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Topic: Photoshop question  (Read 969 times)
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« on: July 07, 2005 10:03:16 PM »

I have been using the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop to cut away the background on some pics of jewellery that I took but the effect I am trying to achieve seems almost impossible. I want the image to be a transparent GIF so I can apply text over it on my website but the cutting away of the background is so time consuming and sloppy looking. I think the problem might be that the jewellery is glass (highly reflective) beads and really  not ideal when it comes to this method. I tried it with a solid piece of plastic jewellery and it worked great.

My question is...
Has anybody tried this or had similar problems? Or does any one out there now of a better way to create a transparent image of a photograph?

My boyfriend is helping me with the site and most of the technical part and swears this is the only way to do it. I am frustrated and I guess a litlle stubborn too...I  need to find a better way!

« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2005 10:09:27 PM »

I prefer to use the masking tool.  Then you can "color" the area that you want gone...unmask so that it is selected...then delete the area.  When you go to export it as a transparent gif, you will be able to easily select that white background at that time (making it transparent when saved).

Hope this made sense!
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2005 10:17:01 PM »

Are you taking the pictures with a solid colored background? Try putting a piece of poster board behind them to serve as a background and that ought to make it a bit easier to cut it away, even with highly reflective beads. Which tools are you using to cut it?

« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2005 12:36:32 PM »

Here are some really helpful tips on how to remove a photo's background in Photoshop. 
I usually prefer to use the bezier pen tool to outline the area that I want to keep, then change the path to a selection.  I'll keep up a little with a paintbrush/eraser in QuickMask mode and then inverse my selection and delete the background.

« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2005 04:16:04 PM »

thanks for all the tips everyone, I think I really need to make sure that I have an matte background ( like the poster board ) . I'll try some of these new ideas to see what works best.  Smiley
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2005 04:19:17 PM »

the extract tool is great Wink
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2005 09:36:50 PM »

Ok you're all wrong! (Just kidding... there are lots of ways to do it) Smiley

I'm a member of the national association photoshop professionals. And without a doubt, if you want to cut something our of an image, you must learn to use the pen tool, using paths. Its one of the most difficult things to learn, however, once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder how you lived without it.

Using the path tool give you the largest amount of control over what you're working with. It's like tracing, but without the tracing paper. You add points to a shape (e.g. a coffee cup). But with Photoshop, if you can control every little point, every little curve. Once you've "traced" out your shape, you can convert it to a working path and use that as a mask to remove the background.

If didn't understand a word of that... and don't be discouraged, I do this all day long. There's another way.

First, make sure you take your pictures on a solid high contrast background... but something that won't throw off your color since you said you're working with reflective materials.

Then, make a copy of it in Photoshop so you have two layers, with the exact same image. Put a new layer in between and fill with a high contrast color that you won't mistake for the image, like neon green or something. Switch to the eraser tool, select a hard edged round brush. Then erase around the outside edge of what you want to keep. You'll know you're doing it right because you'll see the neon green from the layer beneath. When you've gone around your item, select a slightly larger brush to erase what's left. Voila!

PS: The first way is so much better though. Take some time to learn it! Smiley

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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2005 09:41:44 PM »

honestly, i prefer to use the polygonal lasso! the magnetic lasso is good too, but only if the border is clear. With both, you can make a selection, feather it, and then make a new layer from selection or delete the background. you can also set the "stickiness" of the magnetic lasso.
but what diagonalman said is true. the paths also work well for this, but they were harder for me to learn. you have more control over each point after you've traced it.

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