Suggestions for cutting people out to change backgrounds.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Steven Wandy, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Steven Wandy

    Steven Wandy Guest

    I have been playing around with selecting and cutting out people from
    various backgrounds.
    I have tried using the regular and magnetic lasso tools and have recently
    started putting the new background in a new layer and then using the eraser
    tool (or a layer mask) to reveal the people
    in the original image.
    My problem is working around people's head - in particular their hair. It
    just does not come out
    realistic looking. Any suggestions or tips to try? Thanks
     
    Steven Wandy, Oct 28, 2005
    #1
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  2. Steven Wandy

    BD Guest

    I've had that kind of issue before as well. Problem for me was for hair
    that flies around - the colors between the hair strands aren't exactly
    the same as the background, and so lassos don't work.

    I suggest using Curves.

    Before flattening your image, select the layer with the people in it,
    and select Tools / Adjustments / Curves. (I think that's the right
    selection).

    Select the Blue color from the drop down (assuming the original
    background is blue), and just muck about with the line in the grid so
    you can see what it does. If you haven't used curves before, start with
    DRASTIC moves of the line so you can easily see the effects. The goal
    would be to find the color range closest to the background, and adjust
    it to match the new background. I can see it being a pain, but the
    bottom line here (as I see it) is that when background colors are
    visible through a person's hair, it's a color _range_ that you need to
    change, not the solid color itself.
     
    BD, Oct 28, 2005
    #2
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  3. Steven Wandy

    kctan Guest

    Use Extract...under Filters Menu.
     
    kctan, Oct 28, 2005
    #3
  4. Steven Wandy

    Hunt Guest

    You are on to probably the best technique with Layers and Layer Masks, but for
    the hair, you might want to take a look here: http://www.associatedcontent.
    com/content.cfm?content_type=article&content_type_id=4828

    You may have to modify the tutorial a bit, but IIRC, it lists some good ideas.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Oct 28, 2005
    #4
  5. : I have been playing around with selecting and cutting out people from
    : various backgrounds.
    : I have tried using the regular and magnetic lasso tools and have
    : recently started putting the new background in a new layer and then
    : using the eraser tool (or a layer mask) to reveal the people in the
    : original image.
    : My problem is working around people's head - in particular their hair.
    : It just does not come out realistic looking. Any suggestions or tips to
    : try? Thanks

    Since you mention the Lasso I will assume that you are using Photoshop or
    Elements. If you are using a different program, adjust for that. :)

    This can be a problem and there is no easy solution. I have been doing
    such operations for years and it takes time and patience. First select as
    much as you can with whatever tool you prefer, but then set the zoom to
    300% and use the lasso (not magnetic) and using the shift and alt keys you
    can add and subtract from the edges of the selected area. Don't worry
    about selecting every hair (nearly impossible) but just concentrate on the
    general shape and "flair" of the hairdoo. Once you are happy with your
    selection then cut and paste as you want. One thing about such an
    operation the cut edge is too sharp. Look at a normal photo at 100%+ and
    you will see that edges of people are slightly blurred (as they are
    rounded) and this is even more true of hair. So after cutting and before
    flattening, use the blur tool to slightly blur all cut edges. Depending on
    the resolution and size of the subject in the frame, the size of the blur
    tool will vary, but I set mine to about 20% and may go over an edge
    several times to get the right blur. I do most of my editing at 300% and
    the blur at 100% and after everything is done, even a full size print or
    display does not show obvious signs of manipulation. BTW the ones I do
    don't have the luxury of a solid background and so can be even more
    challenging.

    Such a process takes lots of time, patience and practice but I have made
    composites that involve a hundred or more people and even I have trouble
    on some of them with figuring where my cuts were. Keep practicing and try
    playing with lots of different subjects. Eventually you will find what
    tools and techniques work best for you and give you results you like.

    Randy

    ==========
    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
     
    Randy Berbaum, Oct 29, 2005
    #5
  6. Steven Wandy

    cjcampbell Guest

    If you are doing a lot of this it might be worth your while to use a
    specialized plug-in such as Knockout 2. Even so, doing it right
    requires enormous time and patience.

    One thing you want to avoid is using any sharpening tools before
    cutting out an image. Sharpening can turn strands of hair into
    discontinuous bits that are very difficult to piece together.
     
    cjcampbell, Oct 29, 2005
    #6
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