that looks good to me. I might want to drag inside the rope. I don't really care about all this garbage here. We'd spend a lot of time trying to select it all. So I'm not sure it's really worth it, but here I am doing it. Ha! I just can't help myself. I tell you why. Once I get in the mood where I'm not going to do something, then that's exactly when I do it. Anyway, it's up to you. If you want to follow along with me, even though I said I wasn't going to do it, here I am. And I could go ahead and maybe sort of drag along, or I could reduce my view size. Currently I am zoomed into 200%.

I don't need to be that far zoomed in on the image and I'm about halfway over this rope area right now, and I'll just continue to drag like so and then just encircle that area. I just ended up selecting too much. So I will go ahead and undo that modification. This is the problem with being zoomed out a little bit is it's hard to select these regions. You know what? I am for once and for all just going to ignore the rest of junk. All right then I'll go ahead and scroll over to left side of the image, zoom in like so, Shift+Drag around this bit of sleeve.

I don't have a clear channel right there. I'll take care of that in a moment. I do have a nice clear avenue around this bit of darkness, so I will go ahead Shift+Drag around it, Shift+Drag around this thing as well, and then zoom out a little bit, and I want to fill this selected region, and you know what? I do want to get rid of these little bits of dust and so on at the beginning of the rope trick on the left side of the image here, just so that everything begins and ends quite nicely.

Well, here I am, going ahead and selecting some more of this area inside the rope. I just knew I would do that! Shame on me! Anyway, get out of there and here's what I would like you to do. Go ahead and press Ctrl+Backspace or Command+ Delete on the Mac. Assuming that the background color is white, that will go ahead and fill that selected region with white as well and because we just added to the selection, we are just adding to the region of white. All right now I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image and let's go ahead and zoom in on that little bit of sleeve right there, and we are going to fix up that gray area. Notice it's right against the edge.

We are going to fix it up by grabbing the Brush tool, and this is a very common masking technique incidentally, which we will be investigating in more detail when we take a look at masking in the Mastery portion of the series. I am going to increase the size of my brush. I will go ahead right-click actually do bring up this pop-up panel and I will reduce the hardness value to 0%, and then I will go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key a couple times in order to accept that modification. Now then press the D key in order to establish white as your foreground color, because that's the way it works when you're creating a mask, and I am going to change my mode from Normal to Ooverlay, and that way when I paint against this edge, I don't harm the black, as you can see there.

I am not painting inside the black. The black is respected. I'm just cleaning up any of the light gray pixels and just a single stroke is all it takes. It's all done. Go ahead and switch back to different tool, if you want to. I will go ahead and zoom out from the image as well and if you want to take care of those little bits of gray that were inside the rope, you could do this number. Go ahead and switch back to the Brush tool, and it's still set to overlay. It's still set to white. Increase the size of the brush a little bit and click on one side of the rope like so, just click, and then scroll over to the other side of the rope and Shift+Click, and that will go ahead and connect those two points with a straight line of whiteness, and that should wipe out any of those gray pixels, and that's all there is to it.

Now we've created a mask. Now I am going to switch back to the RGB image and I'm going to load that mask. I will press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and click on that mask in order to load it is a selection outline, and I will switch back to Layers panel like so. The tug of war layer is active. Now I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac to jump this selection to a new layer, and I'm going to go ahead and call this layer hands and rope so that I know that these items have been extracted from the background and then go ahead and press Enter or Return in order accept the creation of that new layer, and we are ready to go.

I will turn off the tug of war layer so that we can see that the hands are set against a transparent background. That's great. I'm going to turn on this heart shaped layer, because that's the layer that we are going to be tracing in the very next exercise, using of course the Puppet Warp command, and then one more modification that I want to make. I want to create a new background layer. So a background layer of white, and I'll do that by clicking on the little page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a new layer that has a name of Layer 1. I couldn't care less about that, because now I am going to go up to the layer menu, choose new and choose background from layer in order to convert the new layer to a background layer.

We are now ready to take this layer right there, hands and rope, and use the Puppet Warp command in order to trace this heart and we will do that very thing in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Presets/Keyboard Shortcuts

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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