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Photographer
Photography by Sean
Posts: 118
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I'm just curious because I'm looking for a better method. For years, I've been extracting people and objects using the pen tool. It works, but it falls for when it comes to extracting subjects with hair or fur. Mind you, I'm using Photoshop CS6 with a Photoshop 6 state of mind, LOL. What are the best methods currently to extract people and objects cleanly? Especially those with hair.
Dec 08 12 09:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WMcK
Posts: 5,246
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


A common method is to look at all three channels and pick out the one in which the hair contrasts most with the backround, boost the contrast further and use this as a mask.
Dec 08 12 09:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,221
Sisters, Oregon, US


If your shoots are planned and you know you will want to extract the people, then consider shooting them on Green Screen.  There are really excellent programs now that allow you to extract people, objects, etc when shot on chroma green backgrounds.  One of them advertises regularly here. 

FWIW
Dec 08 12 09:32 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Ledo retouch
Posts: 1,111
Lodi, California, US


As with most things, it depends on the image, I still like the pen tool for
it's precision. For hair, I sometimes make a rough selection and use the
blend if sliders. I prefer a plain, neutral background to avoid color pollution.
Dec 08 12 10:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photography by Sean
Posts: 118
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I'm asking this because I heard about some method of using the selection tool and refining edges. I tried that but it didn't pan out well. So I'm trying to see if there's a better way than the pen tool because the pen tool is really time consuming.
Dec 08 12 10:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Sean Alexandre wrote:
I'm asking this because I heard about some method of using the selection tool and refining edges. I tried that but it didn't pan out well. So I'm trying to see if there's a better way than the pen tool because the pen tool is really time consuming.

I've yet to EVER get the new Refine Edge tool to work in CS6 so I feel your pain.

Dec 08 12 10:13 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Krunoslav Stifter
Posts: 3,843
Santa Cruz, California, US


Sean Alexandre wrote:
I'm asking this because I heard about some method of using the selection tool and refining edges. I tried that but it didn't pan out well. So I'm trying to see if there's a better way than the pen tool because the pen tool is really time consuming.

Refine edge works well with the combination of pen tool. Pen tool for hard edges and for soft fluffy or hair like edges, refine edge. In about 90% of cases that should work just fine. I would say that is the science behind extracting images.

The art in the process comes in the form of blending the image you extracted with the new background. Bleeding edges and matching the lighting and all the other wonderful things of compositing. smile

Dec 08 12 12:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photography by Sean
Posts: 118
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Krunoslav-Stifter wrote:

Refine edge works well with the combination of pen tool. Pen tool for hard edges and for soft fluffy or hair like edges, refine edge. In about 90% of cases that should work just fine. I would say that is the science behind extracting images.

The art in the process comes in the form of blending the image you extracted with the new background. Bleeding edges and matching the lighting and all the other wonderful things of compositing. smile

How come I didn't think of that....?
Thanks for your input.

Dec 08 12 01:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JarodSLFlow
Posts: 1
Gdańsk, Pomorskie, Poland


I learned a lot from

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Composi … 356&sr=1-2

Matt describe quite well how to use refining edges and blend modes to extract objects.
Dec 08 12 01:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Rpixretouching
Posts: 354
Perris, California, US


Refined edges for  objects  blending in land escapes, pen tool= for straight  edges like buildings, cars,  mostly objects with square corners,  in this case I used blue chanel to extract the beautiful model.
Foto BY sultan Photography.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121126/20/50b43e9fe37a6.jpg
Dec 08 12 02:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
richy01
Posts: 153
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


double post
Dec 09 12 12:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
richy01
Posts: 153
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


I made this a while ago to try a compositing....

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c43/rich1910/IMG_3329webcomp.jpg

You can check out Calvin Hollywood or Glynn Dewis for some stunning composites
Here's another one

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c43/rich1910/IMG_3831comp-1.jpg
Dec 09 12 12:27 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Alena Hovorkova
Posts: 123
Brno, Jihomoravsky, Czech Republic


Krunoslav-Stifter wrote:
Refine edge works well with the combination of pen tool. Pen tool for hard edges and for soft fluffy or hair like edges, refine edge. In about 90% of cases that should work just fine. I would say that is the science behind extracting images.

