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How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way

May 16, 2014, 03:15
Post: #1
How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
Just a simple technique I learned on how to cut an image from the background. This technique works extremely good with hair and other difficult images, which other methods have a problem with. This is why I claim it to be the right way as it is the most forgiving and quite simple to use once you get it down. I hope you enjoy!

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May 16, 2014, 06:33 (This post was last modified: May 16, 2014 06:34 by iForStyle007.)
Post: #2
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
good tutorial, thanks for sharing Smile I did notice though, that the shirt on the left was behind the hair making it difficult to select the hair there & that he didn't select some of the hair, but the end result, you don't really notice it.

This inspires me to make a video-version of a hair-selection tutorial I made a while ago on here in the near future, its similar but with maybe less mask painting required:

http://gimpforums.com/thread-selecting-f...7#pid21197

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than fear of failure." BC
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May 16, 2014, 06:47
Post: #3
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
TL;DW Smile

If the technique is simple, can you sum it up in a few lines?

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May 16, 2014, 07:43
Post: #4
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
Definitley TL

I can sum it up in a couple of lines

1. Make mask
2. Get down to some pixel level editing.
and I will add my own
3. There is never a right way, consider each image on its own.

This post worth revisiting. http://gimpforums.com/thread-cutting-blo...background
See Ofnuts link to highpass masking

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May 16, 2014, 08:13
Post: #5
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 16, 2014 06:33)iForStyle007 Wrote:  good tutorial, thanks for sharing Smile I did notice though, that the shirt on the left was behind the hair making it difficult to select the hair there & that he didn't select some of the hair, but the end result, you don't really notice it.

This inspires me to make a video-version of a hair-selection tutorial I made a while ago on here in the near future, its similar but with maybe less mask painting required:

http://gimpforums.com/thread-selecting-f...7#pid21197

I have seen this before and I really like this method as well! I'd definitely be interested in seeing a video version of it.
(May 16, 2014 06:47)ofnuts Wrote:  TL;DW Smile

If the technique is simple, can you sum it up in a few lines?

The video is a little lengthy because I go through step by step and attempt to explain more than not. I try to gear my tutorials towards those who may not know as much about the program as many people new to the program could just be searching for this specifically and not really know much about the program itself. Here is a shorter version with no explanation.

Grayscale a duplicated layer of the image and continue to use tools such as the Curves, Levels, and Posterize in order to get the image down to 3-4 colors.

Create a layer mask and begin to erase the parts of the image you wish to be separate from the background. This area should be considerably darker than the rest of the image.

Continue to erase the darker areas. The hair that is mainly a part of the image should be darker and the smaller sections (such as single strands) will not be, as including those in the image will still capture some of the background color and not add much to the overall composition.

Although 12 minutes may be a bit too long, I feel like if someone goes into the tutorial not knowing how to accomplish this, the time they will save in the future compensates for the few extra minutes of explaining I do in the video.

(May 16, 2014 07:43)rich2005 Wrote:  Definitley TL

I can sum it up in a couple of lines

1. Make mask
2. Get down to some pixel level editing.
and I will add my own
3. There is never a right way, consider each image on its own.

This post worth revisiting. http://gimpforums.com/thread-cutting-blo...background
See Ofnuts link to highpass masking

I wouldn't say it is definitely too long. As I stated before, I try to find a mix of making a beginner tutorials and an more experienced one. People may very well be searching how to do this in Gimp with no prior experience. More so than in a program such as Photoshop since Gimp is a free program, so it attracts users that may have no previous experience in graphic design. I will take it into consideration for future videos though.

And the "Right way" was simply added as an attention getter, similar to how magazine articles will indulge in a certain area in order to get people interested. I agree different techniques work for different circumstances and it depends on the person and what they know, however that phrase was used purely as an attention getter and I assumed it would be taken in that way. Thank you for your feedback in that area.

---

Thank you for the feedback and I understand that I can be rather long winded at times and I will continue to work on it.
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May 16, 2014, 11:11
Post: #6
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 16, 2014 08:13)Wyrlor Wrote:  Grayscale a duplicated layer of the image and continue to use tools such as the Curves, Levels, and Posterize in order to get the image down to 3-4 colors.

Create a layer mask and begin to erase the parts of the image you wish to be separate from the background. This area should be considerably darker than the rest of the image.

Continue to erase the darker areas. The hair that is mainly a part of the image should be darker and the smaller sections (such as single strands) will not be, as including those in the image will still capture some of the background color and not add much to the overall composition.

