17 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2013 6:17 PM by Noel Carboni

    What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?

    Voxile

      Hello everyone,

       

      basically I was wondering what is everyones methods for removing people from their background? I have looked into many things but every one has given me issues and I really would like to get cleaner cuts much easier, without me having to spend a very long time trying to just get a simple photo cut out.

       

      I have tried doing Quick Selections and then using Refine Edge; but when I do that I got some glow lines around the person; and everyone says try and use Shift Edge but they fail to notice when you shift the edge to get rid of the glowing lines it goes in on the photo so I'll be missing part of the person like there ear or head. Even if the glow lines aren't too big and I can get rid of them with some time; its a massive pain because it just fills the space between the ear and head because it's a small area; so when it makes the glow lines it fills it completely and turns it entirely rubbish.

       

      I have also tried using a Plugin from Digital Film Tools called Power Mask - Which is essentially masking but making the masking method easier. However not all of the person is fully masked, like some of it isn't the foreground it goes like a lesser opacity of the white to more of a gray and when I switch over to what it then would look like; the person has missing bits or issues because the mask not working fully. Even when I go around twice to make sure it's all masked; it makes some, I don't even know some mist or white glow around them which I have to go around and remove and it's such a pain in the ***.

       

      Does anyone have any good methods where I can get complicated photos of people cut out well? like say their hair is blowing in the wind, I want to be able to get a nice clean cut of the hair too; so I need something that works well without there being glow, or missing parts of the person etc, and I don't want to have to spend more than an hour just to get a cut out of one person.

        • 1. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
          JJMack Most Valuable Participant

          To extract something the first thing you need is some contrast between the subject and the background.  The second thing you need to know is masking will work best. The third thing you need is knowledge about different ways to mask and blend layers. And lastly you need a lot of practice.

           

          If you want easy and clear cut. Only extract the easy to extract subjects.  You just need to know which are easy to extract.

           

          All tools and plug-ins  require knowledge and practice to do complex extractions well.

           

          Some things can not be extracted well those you have to fudge...

          • 3. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
            RobertoBlake Level 2

            When you are using Refine edge make sure you  put it against the red color background and use the smart radius option, then go over the areas you want to mask. Next select the black color background and bump up the contrast so you can see any possible halos and turn decontaminate colors up to about 100% (temporary so you can see what you are doing).

            Now you can see all the halos and continue painting them out some more and also adjust the shifte edge setting to eliminate them. Turn your contrast back down and finalize your mask and that should work.

             

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexOe9tTAgE

            • 4. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              Good tips so far.

               

              For people, I will usually study the Channels, to see if any of those are helpful to me. If not, then I move on.

               

              Next step, if there is not a Channel, with about what I want, would be to do a loose Selection, including extra pixels, the Copy and Paste that into the New Image. I will create a Layer Mask for that Layer, and then paint in the Layer Mask, to remove those extra pixels.

               

              For more "regular objects," I normally move right to the Pen Tool, to create a Path, that will become my Selection.

               

              So much depends on what I have to work with.

               

              Good luck, and remember, there is NO "right way" to do it - just ways that work best for you, or for the Image.

               

              Hunt

              • 5. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                HarryPutnam Level 1

                RobertoBlake wrote:

                 

                [...]

                 

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexOe9tTAgE

                I think you are way off about how great this Tut is... If you like extensive periods of silence where the narrator is all over the settings and doesn't tell you a thing about what he is doing.. this is for you.

                 

                I thought it really sucked.  Other than basic idea of using color ranges... it tells you mostly nothing

                Near the end the narrator finally zooms in to the image he is calling done and even well done... but whoops, it looks pretty spotty and bad.   He ends up continuing to clean up for a good while after saying how brief of time was invovled.

                • 7. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                  Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                  RobertoBlake wrote:

                   

                  When you are using Refine edge make sure you  put it against the red color background and use the smart radius option, then go over the areas you want to mask. Next select the black color background and bump up the contrast so you can see any possible halos and turn decontaminate colors up to about 100% (temporary so you can see what you are doing).

                  Now you can see all the halos and continue painting them out some more and also adjust the shifte edge setting to eliminate them. Turn your contrast back down and finalize your mask and that should work.

                   

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexOe9tTAgE

                  Woah!  Robert.  That really doesn't sound nice.  Were you using single side band wireless link from the microphone?   People like Peter jackson and Steven Spielberg have said that audio is at least 50% of any production, and that people will tolerate poor video much better than poor audio.  I managed about ten seconds of your tutorial before I couldn't stand it any more.  The background audio sounds fine, so it has to be the microphone or its interface.  Please please please fix it before you make another tutorial, then go back and do the existing ones again.

