Trouble with backgrounds

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kyen, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. kyen

    kyen TPF Noob!

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    I recently took dance pictures for my nieces ballet school. I think I took over 150 pictures and now the owner would like backgrounds to match the songs the kids are preforming too!!! :er:
    So far I have done a few but I am having trouble on the hair. To me it doesn't look natural. Is there an easier way to work around the hair without making the kids bald?

    Here is my first attempt.
    [​IMG]

    I forgot to mention that I am using Photoshop Elements 3
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    How are you doing it now and what was the original background?
     
  3. kyen

    kyen TPF Noob!

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    the background was a blue curtain covering a large mirror. To remove most of the background I used the wand tool then I zoomed in to remove away left over background
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    The wand tool is a good start, except that it's liable to snatch a lot of hair around the edges too. Hair can be tricksy like that. Try going back and fine-tuning the selection the wand made with the lasso tool (hold alt (Win) or option (Mac) while using the lasso to use it to subtract from the current selection). If anything, give the hair some room so you can go back and use a low opacity eraser to take-out the left-over background. At least, that's how I'd do it, but I'm no expert.

    One other thing: Someone ought to mention how to deal with that dress. You can see the original background through it. I know OnOne's Mask Pro could tackle this in a second. :-/
     
  5. kyen

    kyen TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your help. I'll look into the program.
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Another issue with masking is sharpness. This is very often overlooked and the smallest error triggers the brain's "fake image" responce. A slightly soft, slightly out of focus edge of the dress suddenly looks faked when the mask creates an edge sharper than the surrounding details in the dress.

    The edge of the mask must have exactly the same blur and the edge of that portion of the original image. If you mask manually, use a Layer Mask (Photoshop term for a transparency mask specific to a layer) so that you can smooth the sharp edges of the mask with a blurring tool or effect to match the edge sharpness of the image at that point.

    In addition to this, lighting is a big issue. If the new background is dark and the old background was light (or vice versa) it can trigger the "fake image" responce when edges of the subject are brighter than they should be. A light background often produces an edge highlight on the subject whereas a dark one doesn't. The subject's edges need to be retouched to give them the proper brightness to match the fill that would have come from the new background. This can also involve color differences in the edge fill light from the background.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mask Pro would make this a very easy job, though it could be done without it... just with more effort and time needed.
     

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