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Best way to remove the background from an image

This is a discussion on Best way to remove the background from an image within the Graphic Design, Digital Imaging, and Multimedia forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hello all I wondered if someone had a quick and easy way of removing a background from an image. For


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Old 08-06-2006, 05:50 AM   #1
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Hello all

I wondered if someone had a quick and easy way of removing a background from an image. For example, I have a jpeg image of my cat in the garden. I want to remove the background completely so I am just left with the cat.

I have a number of graphics packages, Paintshop Pro 9, Macromedia Fireworks and Photoshop CS2. However my finished result looks unprofessional.

Are there any recommended tutorials on the subject?

Thanks

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Old 08-06-2006, 06:43 AM   #2
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Can you post the jpg?

Using Photoshop...
If it's a plain background, use the magic wand to select the area you want to remove. It will pick up a colour range determined by the sensitivy slider. Hold the shift key and click another part of the background to add to the selection. A low sensitivty will only select the colour you click on, and a higher setting will widen the range of shades. The only problem with this method is if the cat is the same colour as the background it will also be selected.

Another magic wand method is to use it to select the cat, then invert the selection and delete, leaving a plain white background. If you find the magic wand tool is too fiddly, go to Select > Color Range, click on the cat and use the slider.

Or you could use the eraser tool to maually remove most of the background, then zoom in to the outline of the cat, use a smaller eraser and carefully go around it removing the remaining background areas.

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Old 08-06-2006, 07:18 AM   #3
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Hello - thanks for your response.

I have used both the magic wand and eraser tools with varying degrees of success - it may just be down to practice. Here is the cat image though for you to take a look at - Columbo

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Old 08-06-2006, 07:56 AM   #4
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Selecting the outline for irregularly shaped objects like cat fur is always difficult. You can set the transparency for the eraser to slightly below 100% to feather the edges a bit, but it's hard to get it perfect.

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Old 08-06-2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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Wow that's great and much better than my effort (I missed a lot of the cat ). Thanks very much for your help and advice.
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Old 08-06-2006, 10:32 AM   #6
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Do you have the patience to learn layer masks? Would make things a bit easier for you. Basically you'd be hiding the background instead of erasing it, so nothing is actually lost. It's especially good for more complex images.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:07 AM   #7
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Hello - if you have a guide to layer masks I don't mind giving it a try. I need to remove backgrounds from images on a regular basis.

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Old 08-07-2006, 02:16 PM   #8
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i'll read this one as well six. i can render using alpha channels, but i don't use photoshop as much as i should.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:11 PM   #9
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I'm away from my computer with photoshop right now, so wouldn't be able to put a tutorial together for a few days, but if you can't wait, I'm sure you could do a search on layer masks and come up with some decent stuff. Feel free to send any questions my way
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:55 AM   #10
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More Photoshop tutorials from the same site...
http://www.myjanee.com/tutorials.htm

Layer Masks
http://www.tipsfromthetopfloor.com/psc/psc03.php
http://www.creativemac.com/articles/...e.jsp?id=28265
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ke1th.h...er%20Masks.htm

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