Photoshop Tips and Tricks presents Removing Backgrounds with Katrin Eismann
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Let the image build the mask...

The Channel Mixer layer is the foundation of the mask, but the contrast can be even stronger. In the next step, we'll experiment with additional blending modes to increase the effect.

4. To create a new layer and merge all visible layers up, select Layer > New > Layer or (Cmd + Option + Shift + N) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N], followed by (Option) [Alt] Layer > Merge Visible (Cmd + Option + Shift + E) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E].

5. To increase the contrast, change the blending mode to Screen (figure 8.20), which will further accentuate the difference between the people and the background. Of course when you try this technique on your own images, a different blending mode may be more effective.

figure 8.20 Using multiple layers and experimenting with blending modes is an effective method for building contrast.

6. To make the entire background black and the people white, add a new layer and select areas of the image background with either the Lasso or Marquee tool (figure 8.21). Select Edit > Fill > Use Black to fill the selected area with black (Option + Delete) [Alt + Delete]. Continue selecting and filling with black, making sure that you don't select any hair or clothing.

Isolating the background
figure 8.21 Select the background area and fill with black.

TIP: Speeding up Selections To speed up the selecting and filling with black, press d to reset the Color picker to black and white and use
(Option + Delete) [Alt + Delete] to fill with the foreground color.

7. Select the inside of the mother and child with the Lasso tool. Try not to get too close to the edge of the hair (figure 8.22). Press x to switch the foreground color to white and (Option + Delete) [Alt + Delete] to fill the selected area with white (figure 8.23).

figure 8.22 When making the selection, stay away from important edge detail.

8. To create a new layer and merge all visible layers up, (Cmd + Option + Shift + N) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + N], followed by (Cmd + Option + Shift + E) [Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E].

figure 8.23 Select the insides of the people and fill with white.

TIP: For the "add new layer and merge all visible layers up" technique to work, it is very important that the top-most layer in the layer stack is active before you add the new layer.

Most of the work is done, but now we need to be a bit more careful as we blend between the filled areas and the fine-detail areas with the Dodge, Burn, and Paint Brush tools.

Next: Fine-Tuning Transitions


Photoshop Masking & Compositing

coverAre you enjoying the tutorial so far? Well, Katrin can make a huge differece in all Photoshop users' lifes, by studying her step-by-step examples. She'll take you through tools and techniques you'll seriously need for masking and combining images. She will focus you on the techniques used to create compelling compositions, including making fast and accurate selections, mastering Photoshop's masking tools, and implementing the concept and photography from start to finish. The book teaches you the inside poop on selection tools; selecting and maintaining fine details and edges; working with difficult image elements, such as cloth, hair, or translucent objects; and green-screen techniques -- like no other book available on the market today.
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Katrin Eismann is an internationally respected teacher and lecturer on photographic imaging, restoration, retouching, and the impact of emerging technologies on photography and the arts. Katrin received an undergraduate degree in photographic illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and her Master of Fine Arts degree in design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her other books include Photoshop Masking & Compositing and Real World Digital Photography.
      In 2005, she was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. She is the author of Photoshop Restoration and Retouching 2nd Edition (Below), and is the co-author of Real World Digital Photography 2nd Edition (Peachpit Press).

Photoshop Restoration & Retouching


Whether you're a professional photographer or the family shutterbug, you can't afford to miss the third edition of the now classic Photoshop Restoration & Retouching. Katrin Eismann and co-author Wayne Palmer have reviewed, updated, and revised every single technique to address the most important features in Adobe Photoshop CS2. Whether you're a professional photographer or the family shutterbug, you can't afford to miss the third edition of the now classic Photoshop Restoration & Retouching. Clear step-by-step instructions using professional examples highlight the tools and techniques photographers, designers, restoration studios, and beauty retouchers use to restore valuable antique images, retouch portraits, and enhance glamour photography.

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