Thursday, May 26, 2016

Miss Behaving: Extractions for Dummies … Written by an Expert Dummie – Part I

February 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Miss Behaving, Tutorials, Weekly Features

Yes, folks. I am actually taking on this daunting task. Why, you ask? Is Miss Behaving crazy? See the title. ;) Just kidding!

Approximately 100% of my layouts use extracted images. A lot of kind, sweet, and friendly people have asked me, “What is the method you use to extract?” Well my lovelies, here it is. For all of the sweet, kind, and friendly people who are so encouraging and generous with their comments and support, this is my oh so humble gift to you.

P.S. Mean people, don’t read this! :p

This will be part one in who knows how many part series. (I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.) I do know of at least one other tutorial I will write concerning extraction or fingers and toes, and another … it will have to do with hair. However, those are other tutorials for a different day.

Today’s tutorial we will begin learning the basic tools in both Photoshop and Corel/PSP, how to use those tools, where to find these tools and finally how to extract your image.

I’ve seen a lot of tutorials that start you out with how to extract a flower. Not here. That’s what a page kit is for. I BUY my flowers. Heh

We’re going to start with a “simple” extraction of a person. I say it’s simple because we won’t be dealing with hair, fingers or toes. Yay!

This is my daughter, Morgan. If you’d like to practice extracting her, I’ve uploaded her here: Morgan The image size is 687W x 1023H. Plenty big enough to work with.

All I ask is that you respect her innocence and keep her that way if you want to use her in a layout. Thank you. :D

There are about 100 different ways you can extract her. However, I’m going to show you how I would do it with the polygonal tool in PhotoShop, and the Lasso Tool in Corel/PSP. These tools are my bestest friends. In my case, I find I have more control to provide a nice clean cut. These tools, with practice (lots of it) can give you a much more detailed cut than using the Magic Wands, Magic Erasers, the Brush tool and the Eraser tool.

Enough talk already … to Action!

Both Users:

It helps to see what you’ve actually cut and to assess how smooth your selection is, so we are now going to create a new layer and fill it with a background color. If I’ve complete confused you with the first part of the previous sentence, you will be able to see later on in this tutorial what I’m talking about.

PhotoShop Users:

Create a new fill layer (circled in red) and choose Solid Color.

To start, I’m going to use color #2a494e.

Place it under your original photo.

Corel/PSP Users:

Create a new layer (circled in red) and choose New Raster Layer.

Go to your Tool Box Menu and choose your Flood Fill tool.

To start, set your Foreground color to #2a494e.

Take your Flood fill tool (bucket) and click inside your image. By doing this, you should have a layer full of color. Place it under your original photo.

Both Users:

Remember to duplicate your original photo. Just in case we need it later for a reference. PhotoShop Users: Make sure your Original Layer is highlighted in your Layer Palette and hit “Ctrl + J” . Corel/PSP Users: Make sure your Original Layer is highlighted in your Layer Palette and “Right-click” and choose Duplicate.

When extracting I like to zoom in really close. Not only because I’m getting old and can’t see anymore but because when you zoom in you are able to trace your iamge more accurately. Believe me, it helps.

To zoom in:

PhotoShop Users

On the bottom left hand corner you’ll see the percentage size of the image you are currently viewing. I zoom in to a minimum of 300%.

Corel/PSP Users:

Go to your Tool Box menu and choose your Move Tool.

I usually zoom in to at least 300%.

Both users:

Now the fun begins. We’re going to begin the extracting process. Take a deep breath. You might want to grab some aspirin or a “special” beverage. Heh

PhotoShop Users:

Polygonal Tool – Located on your PS Tool Box Menu. If you have one of the other Lasso Tools up there, hit “Shift + L” until you see the Polygonal Lasso tool. It’s a funny shaped lasso and I don’t know how to describe it so please see below:

For extracting people, I use the Feather set at 1px with the Anti-alias checked.

Corel/PSP Users:

Freehand Selection Tool – Located on your Tool Box Menu. For your convenience, there’s a nifty pull-down menu and it’s easy to choose your Freedhand Selection tool.

For extracting people, I use the Feather set at 2 and Smoothing at 3. Make sure to have the Selection type set to: Point to Point and the Mode set to: Replace.

Both Users:

Begin by clicking on your image starting point. I usually just go ahead and start at the top. I also usually go from left to right. For some reason, I can follow the lines easier. However, I am left-handed so that explains a lot.

I work on small increments of space at a time. Follow the lines of your image and trace the contours. I like to trace just inside the line (see below). Left-click your mouse or touchpad every time you need to alter the direction of your Lasso tool. For demonstration purposes, I’ve marked the path with red boxes where I’ve clicked my mouse/touchpad. When you use the Lasso tool you will NOT have the red boxes (or any boxes at all for that matter).

Double click your mouse to close the selection.

Now hit your delete key. I usually hit delete two or three times. Then Deselect your Selection. (PhotoShop Users: On your Menu bar – Go to Select > Deselect. Corel/PSP Users: On your Menu bar – Go to Selections > Select None). Voila! Your first cut. Yay!!