                  • 8. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                    RobertoBlake Level 2

                    Yeah I was using a logitech headset, decent for Skype but not much else. This tutorial was back in October 2012.
                    I shot a completely new video tutorial for this updated for 2013 and Phtoshop CC today because it was bothering me and I read through enough of the comments.

                     

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBkaRoLjMIs


                    For this video I used the microphone I use with my DSLR camera, and $90 AudioTechnica shotgun condesnser mic. The audio is nearly perfect in this one and I cut the time down to about 9mins. All of my videos for the remaineder of the year will be done this at this new quality or better.

                     

                     

                    This time around I did several things different, I demonstrate more of the refine edge slider features for example (I use the red, black and white backgrounds individually) I also show the final result against a complex background for comp purposese

                     

                    I also do a speed thru version of the result at the beginining of the tutorial.

                    • 9. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                      Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                      Oh deary deary me!!!  I just read some of the comments on YouTube after your tutorial Roberto.  Audition coudn't do _anything_ to fix that audio, because it has a very limited bandwidth.  People have told you how bad the audio is, and you got all offended.  It is, without a shadow of a doubt, the absolutely worst audio I have EVER heard on a tutorial.  You say you prefer to hear positive feedback, well the opening visuals were OK, but I couldn't cope beyond the first few seconds of voice over.

                       

                      There are some excellent blogging microphones out there now, that plug into a USB socket, and they are not silly money.  Have a listen to the sample audio from these mics.  The Blue Yeti is $99 at Amazon, and gets an average user score of 4.4/5.  That is impressive, and it has a beautiful sound

                       

                      http://www.absoluteblogger.com/2013/05/best-usb-condenser-microphones-under-50-100-200.htm l

                       

                      Even the cheap as chips Logitect desktop mic would be orders of magnitude better than what you are using now.  Why would you insult your followers with such dire sound?  Why didn't you withdraw the tutorial from YouTube after being told how bad it sounded?  But most of all, whatever possessed you to put up a link on forum full of professionals? 

                       

                      So please don't get upset.  Just fix it.

                      • 10. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                        RobertoBlake Level 2

                        The whole point of that Tut was not to create a perfect cutout, but something good enough for proof of concept so the comp can be accepted or rejected on concept before going back. In any case the tutorial was not without its problems. In any case making tutorials is alot of work and can be more time consuming than actual photoshop work.

                         

                        That being said I did make and updated video since this one was done nearly a year ago back when I was still getting a feel for how to produce tutorial videos.

                         

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBkaRoLjMIs

                         

                        I don't have a problem with "constructive criticism" but only constructive critcism. I think your assesment of the video was accurate, but I take an issue when the information is communicated in a rude or snarky manner.

                         

                        We are community of people who are ultimately problemsolvers, so when we communicate with each other it should take that tone. We should be a cut above the rest of the internet community when it comes to how we communicate especially with each other since as designers and artist our entire career centers around the concept of comminication.

                         

                        Hence my long-winded reply. The point is I posted the info (and the tutorial) to try and communicate information I had that "may" solve someone elses issue. I took my own time and effort to due so, in a community of like minded people who also do so.

                         

                        Negativity at no point encourages improvement or the continued sharing of information and anyone and everyone in this community should have a deep understanding of this simple fact. The internet medium of communication has the tendency to breed such discourtesy, which is rather unfortunate. I try to avoid this and in my accountability I put my name and my face to my work and my words taking away the shield of being annonymous because I'm willing to stand by what I say and do and because I'm willing to commit to make sure what I say and do is mostly postive and constructive.

                         

                        I hope that you and anyone reading this will think on what I've said and think about how you communicate, particularly among your fellow creators. The quality of person's life and results, is based on the quality of their communication.

                        • 11. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                          Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                          OK Roberto. We ovrelapped posts there.  That one is much better, but you'd do better still with the Blue Yeti.  Shotgun mics don't tend to do so well indoors.  If you want excellent advice, go ask in the DVInfo audio forum, which is full of audio engineers from television and film.  There are some great voice over people as well like Ty Ford

                           

                          http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/

                           

                          But you are way better with the AT condenser.  I would be inclined to throw away the headset mic.  I wouldn't want to skype with anyone who sounded like that, and the mics built into any ebcam is going to sound way way better.  I am sure you can configure your system to use the webcam mic while you listen through the headset.

                          • 12. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                            HarryPutnam Level 1

                            Trevor.Dennis wrote:

                             

                            RobertoBlake wrote:

                             

                            When you are using Refine edge make sure you  put it against the red color background and use the smart radius option, then go over the areas you want to mask. Next select the black color background and bump up the contrast so you can see any possible halos and turn decontaminate colors up to about 100% (temporary so you can see what you are doing).