So it's like the usual technique with a direct layer mask, except for the places where you have been very lucky with the grayscaling ( which unfortunately will be the places where most other techniques work already (intelligent scissors, foreground extractor...)) but including the tough parts like hairs that are are still done mostly by hand Smile

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May 16, 2014, 15:54
Post: #7
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 16, 2014 11:11)ofnuts Wrote:  
(May 16, 2014 08:13)Wyrlor Wrote:  Grayscale a duplicated layer of the image and continue to use tools such as the Curves, Levels, and Posterize in order to get the image down to 3-4 colors.

Create a layer mask and begin to erase the parts of the image you wish to be separate from the background. This area should be considerably darker than the rest of the image.

Continue to erase the darker areas. The hair that is mainly a part of the image should be darker and the smaller sections (such as single strands) will not be, as including those in the image will still capture some of the background color and not add much to the overall composition.

So it's like the usual technique with a direct layer mask, except for the places where you have been very lucky with the grayscaling ( which unfortunately will be the places where most other techniques work already (intelligent scissors, foreground extractor...)) but including the tough parts like hairs that are are still done mostly by hand Smile

Theoretically it should work in a very similar way to other methods if done correctly as her entire head should be one solid color if you spend just a little bit more time adjusting the levels and such; however, I prefer to do it this way as it gives you more direct control over the separation every step of the way. I have done both ways for certain images and I've found they take roughly the same amount of time and give very similar results, so again, it is all preference and comes down to what you're comfortable with.
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May 17, 2014, 13:12 (This post was last modified: May 17, 2014 13:21 by iForStyle007.)
Post: #8
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 16, 2014 08:13)Wyrlor Wrote:  
(May 16, 2014 06:33)iForStyle007 Wrote:  good tutorial, thanks for sharing Smile I did notice though, that the shirt on the left was behind the hair making it difficult to select the hair there & that he didn't select some of the hair, but the end result, you don't really notice it.

This inspires me to make a video-version of a hair-selection tutorial I made a while ago on here in the near future, its similar but with maybe less mask painting required:

http://gimpforums.com/thread-selecting-f...7#pid21197

I have seen this before and I really like this method as well! I'd definitely be interested in seeing a video version of it.
Cool! I'll get started as soon as I have enough free time (so next day off lol)

XD this guy grows on you, but he needs to learn to summarize a little more(you're replies are long dude no offense.) Brevity for the sake of quick reference for those who visit gf.

for EXAMPLE:
Turn this
"Although 12 minutes may be a bit too long, I feel like if someone goes into the tutorial not knowing how to accomplish this, the time they will save in the future compensates for the few extra minutes of explaining I do in the video."

into this / consider

"I know 12 minutes is maybe too long, but for someone with no former Gimp use, it will save them time by seeing a more detailed step tutorial video."

- this seems less wordy & still gets the word across.

He may type even more than me, lol, I admit I type alot sometimes(for tutorial purposes.)
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May 17, 2014, 13:51
Post: #9
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 17, 2014 13:12)iForStyle007 Wrote:  
(May 16, 2014 08:13)Wyrlor Wrote:  
(May 16, 2014 06:33)iForStyle007 Wrote:  good tutorial, thanks for sharing Smile I did notice though, that the shirt on the left was behind the hair making it difficult to select the hair there & that he didn't select some of the hair, but the end result, you don't really notice it.

This inspires me to make a video-version of a hair-selection tutorial I made a while ago on here in the near future, its similar but with maybe less mask painting required:

http://gimpforums.com/thread-selecting-f...7#pid21197

I have seen this before and I really like this method as well! I'd definitely be interested in seeing a video version of it.
Cool! I'll get started as soon as I have enough free time (so next day off lol)

XD this guy grows on you, but he needs to learn to summarize a little more(you're replies are long dude no offense.) Brevity for the sake of quick reference for those who visit gf.

for EXAMPLE:
Turn this
"Although 12 minutes may be a bit too long, I feel like if someone goes into the tutorial not knowing how to accomplish this, the time they will save in the future compensates for the few extra minutes of explaining I do in the video."

into this / consider

"I know 12 minutes is maybe too long, but for someone with no former Gimp use, it will save them time by seeing a more detailed step tutorial video."

- this seems less wordy & still gets the word across.

He may type even more than me, lol, I admit I type alot sometimes(for tutorial purposes.)

This is what taking 4 semesters writing classes in college does to someone who was already long-winded. My apologies xP I am currently working on a new tutorial and I will be sure to do my best to shorten the length.
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Aug 15, 2017, 13:16
Post: #10
RE: How to Cut an Image from the Background - The Right Way
(May 16, 2014 03:15)Wyrlor Wrote:  Just a simple technique I learned on how to cut an image from the background. This technique works extremely good with hair and other difficult images, which other methods have a problem with. This is why I claim it to be the right way as it is the most forgiving and quite simple to use once you get it down. I hope you enjoy!

Link to the Video
Did you ever create a how to document?
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