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Can make crisp selection to create White background

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Melinda Jimenez
Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 8, 2019 at 3:31:36 pm

Hi everyone. I am working on some cake photographs. I take them in a white box, but sometimes the white looks more grey. I fix it in Photoshop as much as I can but no matter how close I get to the cake, I can never get a perfect selection and the cake is left with very soft edges. I have tried with creating a mask but the edges stay choppy, even after refining. My goal is to be able to remove any background from any cake image, with sharp refined edges. I am on my laptop using a trackpad. Can anyone help?
original jpeg:


after:


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:55:28 pm
Last Edited By Kalleheikki Kannisto on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:58:04 pm

The quick selection tool is perfect for this. You just drag in the white areas around the cake then alt-drag in any areas that get selected inside the cake that shouldn't. Very fast and intuitive.

Selecting the background is easier than selecting the cake. You just invert the selection when done.

Selection refinement: The softness comes from using much too large a radius for the refine edge settings. You don't need to refine it with a large radius, just a couple of pixels will be enough. You can smooth and feather the selection by a couple of pixels and then add contrast, that should take care of the refinement.

I always use a layer mask to cut the background out, never delete or fill the image layer itself. That way you can always come back to do final touches as the edits are non-destructive.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:05:55 pm
Last Edited By Kalleheikki Kannisto on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:08:42 pm

This is a quick test cut-out with the quick mask tool, plus curves to make the cake look more natural on a white background.



Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:12:12 pm

Here's the psd file, in case you're interested in seeing the result in layered form. You can see how radical the curves adjustment I made is.

13005_dreamcatchercakecutout.psd.zip

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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Melinda Jimenez
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 11, 2019 at 5:01:26 am

Thank you so much for your help. I never thought to select the background. I tried it today, and it is easier to use the method you provided. I created a mask on my layer and used the quick selection tool. My selection was nothing perfect-or even close to it but I figured that I could use the refinement tool in the "select and mask" window but what i notice that it fixes some areas, but then erases others. I undo it, and go over the area again and the same thing happens. For example, around the feathers, it refines the edges and fills in anything that I missed but around the silver base of the case, it looks like it is being erased with a soft brush. I tried to send you my file. It is the same photo from a different angle. It shows the selection I was able to achieve. I am not sure how to fix the edges.


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Melinda Jimenez
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 11, 2019 at 5:07:26 am

13018_img2449dreamcatcher.zip


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: Can make crisp selection to create White background
on Jan 11, 2019 at 4:36:59 pm

It looks like you still have a very large radius for the refine edge function. Smart radius can do that as well, so you should not use this for something that has a sharply defined edge.

The good thing about using a layer mask is that you can manually paint black and white on the layer mask to fix it (show or hide layer content). So you can fix those pieces by painting. But you shouldn't have this much to fix to begin with, so check that radius first. I would do a slightly softer edge, now it starts to look like you've cut it out with a knife. 1 pixel feather (or blurring of the layer mask) would be just about right.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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