                            Now you can see all the halos and continue painting them out some more and also adjust the shifte edge setting to eliminate them. Turn your contrast back down and finalize your mask and that should work.

                             

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexOe9tTAgE

                            Woah!  Robert.  That really doesn't sound nice.  Were you using single side band wireless link from the microphone?   People like Peter jackson and Steven Spielberg have said that audio is at least 50% of any production, and that people will tolerate poor video much better than poor audio.  I managed about ten seconds of your tutorial before I couldn't stand it any more.  The background audio sounds fine, so it has to be the microphone or its interface.  Please please please fix it before you make another tutorial, then go back and do the existing ones again.

                            Here here Trevor.  I have a little to add but first:

                            I need to appologize to Noel Carboni.  He probably didn't realize it but my earlier comments about the tutorial he cited were wrong in that I had transposed the link from Roberto's post and thought that was the Tut Mr Noel was citing.

                            So to clear things up.. Noels citation is just what he called it.  An oldie but a goodie:

                            http://tv.adobe.com/watch/the-russell-brown-show/masking-basics-in-pho toshop-cs5/

                            Very helpful.

                             

                            Please excuse me Mr Noel.

                             

                            Now on Roberto's tut: Starting just a bit before 4 minutes deep it appears a lot of configuring is going on but the audio is gone.  I can't here it all.  Clear up to 4:40 when the voice suddenly comes back so there is something like 45 seconds where lots of settings are skated thru... I'd like to know what they are.  They appear to be quite important.

                             

                            Again at 5:00 minutes the audio goes south all the way to 7:10 or so. the voice comes back and says "you can see it is cleaning that up quite nicely"....So a full 2 minute lapse of audio where lots is done but nothing letting us know what it was.

                             

                            Again around 7:20 min no sound all the way to about 8:10... by then I was very close to killing the page and going on back to work.

                            But I stayed and eventually he says Voila and talks about how good it is and how quick it was... I'm thinking it wasn't all that quick... but then Roberto makes the mistake of zooming in and whoops, well it looks pretty terrible and isn't done at all....

                             

                            I'm sorry if that sounds harsh because I suspect Mr Roberto is a stoned Master of photoshop and probably most other adobe tools... I'd love to have some tiny fraction of what he knows.  But the video sucks.

                            • 13. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                              RobertoBlake Level 2

                              Hey Trevor, thanks for the comment. I wasn't upset by the fact people called/out complained about the admittedly bad audio quality etc. It was a clear case of "its not what you say, its how you say it". I sound like a dinosaur about this sometimes but I'm one of the people who feels the internet has seemingly given people the excuse to stop being polite in general.

                               

                              Your commentary and accurate constructive criticism is/was most welcome and the advice was much appreciated.
                              I've been looking into the Yeti and just haven't commited to it yet. If I do more that involves audio beyond DSLR video I will certainly pick that up.

                              • 14. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                                RobertoBlake Level 2

                                Thanks for the update Harry. I posted a much better video that you should take a look out, you fill find the audio quality and presentation style much improved, as well as the detail I go into about some of the settings and features regarding refine edge. Thanks.

                                • 15. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                                  Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)

                                  Roberto, I did feel kind of bad later on after coming down so hard on you, so thank you for not reacting badly.  As a film maker, I am perhaps a over sensitive to poor audio, but there are so many options out there nowadays, anyone can record very acceptable sound without laying out serious money.  The Blue microphones might even be more than you need, but I like that they can be used closer to your mouth than a lavalier, and that's going to help unless you have invested in a 'silent computer'.   I wouldn't dream of adding voice over with my NLE system because its ambient noise level is way too high.

                                   

                                  Anyway, we are way off topic. so that's me.

                                  • 16. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                                    HarryPutnam Level 1

                                    Noel Carboni wrote:

                                     

                                    This is an oldie but a very goodie...

                                     

                                    http://tv.adobe.com/watch/the-russell-brown-show/masking-basics-in-pho toshop-cs5/

                                     

                                    -Noel

                                    Noel, I want to watch this thing, but when I click your link it takes to adobe tv alright but its just a black screen with no controls showing.... I don't see any way to play the darn thing.  Maybe I'm missing something in my browser but far as I know its up to date (latest firefox v.22).

                                     

                                    Are you able to watch the video at the end of you link?

                                    • 17. Re: What are your methods for cutting people out of backgrounds?
                                      Noel Carboni Level 8

                                      Yes, it plays for me.  It starts automatically.  I'm pretty sure it plays with Adobe Flash Player.

                                       

                                      Try this link from YouTube as an alternate:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lONFUw84zOU

                                       

                                      -Noel