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Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

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Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby rusty » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:41 am

These are my notes for cutting-out a object (in my case, a face) from a photo using Photoshop Elements (PSE) - I use Version 7 but no doubt these steps work for at least the last few versions, as well as Version 8. I needed something that started at square one and took me through the process step-by step but couldn't find anything, so I figured it out myself (although Bill Hunt's Dec. 2, 2009 post was helpful, I found quite a few differences between Photoshop and Photoshop Elements).

The purpose of my cut-outs was to create a morph sequence of my daughter's face with Fantamorph 4.0 using her school photos from Kindergarten to Grade 12, so I ultimately saved each cutout as a TIFF file to preserve the transparency and allow the morph sequence to be overlaid on a background in a video project. Of course, a cutout can be saved as any file format.

1. Open the PSE Full Editor.
2. Bring the photo into the PSE Editor (either by clicking File>Open or simply by dragging the photo to the Project Bin).
3. If the photo is not already saved as a .PSD file type, do so (this will allow multiple saves without any deterioration of resolution from save to save).
4. Open the photo in the Editor work space.
5. Select the Magnetic Lasso tool and rough select the area you want to cut out by dragging the cursor (if you have a pen tablet, that is useful instead of the mouse) around the figure. Once you are back to the start point of your outline, hit Enter to disengage the Magnetic Lasso tool.
6. Select the Selection Brush tool to refine the selection. Zoom in a close as necessary, choose an appropriate brush size and hardness (I like 50%) and either push the “marching ants” selection line out from the inside by simply moving the brush against it, or push it in from the outside by holding the ALT key down while you move the brush against the selection line.
7. Once you are happy with the area selected, click Select (from the menu bar at the top), and then click Invert. This will change the area selected from the figure you outlined, to everything other than the figure outlined (although it will not appear any different on screen).
8. Click Select, and then click Feather. A dialogue box will open. Choose an appropriate percentage. I found 10 — 15% to be good.
9. Press the Delete key. This will delete everything but the object you outlined [Note: if you do not choose Invert in step 7, you will deleting the object, and be left only with the background — if you accidentally do this by accident, you can click Undo and try again choosing Invert before Delete]. The figure will have a feathered edge.
10. Save the resulting image as a new TIFF file.

Once I had the first image cut out, here are my notes for creating subsequent images to use in my morph sequence:

1. Bring the next photo in the sequence into the PSE Project Bin (you can, of course, preload all of the photos you will use at the beginning). Again, it is best to work with PSD’s at this stage.
2. With the previous image open in the Editor workspace, drag the next image into the Editor workspace from the project bin. This will create a new layer that will show up in the Layers palette above the layer that consists of the previous image.
3. In the Layers palette, drag the new layer below the previous image. Then right-click on the new layer and click Simplify Layer. You can also right-click on the new layer and rename it as you wish to help keep each layer straight.
4. Make sure you are using the Selection Tool. Make each of the two layers visible by clicking the “eye” icon on the left of each layer in the Layers Palette. Click on the first layer and then adjust the opacity to about 75% so the new layer is visible through it. Both layers should be visible, but the top (old) layer should be somewhat transparent. Then click on the new layer in the Layers Palette so you can work on it in the Editor workspace.
5. In the the Editor workspace, adjust the size and location of the image in the new layer by dragging the corner handles and repositioning it (by clicking and dragging it) until the eyes and as many other features of the new image line up with the old. Hide the upper (old layer) by clicking the eye icon in the Layers Palette — now only the new image should be visible.
6. Repeat steps 5 -9 above to cut out the object in the new layer.
7. Click Layer (from the menu bar at the top) and then click Duplicate Layer, or right click on the layer in the Layers Palette and click Duplicate Layer. The Duplicate Layer dialogue box will open.
8. You can name the image whatever you want in the “As” field. In the Destination box, click the arrow on the right side of the "Document" field. From the resulting drop-down menu, select New. Type a file name (without extension) and click OK. A new image will appear in the Project Bin.
9. Make sure the new image is selected and the active image (double click on it so it shows up in the main Editor workspace). Click File>Save As. The File name will be automatically inserted, and you simply select the location and the Format (as I mentioned, for a morph project, use a .tif to preserve the transparency). Click Save and you have your new image.

Repeat Steps 1 — 9 for each subsequent image. After a few times through, I was able to complete a cut out and save it in about 5 minutes or so.
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Re: Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby Ron » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:50 am

Good stuff, Russ. Sticky.

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Re: Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby Peru » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:31 pm

Thanks for taking the time to post this. \:D/
I printed it for future reference.
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Re: Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby Steve Grisetti » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:00 pm

Very nice, Rusty!

BTW, I've coincidentally created some tutorials on using selections and selections tools in Photoshop Elements. We'll be posting them when we next release our tutorials and tips.
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Re: Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby momoffduty » Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:36 am

Thanks Russ for taking the time to write up this tip! Interesting how there are different ways to use PSE and I will try this method. I usually do a rough outline of the object and then finish with the eraser. Does a feathered edge make a big difference? If it does then I'll go that route from now on.

Thanks again Russ!
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Re: Cutting Out Objects with Photoshop Elements

Postby Chuck Engels » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:04 pm

I love the new avatar Cheryl :)
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