Isolation of objects

posted on 17th of august, 2007

I work in 3 magazines as a retoucher, and every day I have tons of photos and pictures to be proсessed, retouched, isolated and so on. When I started working, I didn't know how to isolate objects correctly and accurately. I had to read a lot of articles - some of them were useful, others not. But even if you read all the articles in the world about isolation and don't try even once to do it yourself, you won't know what it is.

I differentiate between several types of pictures to be isolated.

1. Objects / people shot on a white or monochromatic background.

© Natie (Help)
© Natie (Help)

In this case you can use a Magic Wand Tool to isolate such objects. Be sure not to select some areas you don't want to be selected. Use Lasso Tool to add/subtract to/from selection.

2. When you have to isolate an object from a natural background, you can use several ways to do it. But I mostly prefer to use a Pen Tool as it provides me with the most precise contour of the object, moreover, I can correct every curve in any moment I need.
© Natie (Help)

In this picture I wanted to preserve sugar crumbles, and I had to trace the biscuits with a Pen Tool, then make a selection from the path, and delete the background, saving the Clipping Path for designers who'd use it.

3. Sometimes I shoot objects on a white background, which doesn't look white before post-processing.
© Natie (Help)

In this case I create a new Adjustment Layer for Levels, choose a white dropper and click on the grayish background. It becomes absolutely white. Then I erase the areas I don't want to be so much high lightened using a mask of the Adj Layer.

Comments (6)

Posted by Prebranac on September 04, 2007
Thanks Natie for the tips. Can you advise some other techniques for isolating hair when you have similar hair color with the background?
Posted by Natie on September 04, 2007
Prebranac, I use various methods to isolate hair, because I have to do it often when retouching girls for the covers of our magazines. An one of the methods is isolating using the most contrast channel.
Posted by Prebranac on September 03, 2007
Isolating can be very tough job, specially if you work with hair, leaves on trees or grass... Have you ever tried isolating by masking in the most contrasty channel? You can adjust opacity of the brushes you use and control the opacity of selected areas.
Posted by Yelenademyanyuk on August 18, 2007
Hi,Natie.Thanks for tips.
Posted by Starblue on August 17, 2007
[imgl]2771054[/imgl] Natie, I will read those tutorials with a great interest :-) Here is the images with several children that I wanted to use with a rainbow landscape, so I had to isolated them... uf! I have listem during it to whole music CD of my favorite group Within Temptation and yet I have complained :-) all the day what a terrible :-) job I was doing. Have a great day!
Posted by Starblue on August 17, 2007
Thanks for the tips, I must say when I must isolate an object on photo because I want to use it for my photomontage, it is a kind of nightmare. I usually increase the picture on 300 percents size and then I try to isolated from that size... anyway I must say it is the most boring job for me that exist in creation of images :-)

Comments (6)

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Photo credits: Natalie Shmeleva.

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