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What would be the best way to knockout this background?

Posted on 2009-04-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Ok if I had to do this over again I definitely would not have used a white background because it makes it difficult to do the smaller items, but the bigger items are black, so really something crazy like a purple background would've been best....

Anyways, how do you guys suggest I knockout this background? This will go on the front page of a our catalog so I'm willing to spend a significant amount of time on it.

I'm a pro with the magic wand but is there something else I need to be aware of that would help?
Question by:spry08
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 24143637
Possibly channels and (brush tools for the outside} and inner, zoomed in. You have time so be patient.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 24145701
I think white is the best color. What you have there is good but it needs to be wider so you don't see any background there.
Then it just needs retouching here and there. I think you need mask, that sperates the objects from the background, then, on the objects, you need to bring out the contrast, whilst reducing the constrast on the background. That will produce a better result.
You could also use an unsharp mask to make the edges a little crisper.
It's going to take some time if you haven't worked like that before.

Author Comment

ID: 24147186
I liked the unsharp mask, it made a small difference in clarity. The mask you're describing above that separates the objects from the background...which mask(s) do you think could help solve this issue?
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 24148539
The reason you need to seperate the object from the background is so you can control the contrast seperately.
You could try the magic wand on the white background starting with a tolerance of 20...and contiguous turned on. When you've made a selection Zoom in and look at the boundaries of the objects to see where the selection is ending. With too low tolerance settings it will end on the shadow's created by the objects - higher settings may result in the selection eating into the lighter parts of the objects. Find the optimum setting, then, save the selection as mask in the channels menu. Then you can manually fix tyhe boundaries of the mask with a brush tool, if required. This is the way I would procede.
Try it out on  test object first, and ask her if you need more help.

Expert Comment

ID: 24150358
It's somewhat tedious but I usually zoom way in and carefully go around each object with the polygonal lasso, and use a layer mask to cover up the background.  Then you can use the painting tools on the layer mask to add or remove things that you may have lassoed badly.

The magic wand is a good place to start, but you'll have to do a lot of manual selecting anyway.  Just make sure you use a layer mask instead of simply deleting, which will save a lot of work if you make a mistake

From Photoshop Help:

Add a layer mask that hides part of a layer
In the Layers palette, select the layer or group.
Select the area in the image, and do one of the following:
Click the New Layer Mask button  in the Layers palette to create a mask that reveals the selection.

Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the New Layer Mask button to create a mask that hides the selection.

Choose Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection or Hide Selection.


To subtract from the mask and reveal the layer, paint the mask with white.

To make the layer partially visible, paint the mask with gray. Darker grays make the level more transparent, lighter grays make it more opaque.

To add to the mask and hide the layer or group, paint the mask with black. The layers below become visible.

Expert Comment

ID: 24150673
I think it might be good to re-take the picture with either a lower angle, or straight on from the top to better fill the frame. If you want to be able to see everything clearly, straight from the top is the way to go. If you want people to just have an idea that you have lots of products, then a lower angle, and open your aperture as wide as it will go.

I think a white background is ok. I took your original and distorted it a bit to get the garage out of the frame. I then used a modified S-Curve to tweak the contrast.

Expert Comment

ID: 24150688
Oh, I forgot to mention that I added a black layer, cut out a shape of roughly the white area in the center, then applied a heavy gaussian blur and dropped the opacity way down. This darkens the edges slightly and pulls focus to the center of the frame.

Accepted Solution

statler01 earned 1600 total points
ID: 24150734
Ok, I think I misread your question...

See my reverse green-screen tutorial here:

It will take some time, but the technique will work here. If you're proficient with the pen tool you can also use curves to mask out around individual items.
LVL 18

Assisted Solution

Philip_Spark earned 400 total points
ID: 24153227
You could open pic in photoshop
cmd j or ctrl j on selected layer to copy
change background layer to layer O delete contents.

Open prefs change transparency grid to all green
pretty much the green screen idea

erase background using eraser lasso etc.

see below wip

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31570196
I've been doing something pretty similar to the green screen job b/c I figured out that the gray gradiant i want to have as the background showed spots i might be missing. the green screen is like that idea on steroids.

i think i've come to the conclusion that no matter what it's going to come down to a lot of manual editing. i made the picture look better by putting it in adobe lightroom 2 and turned up clarity, blacks, and fill light. i then put it into photoshop and did an unsharp mask before i got started.

things are going well, just time consuming...

one thing i'm still adamant about is a purple background...the glare on some of the silver-looking fittings turn white, leading to much more manual editing that the magic wand can't do...
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 24154941
I know, you can't go anywhere near the silver with the magic wand, especially on the white. It's therapeutic doing it manually though, if you have the time. LOL

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