- BW dialog box or adjustment layer
- layers panel
- channels panel
- dodge-burn tools
- brush tool
Here we go...
- Open your image in Photoshop
- First we will create a channel image.
- (Assuming you are a PC user) press ctrl+J to duplicate the background layer.
- Now press ctrl+alt+B to open the BW dialog box. (or create a new BW adjustment layer.)
- Use the sliders to make the picture dark and light. (Wanted parts should be light and unwanted parts should be dark) but don't go too far. Press OK
- For example, skin tones go lighter when you use the orange, red, or yellow sliders. Use them wisely.
- Grab the Dodge tool from the panel on the left hand side.
- Shift+Right click on the picture. There should pop a menu with 3 choises (highlights, midtones, darks) (you can use the top menu for same selection, but shift right click is faster)
- Select "highlights"...selecting "highlights, we tell photoshop NOT to touch on the dark and midtoned areas, but work only with the light areas of the picture.
- Use a %50 opacity (at the menu, on top) and use the dodge tool on the white areas to make them perfectly white. Don't force it on corners, you may get jiggy lines...(what is jiggy? I just made it up LOL)
- Use white brush to fill the easy parts, use dodge tool on corners, to save time :)
- Now grab the Burn tool and shift+right click on the picture. This time, select "darks" (to make dark parts darker)
- Do the same thing on dark parts, until they are black.
- Now ctrl+A to select all the picture. Then ctrl+C to copy.
- Go to "channels" window (if not visible, find it on "Window" menu)
- On the bottom of channels panel, find "create new channel" and click it.
- Now we have a new channel, select it and press ctrl+V to paste your BW picture in it.
- Press ctrl+2 to select the RGB channel or simply click on the RGB to select it, in the channels window.
- Press ctrl+D to deselect everything.
- Go back to the layers panel and delete the bw layer. Re-duplicate your background. (always save your background layer untouched, in case you need to go back)
- Again on the channels panel; Ctrl + Left click on the new channel, you just created...you should have a perfect selection of your flame.
- Go to Menu>Select>Modify>Feather (%0,5 - %1) to make the jiggy lines smoother...
- Back to the Layers panel again :)) select new duplicated layer and click on the "Add Layer Mask" button at the bottom of the Layers panel (small circle in a small rectangle)(Never "delete" information from the layer, because you will probably need to improve the mask in some parts)
- Make the Background layer invisible...voila! :)
- Now add a white "solid color" adjustment layer, under the isolated layer. Because transparency checkboard makes seeing corner details impossible.
- Click on the layer mask you just created and make final improvements :)
Note 1: This technique works best if you take your picture on a single colored background.
Note 2: If the background is white, you can make your object black and at the end you can invert the channel :)
Finally, save your image as PNG and upload it as an additional format.
This is how I isolated all of my model images...human body have too much unpredictable curves and hair (both on head, arms, cheeks etc) which is almost impossible to isolate via pen tool. This technique can give you every single hair line, if you can use it properly.
I know that it looks a little tricky and it depends on your talent to get nice results. But go give it a try, you will love it :)
One more thing is, this is not useful on "white on white" situations...here is a simple example! I used pen tool for isolation on this picture.