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Post by Eric M Palmer on Wed May 13, 2015 11:37 pm

YOU'LL LEARN How to make pro quality cut outs and add people to new backgrounds
YOU'LL NEED Photoshop or Elements
TIME REQUIRED 20 minutes
Difficulty LEVEL Medium

VIDEO LESSONS Watch as Jon walks you through this essential imaging technique on your computer screen.
START IMAGES The shots Jon used can be found in the Start images folder. They're JPEGs called Studio Portrait & Venice Street.

A great way to change the look and feel of a shot is to transport your subject to an entirely new place! Here's how you can do it...

APTURING A GOOD PORTRAIT of a subject often requires controlled conditions, so you can get the lighting just as you want it. But a clean, uncluttered studio background doesn't tell any story beyond the expression of the model. To add extra context to an image, you need to take it to a different place, and that requires some clever work with Selections. With a really good Selection of the subject, you can transport them to absolutely anywhere. In fact, the only limitation on where you can take them is the number of possible backgrounds lurking on your hard drive.
The most difficult thing about turning shots of people into good cut-outs is getting all the detail around the edge. Hard edges like those found around clothing and skin, are easy to select using manual Selection tools like the Polygonal Lasso. Because there's a defined edge to follow, you can simply zoom in tight and click along it. But when it comes to less distinct edges like fine strands of hair, the task becomes much harder. It's not possible to select each individual strand as it would take a disproportionate amount of time, so a better method is needed. Learning to use the advanced controls found in the Refine Edge command is what this tutorial's all about, and by mastering its subtleties, you'11 gain a huge amount of confidence in tackling 'impossible' Selections.

1) Open your new background and the person into Photoshop or Elements.
Load Photoshop or Elements, then go to File>Open and find the location into which you'd like to place your model. For practice, use Venice street. jpg from the Start Images folder. Once it's on screen, open a portrait pic on a clean background; or use Studio Portrait. jpg. With the portrait on screen, hit Ctrl+A to select it, then Ctrl+C to copy it into memory. You can now close it down with Ctrl+W. You'll see your background again, and to get the portrait pic into the same document, go to Edit>Paste or hit the shortcut Ctrl+V.

2) Resize the portrait to suit. Open the Layers palette and you'll see the portrait floating above the background. The portrait is too big at present, so to scale it down, hit Ctrl+T to enter Free Transform mode. In Elements, check that Constrain Proportions is ticked in the Tool Options bar. and pull in one of the corner handles of the bounding box to scale down the subject. In Photoshop, hold Shift while you do this to keep image in proportion. Once you've got it to the right size, hit Return to confirm the changes and see the resized pic at its full resolution. On the example image, the portrait was scaled to 50% - you car see this amount in the Tool Options bar.

3) Select the hard edges with the Polygonal Lasso tool Zoom in tight on the edge of the portrait and select the Polygonal Lasso tool from the Toolbox. Staying right on the edge clothing and skin, click around the model's out line. Don't cut the hair at this stage - just click all the way around the body and leave a loose Selection around the hair, making sure you take it all in. Once you've completed the hard-edged Selection and got back to your starting point, the model will be surrounded with marching Ctrl+J to place the selected area in a new layer.

4) Select and delete unwanted areas. In the Layers palette, click on the ‘eye’ icon alongside the model's original Layer to switch it off. You should now see a good cut-out on the outline of the body, but areas under the arms and around the hair still need work. To remove the ‘holes’ under the arms, zoom in tight and use the Polygonal Lasso tool in the same way to select the hard edge. Once you've selected one side, hold the Spacebar and scroll across to the other. Now hold Shift to add to the Selection, and click around the part you want to remove. When you've selected it, hit Backspace to delete the areas.

5) Put the head in a separate Layer and set up the Refine Edge command To select the hair, you first need to place the model's head in a separate Layer so you can work on it independently. With the lasso tool, make a quick, rough Selection around the head and hair, then hit Ctrl+J to place it ln a new Layer. Switch off the 'eye' icon on the layer beneath, then select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbox. Drag it over the face and hair to get most of the subject selected. Then click on the Refine Edge button in the Tool Options bar. Under View at the top, double click on the On Layers option so you can see the model on the actual background that's in place.

6) Refine the edge of the hair. Select the Refine Radius tool and paint around the edge to take in the individual strands of hair. When you release the mouse you'll see them. Paint over any white areas to remove these from the Selection and see the results previewed. Keep working around the edge until you have a good result. Try ticking the Smart Radius box and moving the Radius slider to see if it helps (it does on
some Selections). When you have a reasonable finish, tick the Decontaminate Colours box and move the Amount slider to the right to get a better blend. You can also try adjusting the Smooth slider to get a more subtle edge effect. Click OK when you're finished and the refined Selection will be placed on a new Layer with a Mask attached.

7) Mask out the join. Click back on the Layer with the hard-edged Selection, switch the 'eye' icon back on, and click the Add Layer Mask icon to add a Mask. Hit D then X to set black as the foreground colour, then paint into the image to remove the white area around the hair and reveal the refined Selection. Take care on hard edges like the neck line - hit X to swap the colours and paint with white if you go over the edge. When you've completed your refined cut-out, you’ll want to link it to the hard-edged cut-out of the body so they can be moved as one. To do this click on the head Layer to make it active, then Ctrl+Click just under the name of the body Layer (layer2) so that’s highlighted. Right-click on this Layer, then select Link Layers from the drop-down list. You can now select the Move tool (V) and drag the person and their head into a different position to improve the framing.

Cool Blur the background for a shallow focus effect. To give a pro-style finish to your image, you can let the sharp focus fall away in the distance. To do this, click on the Background Layer to make It active and select the Lasso tool. Make a Selection around the area you want to blur, basing your Selection on the distance from the camera. Now click Refine Edge once more and move the Feather slider to 250px to give a really soft edge to the selected area. Click OK, then punch this into a new Layer with Ctrl+J. Next, go to Filter *Blur* Gaussian Blur. in the palette, move the Amount slider to around 7px to blur the background and give a shallow depth-of-field effect, making your subject stand out with a 3D feel. Click OK to complete the image.

Comments which were with pictures.

The model was captured in a studio against a white background. We want to transport her to a colourful street in Venice, but the challenge lies in making an accurate selection that takes in every strand of hair.

With careful use of the Refine Edge command, the model has been placed in a new scene with every strand of hair visible.
Eric M Palmer
Eric M Palmer

Posts : 1127
Join date : 2010-09-22

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Post by Eric M Palmer on Fri May 15, 2015 8:46 pm

As with most photo things it's the little things which cause problems PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Open-as-RAW by selecting in bridge one can normally bring up both photos together in Photoshop layers but since I wanted to use smart images this time I opened in RAW.

PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Open-Object It took me some time to find how to open as smart image note button says "Open Object" not "Open" it simply requires pressing Caps Shift key and the Open changes to Open Object.

PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Mask1 For some reason to tells you to use lasso tool but using quick selection tool and inverting selection is what I did. Do not open mask until after selected and then it will be auto included with mask.

PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Mask4You then need to replace the hair and background that is easier than making selection to include it in first place. I also show here selecting refine mask by right clicking on mask. You can see sliders to increase brush size. While brushing nothing seems to happen then as you release mouse it all works. When satisfied click on OK.

PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Venice-Street-1Completed image. Because opened as smart image and saved as that I can reopen and change things so for fun placed model on the jeans that were drying.
PLACE PEOPLE IN NEW LOCATIONS Venice%20Street%20as%20Smart%20Object-1

Eric M Palmer
Eric M Palmer

Posts : 1127
Join date : 2010-09-22

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