The art in the process comes in the form of blending the image you extracted with the new background. Bleeding edges and matching the lighting and all the other wonderful things of compositing. smile

+1

There´s  no best/universally working technique.
The ´best´ technique for extracting/masking out images - as always in PS - always depends on the image (actually, both on the image you extract and the new background you plan to use)

So - while selection tool & refining edges may perfectly work for one image (and the same with other techniques too), it may completely fail for the other - so you´ll have to choose some other technique in that case (or combine some more different  workflows/tools etc., and/or apply them selectivelly, on different parts).

Sometimes some very simple (or even one-click, basically) techniques may do the magic, even for very tricky edges (even though the image doesn´t look like that); sometimes - on the other hand - there are many different tricky issuess involved that have to be taken into account - and - solved selectivelly, each one in a different way, with a different tool (or different difficulty level) - and everything has to be ´tuned up´ in the end so as everything matches the overall atmosphere, lighing/color scheme, perspective, sharpness, etc.  so as the final image just looks consistent enough for the viewers eye ´to believe´ ... (talking about some more complex multi image compositions here)

In general - every single tool available in PS works nice - provided it is used for what it was ment for.
I am trying to say:
- pen tool works great for sharp clearly defined edges (that still can be softened/modified later, in case you wish)
- selection tools (with whatever different settings, combined with edge refinging afterwards) may work well for images with well enough defined object-edges
- selections/extractions based on some image characteristics (like color, lightness, contrast etc) may perfectly work for images that have strong color, lightnes, contrast in it ... etc.
- selections/extractions based on channel information may perfectly work when object vx. background are well visibly isolated already from camera
- selections/extractions based on blending may work well when you can take advantage of some existing characteristics (like color, availability of neutral/white/black tones, contrast, difference etc.), that match the features that particular blend mode can tackle ... etc..
etc.
It is always necessary to analyze the image, so as to be able to make a ´good´ decission what technique to use.

And/or - in case you (your image) doesn´t have the characteristics that are necessary for satisfactory extractions, you can (or - you have to, actually) help yourself in some way - so - you´ll have to ´push/recover/ephasize´ some image characteristics (temporarily, just for the sake of getting better definition of what you need) a bit, so as you get some better contrast (etc.) where you need ... so as Photoshop then can better ´see´ what to extract ...

This is possible - in some advanced worflows - while comgining some existing data together  - usually using Calculations, Apply image, Blend If techniques etc - that allows you to combine basicaly almost every single aspect/characteristics - or a part - of the image (you can not only combine/merge layers together, but also channels, selections, or perhaps channels with layers or selections, their inverted versions with some other pre-calculated results .. etc..

Sorry for not being more specific (and more helpful).
Just trying to say - as Kruno already mentioned - for masking/extracting a whole science may be behind the process, sometimes ..

Anyway,
though those advanced techniques may look crazy and difficult - they are not, in fact. That just takes some practice, but not impossible.
And - still - in 90% this is even not necessary, at all - since basic tools like selection + edge refining may work just fine.
a.

Dec 09 12 12:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photography by Sean
Posts: 118
Atlanta, Georgia, US


richy01 wrote:
I made this a while ago to try a compositing....

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c43/rich1910/IMG_3329webcomp.jpg

You can check out Calvin Hollywood or Glynn Dewis for some stunning composites
Here's another one

http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c43/rich1910/IMG_3831comp-1.jpg

How does that answer the question?

Dec 09 12 03:35 am  Link  Quote 
Digital Artist
Andreea Cernestean
Posts: 495
Baia Mare, Maramureş, Romania


Almost always pen tool at 400% zoom and a whole lot of patience smile
On some photos I use quick magnetic lasso on edges and select color if there's a model in say black dress against white that stands out, and select it on highlights, which will always be the white background in these cases.
Dec 09 12 06:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
California Girls Skate
Posts: 342
Los Angeles, California, US


Sean Alexandre wrote:
I'm just curious because I'm looking for a better method. For years, I've been extracting people and objects using the pen tool. It works, but it falls for when it comes to extracting subjects with hair or fur. Mind you, I'm using Photoshop CS6 with a Photoshop 6 state of mind, LOL. What are the best methods currently to extract people and objects cleanly? Especially those with hair.

For hair, you have to get creative with some brushes. I'd suggest the David Nagel series.

Dec 09 12 07:46 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Benski
Posts: 995
London, England, United Kingdom


Outsourcing

Use Clipping Path India http://www.clippingpathindia.com/

I could sit there with the pen tool all day, or pay a guy who extracts images for a living, in India, to do the same job for a few $$ ... Any work we've had back from them has been flawless
Dec 09 12 08:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TMA Photo and Retouch
Posts: 709
New York, New York, US


I can only get fair results cutting hair with CS6.

