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Cut out 1000 stamps...

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Chris Mellor
Cut out 1000 stamps...
on May 30, 2013 at 9:07:23 pm

Hi all,

I'm working on a project where I need to cut out about 1000 stamps from their backgrounds. For the most part, each stamp has bright white perforations that contrast against the black background. Like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Russia_stamp_M.Bernes_19...
Is there an easy way to automate this process?
So far I have my comp set up so each frame is a new stamp. Is there some kind of effect (some kind of keyer?) that will sample a layer starting only at its alpha channel (the edge of the image)? So that I can key out the black background, but not any black that is within the white perforations.
I'm open to any other suggestions. I'll also be posting this in the Photoshop forums because it's probably easier to do in Photoshop... I'm just more familiar with AE and Expressions so I started there.

Thanks everyone!

-Chris


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Cut out 1000 stamps...
on May 30, 2013 at 9:26:20 pm

You'd have better luck using Photoshop for this, I think....

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tayo Onabule
Re: Cut out 1000 stamps...
on May 30, 2013 at 10:42:46 pm

If all the stamps are the exact same size then you could apply a Color Key to an adjustment layer and then mask the place where the inner part of the stamp, press M on the adjustment layer and invert the mask you've just made. You can play around with the Color Key settings till you get crips edges.

Good luck.

Tayo Onabule
LightStorm Visuals


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John Cuevas
Re: Cut out 1000 stamps...
on May 30, 2013 at 10:56:41 pm

I agree with Dan that Photoshop is probably quicker. If the stamp/photos are near identical you could create an action to use the magic wand to sample some pixels in a corner and set it up to create an alpha based on that.

That being said, here's a couple of other methods. Using the free Unmult plugin on one layer will drop out the black. Duplicate the stamp layer, and mask back in the middle of the stamp.

Another method you could use(and set it up as a preset) is to throw a paint bucket effect on the layer, throw it into a corner and then use a color key to remove the red and you have an alpha.

I made an example project to illustrate both techniques: 6090_stampsfolder.zip

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Chris Mellor
Re: Cut out 1000 stamps...
on May 31, 2013 at 4:37:05 pm

John, you are a life-saver!

A lot of these great suggestions didn't work because the stamps are all different sizes, but John's Paint Bucket + Key Color worked perfectly.

All I did was align all the stamps to the top left corner, set the coordinates of the Paint Bucket to something like (10, 100) and then Key out the fill color. Rendered out a png sequence, automated a Trim & Save action in Photoshop and BAM, about 1000 stamps over alpha!!

Thanks everyone for the input. You just saved some poor intern thousands of hours...

-Chris


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John Cuevas
Re: Cut out 1000 stamps...
on Jun 3, 2013 at 12:02:01 pm

As is usually the case with AE, there are multiple ways to solve any problem, glad I could help out.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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