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  • samanthaosys

How to cut an image out using Photoshop

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I was recently asked by a friend to do some cut-outs for her to use on websites where a white background is necessary. Photoshop is the best tool to cut-out any object from a less than perfect background.The main problem with cutting out things like people is the bits of unwanted background that can cling to the subject's outline - especially in areas of detail such as hair. When removing the background you can lose some of this edge detail, making the subject look like a "Photoshop cut-out". The improved Refine Edge command in Photoshop includes powerful tools to help you modify an initial selection and retain delicate details. I rarely use this option but here is a tutorial that I used, if you'd like to try.

Step 1: Make a selection Open the original image - here I've used a photo that will be used on Amazon and need's the background to be white.

Take the Magic Wand Tool tool from the Tools palette. You can also use the Quick Selection Tool if you prefer. If using the Quick Selection Tool, remember to tick the Auto Enhance box in the Options bar to give your selection a smoother edge. Brush over the background to 'paint' a selection marquee that snaps to the outline of the woman. Don't worry if bits of background hiding in her hair get selected, or if fine edge hairs are excluded from the selection - you can tidy these areas up later.

When using the Magic Wand, add portions with the shift key and subtract with the alt key.

When the background is selected click cmd+shift+I to inverse the selection (or go to Select > Inverse). Now the woman is selected.

Step 2: Launch Lasso ToolIf, like me, you prefer to cut the remaining details out without the Refine Edge tool or you just want to add a few details by hand, select Polygon Lasso Tool from the Tools palette and using Shift to add and alt to subtract "catch" all the remaining portions.

I try to go around the whole body and zoom into the fleshy parts, as those tend to have a lot of portions missing.

Step 3: Add a feather radiusOnce you have captured the whole silhouette go to Select > Modify > Feather (or click Shift+F6) and choose the feather radius.

I usually go with 1pt as this is just supposed to add a little smoothness to the outline so it looks less "cut-out" when you put it on a background. Have a play with different weights to see what suits you.

Step 4: Create a new layerThen click cmd+J to cut the silhouette to a separate layer. You will still see the background.

The background can be turned off by clicking the eye icon on the left of the layer.

Step 5: Save your workNow you can add the background on a separate layer or save with a transparent background.

I keep the background transparent and save the image as a PSD - so that I can go back and amend later if needed. I also save as a jpg, which automatically adds a white background - this is perfect for use on Amazon.

The image is now ready to upload

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