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Question for Photoshop Pros...

Discussion in 'Adobe' started by evader, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. evader

    evader Member

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    I am designing a new menu for a local bar/tavern. The owner had some professional photos taken of some of his food for the menu. I need to know how to extract the items from the pictures? For example, I want to extract just the plate of wings and none of the background.

    Now, I'm not new to photoshop and have been using it for awhile now. I know how to use the lasso tool and I know how to use the extract function. My problem is whenever I use one of those methods I have a hard time keeping all of the edges smooth (around the plate and all that stuff). Is there a trick to this that I'm missing? Is there a better method for extracting something out of a picture? Or is it just that I need more practice using the actual extract tool?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I would really like this menu to look good as there is a very high possibility it could lead to alot more work.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    If you want well defined edges, then nothing will beat the use of a clipping path to knock out the background. Use the pen tool and manually digitize a path around the area you want to isolate. In the paths palette, select that path and designate it as a clipping path.

    You'll need to save the image in TIFF or Photoshop EPS with the clipping path checked to be active. Dedicated page layout programs like Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress will be able to place the image with the background removed.

    Another alternative would be using alpha channels. But I would only do that if you need varying levels of transparancy in the raster image -and then would only use that if the page layout program could place the file properly (not all can do so).

    I would strongly discourage anyone using Photoshop to assemble together an entire menu, brochure, etc. Type and graphics would be soft and pixellated unless the file was made at a crushingly large size. Page layout programs and even drawing programs will keep type and graphics in vector format.
     
  3. Derf

    Derf Very Active Member

    What I would do is use a layer mask and use a paint brush tool to mask out the area you do not want. Then command click on the layer to bring up your selection. by using a mask you have nondestructive control of your selections.

    you can also copy the layer then paste that layer into a new window and change color mode to LAB then play with the levels in the best looking channel. Use a mask or just command click to make a selection if you have gotten it. then save the selection as a channel and copy and paste it back into you original document.

    This is how I get fine hair and other fine objects into a selection.
     
  4. Derf

    Derf Very Active Member

    Also play with your blend modes on your paint brush while painting your mask
     
  5. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    I'll have to try that LAB trick for details - I do a lot of outlining! We generally only use a clipping path if we are placing the outlined object outside of Photoshop. If we're using it inside the program, we mask it (much like Derf described) or just copy it to a new layer and erase the background. If you choose to erase it, use a brush with a slighly soft edge and go around the edges. Then use the lasso tool making a rough outline around the part you want to drop out and delete. Then if you turn on the "Stroke" layer effect it will put a bright red outline around it and it is very easy to see spots you may have missed. If you're not too proficient in photoshop it can be an easier way to do.
     
  6. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    How i extract items out of images is: If its a well defined piece i will create an alpha chanel and name it "mask". Give it a 50% opacity (or adjust to your own preference). With all the chanels visible, with the mask chanel selected i will erace (with the eracer tool ;)) the area where the item is. If you erace to much dont worry, use the airbrush to add. Once youre done if you deselect all the other chanels (R,G and B if you are in RGB mode) all you will see is white area where your item is and black where the rest is.

    Once you see this you can select (using the magic wand) inside the item's area. Click in it and you will have the selection's marquee (marching ants). Now deselect the mask chanel and activate all other chanels and with the selection tool you will be able to extract your item. Before extracting it, if you want smooth edges, you can use the "Feather" command. This will eliminate the hard edge and give it a clear gradient (size depends on the value of feather you entered).

    This method is good because you can save your picture file after and it will still keep the extra alpha chanel you created (works with .psd and .tiff formats, i dont know about others). Also if you want to create a clipping path,when the selection marquee (marching ants) are still active, go to the "Paths" menu and select the "make path" option. This will convert your selection marquee (marching ants) to a vector shape. You can select that shape and paste it into another vector program (i use Illustrator, think it works with Flexi) and use it for cutting (some adjustment may be needed).
     
  7. evader

    evader Member

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    ok, thanks...I will give some of those suggestions a try.

    Oh, and I am just using photoshop (photoshop 7) for the pictures. The menu is being done in Corel 11.
     
  8. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    In the case of using Corel to put together the menu, my original suggestion (placing a TIFF image with an embedded clipping path) will be the best approach.

    Corel doesn't work very well at all using placed bitmap images containing alpha channels. The edges often go raggedy instead of retaining any smoothness.
     
  9. Erin

    Erin Active Member

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    Thanks, I will let you all know how I make out.
     
  10. madisonsignguy

    madisonsignguy Member

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    Duplicate the layer on the new duplicated layer select your object

    After you make the selection with the lasso or other selction tool....

    use the feather command

    selection>feather> feather radius ( however many pixels you need to get the job done start low and see how it looks the more pixels the more of a blended look you will get.


    Then delete the back ground in the layer and you got it.

    Note you may have to do select>inverse before you feather depending on how you made your selection
     
  11. Ian Stewart-Koster

    Ian Stewart-Koster Active Member

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    All above are correct.
    Plus it's am matter of practise.

    Basically, if you want to extract the item, I assume you mean you want to have the item alone. You simply need to select it, and then select the inverse & delete that.

    However there are 100s of ways to do selections, and that's where experience & practise help. The Extract function is good for 'furry' edges.

    I find sometimes I'll want a selection of 'varying focal intensity'. I'll use a lasso, or polygonal lasso or something to roughly get the bulk, or maybe the magic wand with varying degrees of tolerance.
    THEN
    Switch to QuickMask mode (bottom of the tool palette), and you'll see all you selected in pink, and a faint image of the rest there too. You then use the paintbrush to paint out or in the areas you need or erase the marks accidentally done. (default colours Black & white are needed) The advantage is you can change the brush fuzziness & hardness every click if you want to, to select a hard edge here, and a soft edge there, and paint out a fainter fade there, and back to hard again as needed- just alter the brush specifications as you go. There are shortcuts for that too- square brackets & the shift button.

    When done, click the quickmask off button and there's your selection with marching ants. Select the inverse of it (ctrl-I) and delete that background.
    HTH!
     
  12. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Evader said he was going to assemble his menu design in CorelDRAW. With that approach, clipping paths will be required to knock out the backgrounds. There's no other way around it.

    The other methods described are fine -so long as you're keeping the design in Photoshop and not taking the art into another application.
     
  13. Si Allen

    Si Allen Very Active Member

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    Maybe I've been doing it all wrong, but:
    1. use the lasso to roughly outline the object
    2. click Copy
    3. click on File,next, check Transparent background
    4. paste onto the new
    5. use the eraser to clean up the outline
    6. Save as a .psd

    When you inport it into Corel, only the object shows up, just size it and place it!

    Werks fer me!
     
  14. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    It works when just doing it in Corel and sending out of a desktop consumer printer. Good luck on the professional printing end however.
     
  15. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    You've got that one right Bobby H!! Most of my work life has been in some sort of prepress environment and one thing that we had to compensate for is that Corel can do all kind of things you can print on your laser/injet printer. But when it comes time to rip the job we had all kinds of problems.
    Using a clipping path as he described is really the only RIGHT way to use the picture outside of photoshop. And make sure you save it as an .eps file even though Photoshop tifs are supposed to support clipping paths too - we've not found that to consistently work.
     
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