Photoshop Extract tool


TPF Noob!
Oct 23, 2003
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North Carolina, USA
Has anyone tried using the photoshop extract tool to remove the background from a picture. I have a client that needs to use an image in a publication that was taken with a blue based background.... client absolutely loves it, and now the client is being featured in a professional publication. However, the publication requires a different color background and the client does not want to re-shoot. Keep in mind it has been almost a year since the shot was taken and the client is willing to pay for the changes.

This is working quite well except for some areas in the hair and the glasses. I find with the hair it is easy to get a halo and quite difficult to eliminate without giving a hair cut.

Would anyone be willing to offer some tips and tricks for this kind of change?

Extraction is one of the basic techniques for a lot of Photoshop work. There are probably 100,000s of tutorials on the internet already.

You can use the extract tool...but there are many other ways to get started. As noted, with a simple background, you can use the magic wand or select color range to select the background. I also suggest using a layer mask to fine tune the selection at a high magnification.
Use pen tool, a wacom tablet, and a **** load of patience. And just start drawing paths around the subject. There's no easy way out of this one, especially if you're going to extract hairs.
I use masking usually...but sometimes I use the selection tool in CS3 which works well.
I am familiar with the basis of the extract tool.... I was just hoping for something a little bit quicker than my current process.... guess not.

Thanks for the input
If you are working in layers, outlined person in one layer, new background underneath, I usually eliminate halos by duplicating the person layer and placing the copy between the original and background. Set the copy layer to multiply (turn off main person layer and play with the copy layer opacity so the hair edge doesn't get too dark.) Turn on main layer, and erase the haloed edges with a brush set at 10-30% opacity. Erase the hair edge slowly to get a nice soft outline, allowing the multiplied edge to show.

For a better, more editable edge, use a layer mask. If you "erase" too much, then you can just fix the mask and put erased edges back. The multiplying layer will blend the hair with the new background. If you need to define strands of hair, a tablet and pen are great tools.
Duplicating the extracted layer and then merging fixes lots. Then use the History Brush Tool around the edges to fix the image further.

Hair is tricky, I just need use a thick highlighter when your tracing the subject in extract. Then afterwards zoom in and paint, clone etc to clean up so the hair works against the background.

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