I've never been crazy about the magnetic lasso tool. There are lots of ways to isolate the bottle. If the contrast is good between the bottle and the bg, you could create a mask by using one of the color channels: duplicate the one that has the most contrast and use levels or curves to get a good black and white separation between the bottle and bg. Then apply it to a layer mask. You could also use the pen tool, to create a path, then selection of the bottle. Then make a mask using the selection from the path, and blurr or refine the edge using various tools in CS4 to get a good look. You can also use the polygon lasso tool, although you'll get little straight lines, where as the pen tool will give you nice curves and take less time.
At least half of my client work is photographing wine and beer bottles. The _only_ way to cut them out is with the Pen tool. Nothing else is going to be good enough.
If you're doing a lot of that kind of work, you might want to consider upgrading to a newer version of Photoshop. A lot of advancements have been made - for example the Quick Selection tool and the Refine Edge feature.
As Chuck mentions above, if you have decent contrast, you can do the job you mentioned literally in a few seconds and come out with a decent result, with something like this sequence:
- Open image.
- Choose the Quick Select Tool
- Paint over the wide bottle, noting when the selection outline matches the bottle edges.
- Press the [Refine Edge] button, set to "New Layer with Layer Mask".
- Enable Smart Radius, and/or use the Refine Radius Tool to define areas of transition not handled perfectly by the Quick Select Tool.
- OK and you're done.
This literally took less than 1 minute to do:
As Trevor mentions, another way is to establish the selection with the Pen Tool. The human eye/brain are still better than any automated selection tool, though the tools can help you get done quickly.
See also videos like this one:
Hi guys. Thanks for your suggestions, yes maybe updating my CS4 is another good suggestion. I'm off trying to work it out now. Thanks again!!! Bo
I'd still use the pen tool. If you are going for translucency, then there is a tendency for the back light to wrap round the bottle leaving a very indistinct border between the edge of the bottle and the background, and Refine Edge is not going to do well with that. The trick — if you know you are going to cut out the bottles — is to have the backlight _just_ wide enough, or to be careful to manage the exposure. Then there is the cap — no one uses corks here anymore — which has super fine edge detail, and is going to look horrible with anything other than a clean selection using the Pen tool.
Dark field is even more problematic, for a lot of people as they just don’t seem to understand the angles, and have way too big a light source placed too close behind the dark background. Plus everyone I see seems to want to overexpose the rim light. You can get translucency with dark field by placing a bottle shaped cut-out behind the bottle at 45° to the lens axis, and fire a snooted strobe in from the side.
Light tents make life easy, but you don’t have the control with them. Having said that, I did resort to a light tent for a bottle of Rosé recently that was proving super difficult to photograph, but I still ended up faking a lot of it in Photoshop.
Trevor, if you are the one doing the shooting and post work, which I'll admit, may not be the case often, would it be a good idea to shoot one or more extra shots and insert a card sor some sort of bg to make just a contrast shot to be use for creating a mask - mainly for the top?
It took me a while to get bottle shots really off pat, but I can do it first time now, and know most of the tricks. I am lucky that I don't need an income, so I only accept commercial work that I find interesting, so I tend to do product photography and graphic design, because I still enjoy it. Other than that, I don't tend to take many pictures nowadays, and always travel with a G1X leaving my 1D bodies at home. It is very liberating, and makes travelling so much more enjoyable. Regards Photoshop, I get more enjoyment creating stuff entirely from scratch, or just using the odd stock image, than I do messing with photographs.
BTW There is only one bottle in the shots above.
Hi Community. Yes i think the pen tool is perfect for the 'freestanding'
bottle. Easy and pretty accurate. Thanks for your suggestions, I have to
admit that I still have to figure out the mask solution working on it.
Thanks again. Have fun! BO