The hair edges certainly take a lot more work.  Its especially hard if your original image has shadows or textures imbedded behind the hair.

Ultimately for me...cutting out well... begins way back at the photography and lighting stages!  Using a solid light gray background helps significantly, pulling the model out from the background so there are no shadows behind the hair, not using hot hairlights as usual etc...

I have been able to get single hair strand precision extractions... without halos, clumping or holes... with the help of some 3rd party plugins like fluid mask and topaz.

I have collected a number of hair strand edges in the past that come from perfectly cut out hair.  I blend in these perfect hair strands where i need to patch in bad hair edges.   Sometimes I have to actually carve out the imperfect hair areas... and substitute in my own clean hair edges.  Ive been able to create repair brushes from these good strands... and have to use them often to finish up a job.  I also have a library of smart object hair strands...perfect hair repair whisps and fine hair edges on a transparent background... that can be placed, transformed and puppet warped into position.
Dec 09 12 08:49 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Pictus
Posts: 961
Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


TMA Photo and Retouch wrote:
I have been able to get single hair strand precision extractions... without halos, clumping or holes... with the help of some 3rd party plugins like fluid mask and topaz.

I also use Fluid Mask + Topaz Remask + Photoshoop tools&tricks
http://i605.photobucket.com/albums/tt136/Pictus171/WEB%20stuff/squirrel.gif

I have collected a number of hair strand edges in the past that come from perfectly cut out hair.  I blend in these perfect hair strands where i need to patch in bad hair edges.   Sometimes I have to actually carve out the imperfect hair areas... and substitute in my own clean hair edges.  Ive been able to create repair brushes from these good strands... and have to use them often to finish up a job.  and smart object hair strands that can be puppet warped into position.

I use some hair brushes too, but I do not have *HIGH* resolution ones... sad

Dec 09 12 05:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
richy01
Posts: 153
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


Sean Alexandre wrote:

How does that answer the question?

Sorry, I forgot to mention the selectionmethod I am using.
I use the most common way,...select the channel with the most contrast to make a mask, boost contrast and use refine edges on the mask to get the best possible mask.

http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/post … oshop-cs5/
or Deke's video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl … FIdAsj2o#!

I guess you are probably using one of these....

I came across a Topazvideo a few weeks ago and I am using Remask on a regular basis since then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G4dSJrn9aU

There was a great tut on masking/selecting hairhere by nienna1990 but it is not available anymore

Dec 10 12 01:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
PANZERWOLF
Posts: 67
Vienna, Wien, Austria


Benski wrote:
Outsourcing

Use Clipping Path India http://www.clippingpathindia.com/

I could sit there with the pen tool all day, or pay a guy who extracts images for a living, in India, to do the same job for a few $$ ... Any work we've had back from them has been flawless

they're not good with hair though
http://www.clippingpathindia.com/downlo … ng.psd.zip

Dec 10 12 03:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JMHSPhoto
Posts: 412
Windsor, Ontario, Canada


I agree with Pictus up there.

Although I have used Topaz for some selection work in the past, I've more or less relied on Ps for selections using a variety of methods.

About 2 weeks ago I went on a LR4 seminar in Toronto by Matt through Kelby training and while waiting for the class to start, a guy from Topaz was hucking is warze outside the classroom... BLOWN AWAY could be used to describe the demo I witnessed.

He took a white haired poodle, shot in front of a white bricked fireplace that has a very shallow DOF, and extracted that in about 6 seconds... right down to the finest of hairs on that little punt dog. I personally have never seen an extraction that good, that fast, and applied to a new background in my life. Being a little skeptical, I asked him to use 2 images of MY choosing... He did. Same time, same results..

I have to get used to using the tool and more familiar with it's capabilities.. I know they say you can do everything inside Ps CS6 without the use of a plugin. But I've never seen anything quite THAT fast, and THAT good in my 6 years with the program.

