Pure White Backgrounds: What a leason I learned!


posted on 21st of october, 2010

Of course isolating an object on a white background, I always try to touch-up on Photoshop. I'm still learning all of Photoshop's amazingly helpful touch-up functions but this one is the latest lesson learned. Only after my "Budget" picture was posted on my portfolio did I notice an odd, gross looking light, very light gray triangle shape on top of the measuring tape. Then my eye was drawn to other smaller areas randomly around the rolled-up dollar bill. What is that I asked?? I tilted my laptop screen in every angle and with each twisted it showed up worse. After awhile, every time I signed into DT I could only see that hazing gray on my picture. Now, after the file has been viewed 3 times and no bites, I had to be concerned a little. I went back to the original and after tilting the laptop screen again, there it was!

I'm sure to some, you're shaking your head and probably have experienced this mistake before. But when I did my touch-ups in Photoshop I had missed those few areas with my brush and the original slightly grayer background was still present. I took the picture back into my design area, set the calculation tab, opened my channels, darken the levels in my alpha layer, and there they were! Those areas I forgot were just shining bright, mocking me. Well, I took care of them and resubmitted my picture with a very apologetic note to the editors/reviewers. As I writing this I am still waiting to hear back on it's approval.

Being a researcher by nature, I scanned the internet for every possible way to completely isolate an object and create a pure white background. And probably without me having to say, there are multiple, multiple ways of doing this. So I put this out to our community and ask what techniques you guys use to double, triple check that your isolated photos have a crisp completely white background before submitting?

Comments (16)

Posted by Rinderart on November 20, 2010
I just shoot it correctly. Then you don't have to do anything. LOL
Posted by Rinderart on November 20, 2010
I just shoot it correctly. Then you don't have to do anything. LOL A lot of us did them Long before digital and Photoshop. Not much to it.
Posted by Diavata on November 20, 2010
The first thing I do, is roughly "isolate" my object from the background, using the lasso tool. Then I invert the selection, use a solid white gradient (which ofcourse isn't really a gradient anymore like this) to instantly get the entire area white.

Then I open up levels and put the left slider al the way to the right. This way, I can see what stil needs to be done. Then I use either the lasso or dodge tool to get the rest pure white.
Posted by Marsel82 on November 19, 2010
thx for the interesting article! I use often level adjustment, because i think is the quickest method but I will try some other method...
Posted by Lostarts on November 09, 2010
I have the same problem; what I do is I duplicate the layer, and underneath I add a pure white layer. The I add a mask to the top layer that I completely fill with black so only the white will be visible. The with a white brush I bring back my image.
Since I've been doing it like this I don't miss those weird spots anymore.

Paul, would you do a blog outlining these steps for those of us not too familiar with the Photoshop process your describing - please?

Thanks
Posted by Cammeraydave on November 08, 2010
I love a beautiful isolated object ! Good Luck
Posted by MorganOliver on October 25, 2010
Again, thank you all for the advice and comments. My "readjusted" better looking photo was accepted. Yeah! No sure if the differnece can be seen but here it is...oh and the other one has already been diasbled. File #    Budget Money on a Diet   16584094
Posted by Luissantos84 on October 23, 2010
first you need to shoot it the best way possible and raw.. then open it and check wb, exposure and then recovery, which will help on the highlights.. after that process to tiff or straight way to jpg if you arent going to do anything major like cloning etc.. after this open it and use the magic tool or pen tool, then invert that selection, after feather that selection so it isnt going harsh, then place that as white 255!
Posted by Digitalexpressionimages on October 22, 2010
When doing photos on a white background, I actually shoot on a white background (as I'm sure most do). There will always be the off white areas that have to be corrected and for that I use "selective color" (under image>adjustments). You can select "white" and use the sliders to remove color from the "white" portions of an image.
Posted by MorganOliver on October 22, 2010
Wow! Thanks for so many readers! and I appreciate the great advice from you that replied. I have been trying the variety of techniques suggested here. One solution does not fit all and with this realization it only becomes more fun.
Posted by Yuritz on October 22, 2010
nice blog,it's always usefull to read how people work on their pics
Posted by Arenacreative on October 22, 2010
dodge tool set to highlights, hit it at 10% with the brush, just be careful when getting close to the white edges of the tape. you might want to manually select those parts if it gives you trouble
Posted by Sobek85 on October 22, 2010
great article, thanks for sharing
Posted by Littledesire on October 21, 2010
Nice blog, thanks for sharing! I use the levels and if it's not enough or I have to remove the whole backgroud I use the pen tool. It works fine!
Posted by Bradcalkins on October 21, 2010
It is easy to check using the levels adjustment. Just hit Ctrl-L and the levels dialog pops up. To the right of the histogram is the white point slider, a little triangle at the bottom. Sliding it adjusts what value equates to pure white. If you hold down the Alt key when you slide it, you can quickly see areas of the 'white' part of your photo that are actually slightly off. Hit cancel and fix up those areas with a white brush, or do it like Phakimata suggests to do it in a non destructive way to the original image.
Posted by Phakimata on October 21, 2010
I have the same problem; what I do is I duplicate the layer, and underneath I add a pure white layer. The I add a mask to the top layer that I completely fill with black so only the white will be visible. The with a white brush I bring back my image.
Since I've been doing it like this I don't miss those weird spots anymore.



Comments (16)

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