Tips for cut-out images

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Dave Hoffmann, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Dave Hoffmann

    Dave Hoffmann TPF Noob!

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    Maybe I'm over thinking the best way to do cutout images of products, but I am searching for a fairly simple solution to doing it.

    I use white seemless paper to photograph products, and I think I do a so-so job at it, but how do you guys setup to do cutouts? For example, here are a couple samples I took last week:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The background is slightly gray, and there is a bit of shadow near the bottom. What is the easiest way to cutout the background for say a brochure to use?

    I've tried using Primatte software, which is intended to be used with Chroma Green or Blue backgrounds, so what happens is it also cuts out the whites in the image (e.g. the text in white on the lens).

    I've used Chroma Green paper and Primatte software for photographing and cutting out people -- as an example, here is a two part post I wrote on a shoot I did last year:

    Wrestling Poster - Chroma Key Part 1
    Wrestling Poster - Chroma Key Part 2

    However, with product photography, I've got to worry about what the product is sitting on as well -- so using green paper to set the product on, creates way too much spill.

    There must be an easy way to do cutouts, but I'm just not seeing it. Is it just as simple as using the Magic Wand Tool, and then manually cleaning up some rough edges?

    Any tips/ideas would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  2. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    When I did my internship at GXM studios in Kuala Lumpur, my boss kept on telling me to use splines to create the selection for items like this for cutting them out. I resisted at first, but now back home, it's all I use. It's very useful.

    If you have any version of photoshop, You use the pen tool to select your item (hotkey p). Shape the spline around your object. Then go to the paths tab and "create selection from spline". It takes a bit of work at first if you're not used to it, but it's pretty powerful.
     
  3. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    These are done in seconds in Fluid Mask 3. And no I do not work for them. A clipping path is nice too, but tedious and out-source able for cheap. Obviously I brushed the fake contact shadow, but you can tune for this during extraction.

    -Shea

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  4. Dave Hoffmann

    Dave Hoffmann TPF Noob!

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    Drewski and Shea -- thanks for the tips. I'm going to try the pen tool and give a gander at Fluid Mask.
     
  5. Peter42

    Peter42 TPF Noob!

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    Just an Idea:
    [​IMG]

    greetings peter
     
  6. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    As far as shooting, I use a shooting table (both here and at the studio) with white plexi, lit from below to pure white for this kind of work. it would be fairly easy to improvise something similar. Here's an image SOOC:

    [​IMG]

    In this case I wanted a slight gradient to the background, by having the plexi curved this is easily achieved with just lighting

    Here's another, shot as a test for a client, again SOOC:

    [​IMG]

    if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Whoa!! You found a use for view camera lenses!!

    Sometimes I miss it all. Then I return to my senses.

    -Pete
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    With fairly simple objects like this, I'd create an adjustment layer (levels or curves) and crank the contrast way up. Then it's very easy to use the magic wand to select the background. I'll give it a quick touch up in quick mask mode (if needed). Then trash the adjustment layer. Usually, the only problem areas are the shadows...which can be faked later if need be.
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But.... creating a path (pen tool) is advantageous, especially when bringing the image into a layout program.

    -Pete
     
  10. DanCanon

    DanCanon TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the Pen tool, very powerful weapon once mastered.
     
  11. ThePhotoRebellion

    ThePhotoRebellion TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't use any other selection method than the pen tool. It's the cleanest and most accurate way to make a selection. The pen tool is easy to use after you have some hours under your belt working with it.

    Also, If I were your client and found out that you used some other selection tool, I'd probably be a little bit upset. Especially when I ask you a week later for the clipping path to be included in the psd file.

    I hope you're billing for the cutout work and aren't giving away services for free.
     
  12. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    If an image is properly exposed, the magic wand tool (with some edge refinement) can make it a simple task. Of course this depends on proper exposure. I started out shooting transparencies and strive to get it right "in camera", so it's never an issue for me.

    Any selection path can be saved as an alpha channel, and if you don't do it, you're only cheating yourself in the long run, it's trivial to go back and tweak if need be, without redoing anything.
     

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