Just my opinion.
Dec 10 12 03:40 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Kristiana-Retouch
Posts: 289
London, England, United Kingdom


Most of the time I stick with good old channels method. I tried Topaz re-mask, didn't work for me - I can do it faster and more accurately with channels and sometimes combination of channels and pen tool smile

Cheers,
Christiana
Dec 10 12 05:08 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Greg Curran
Posts: 204
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I always start with the pen tool, then use combinations of Refine Mask and Calculations.  It all depends on your subject.
Dec 10 12 05:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
richy01
Posts: 153
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands


Christiana1990 wrote:
Most of the time I stick with good old channels method. I tried Topaz re-mask, didn't work for me - I can do it faster and more accurately with channels and sometimes combination of channels and pen tool smile

Cheers,
Christiana

...really curious ...wouldn't a maskingbattle with the same image sound like fun?
PS with channels vs Remask 3

Dec 10 12 05:30 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
scubie
Posts: 48
Worthing, England, United Kingdom


I second the vote for "fluid Mask",  also find "perfect Mask" a little cheaper and works well for most things. But CS6 selction tool and refine edge works for most normal things.
  Doug
Dec 10 12 05:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wolfy4u
Posts: 1,080
Grand Junction, Colorado, US


For hair, I tend to use the 'background eraser tool'. It works well if the background is not too complex.
If I know I'll be exacting a model, I prefer to shoot against a white backdrop. It seems to contaminate the hair less than 'green'. If there are small white spots, I use the burn tool to hide them.
Dec 10 12 06:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ezhini
Posts: 1,590
Wichita, Kansas, US


Pictus wrote:
I also use Fluid Mask + Topaz Remask + Photoshoop tools&tricks

Please tell me more.

Dec 10 12 06:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Smedley Whiplash
Posts: 17,257
Billings, Montana, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:

I've yet to EVER get the new Refine Edge tool to work in CS6 so I feel your pain.

I think it works awesome! but... you definitely need to have a solid or out-of-focus background for good results.

It takes a little patience to set it up so it works right. Used as a blunt instrument, it sucks, but used after it's fine tuned, it's amazing.

Dec 10 12 08:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,217
Salem, Oregon, US


quick select with refine edge is pretty handy. sometimes hair still requires some special handling.
Dec 10 12 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Pictus
Posts: 961
Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Ezhini wrote:
Please tell me more.

I am doing this for eons, so learned how/why use the right
tool/plug-in for the right job, depending on the image type I
may prefer one method or another or even mixing the tools/method...
For sky replacement and *PERFECT* “chromakey” friendly images
Fluid Mask may be better, for other types most Topaz Remask
and/or CS5/6 tools like refine mask, look at their video tutorials.

There is no miracle, most of the time we have to hand fix the
hair even after a good extraction! sad
A guy who knows how to draw hair will have a better result than
one which makes a perfect extraction...



Believe me, the MOST important thing for a photographer is to
know how to shoot a perfect “chromakey” friendly image...
Here some tips http://www.digitalanarchy.com/demos/chroma_setup.html
I can say that for a blond hair a dark grey BG is better and for dark hair a white BG is...

Dec 10 12 09:19 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Slixed Foliche
Posts: 121
Mochudi, Kgatleng, Botswana


JarodSLFlow wrote:
I learned a lot from

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Composi … 356&sr=1-2

Matt describe quite well how to use refining edges and blend modes to extract objects.

+1, wa going to recommend that book too, helped me understand refining edges better, before i was just fiddling with the sliders without knowing what i was doing,

Dec 12 12 03:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
pixel dimension ilusion
Posts: 1,229
Brussels, Brussels, Belgium


if u have an solid color background is easy whit channel, duplicate the channel with more contrast , then adjustment with more contrast and levels try to make the mask turning everthing white and black  , but normal images zoom the images en go pixel by pixel whit pen tool or if u using an masketo delete u will get an nice selection and then soft it with raduis40 and then use minimize filter its were the high pass filter is sometime u will have to paint back some edges specially when is hair selections
Dec 12 12 06:05 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photography by Sean
Posts: 118
Atlanta, Georgia, US


JarodSLFlow wrote:
I learned a lot from

http://www.amazon.com/Photoshop-Composi … 356&sr=1-2

Matt describe quite well how to use refining edges and blend modes to extract objects.

I checked that book out based on your recommendation. The author is probably the only person I've seen describe how to successfully extract people from backgrounds using quick selection and refine edge. Great stuff.

Thanks for the tip.

Dec 19 12 11:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leighthenubian
Posts: 2,749
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Check out Terry White's take on the issue as well: http://youtu.be/vfkjHnsAsvg
Dec 19 12 12:37 pm  Link  Quote 
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