In the screen shot below, I’ve removed the color fill layer. It’s much more difficult to see where your cut has been made or how clean your lines are. Aren’t you glad I made you go through that other step? (Insert big Pollyanna cheerleader complete-with-pom-poms Hurray here).

Our extraction is going beautifully so far. Now we just have to finish it. When I first started extracting, it would take me hours. Don’t despair. With practice … LOTS of practice, a “simple” image such as this one, I can now extract it in about 30 minutes with the kids being awake. I can extract it in about 15 minutes after their bedtime.

There are easier ways to extract, but again … I feel with the Polygonal Lasso tool/Freehand Selection tool I get a much cleaner look with no jagged edges or those annoying floaties. (Which really helps when you resize your image and when working with shadows).

A few more tricks that I use.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to SAVE YOUR WORK often. There is nothing worse than doing all of your hard work and then *poof* your program decides to crash. I’ve sobbed many a tear due to my forgetting to save often. Friends don’t let friends not save their work. SAVE IT!

Rotate your canvas. As I mentioned before, I extract more proficiently when moving from left to right, so I rotate my canvas to allow that.

PhotoShop Users:

On the Menu Bar, go to Image > Rotate Canvas > 90 CCW or 90 CW (CCW = Counter Clock Wise to rotate to the LEFT OR CW = Clockwise to rotate to the RIGHT) Depending which direction you want to go in. This will rotate your entire image, all of the layers. I suggest this method as it is non-corrosive to your photo.

Corel/PSP Users:

On the Menu bar, go to Image > Rotate Left or Right … whichever direction you want to go in. This will rotate all of the layers, your entire image. I suggest this method as it is non-corrosive to your photo.

Both Users:

I’ll show you the next section I selected for extraction. Again, I’ve marked where I’ve traced the model’s body and where I’ve left-clicked my mouse. Each one of these little boxes was lovingly created by yours truly. I really love you guys.

Double click your mouse, to close your selection.

Hit your delete key a few times. Tada!!!

You are on your way. Continue the process until you have successfully extracted your model completely.

Almost done. You know your model looks good on this dark background. Now we’re going to check it against a light background. If you are working with a light paper, it will save you from having to go back in and extract these pesky pixels when working on your layout.

PhotoShop Users:

Create a new fill layer (circled in red) and choose Solid Color.

This time I’m going to use color #93a49a.

Place it under your original photo.

Corel/PSP Users:

Create a new layer (circled in red) and choose New Raster Layer.

Go to your Tool Box Menu and choose your Flood Fill tool.

This time set your Foreground color to #93a49a.

Place it under your original photo.

Both Users:

Zoom in to 300% (See above). As you’ll notice the left side of my image looks fantastic. However, the right side needs some cleaning up.

After I’ve cleaned up the dark and dastardly offending pixels. I do one final step to check for floating pixels. This is important because when you want to make your shadows you don’t want spontaneous shadow spots on your layout in strange places. This final check will ensure you don’t have any random pixels floating around your extracted image. ( You all KNOW how I feel about shadowing … heh )

PhotoShop Users:

Highlight the extracted image in your Layer Palette.

Hit “Ctrl + Enter”. This will select your pixels. Zoom in CLOSE to make sure you don’t miss any of the marching ants.

Corel/PSP Users:

Highlight the extracted image in your Layer Palette.

Go to Selections > Select All.

Go to your Tool Menu and choose your Freehand Selection Tool.

Click inside the image. This will select your image. Zoom in CLOSE to make sure you don’t miss any of the marching ants.

Once you made sure to zap your offending floaters, you’re done!

Before and After:

This preview was made with Alana’s upcoming kit “Golden Moments” and Gypsy’s “Keeper of Time”.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult. However, it is quite time consuming but worth the extra effort. The best advice I can give to you is practice, practice, practice. Did I mention to practice?

At some point, depending on the comments and/or feedback on this post, I will work on a second tutorial where I will explain how I work on extracting fingers and toes and perhaps a third tutorial explaing how I extract and create hair with the smudge tool and brushes.

Good luck all and if you have any questions at all or need clarification on anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Either comment here, or PM me in Scrapbookgraphics forums.


38 Responses to “Miss Behaving: Extractions for Dummies … Written by an Expert Dummie – Part I”
  1. kate says:

    Another truly fabulous tut. Thanks so much for sharing your secrets with us all.

  2. Sandy_in_MD says:

    Awesome tutorial! I do extractions all of the time, but your instructions (especially checking it against light AND dark backgrounds, and rotating the image while extracting) are going to make it much easier. Thanks for yet another terrific tutorial, Miss B!

  3. Angela (daisy) says:

    I’m sure it’s a wonderful tut – but you said i’m not allowed to read it!!

  4. Janarae says:

    Love your site, thanks for this awesome tut. I can’t wait for the finger and hair tuts, I all ways have issues with these.

  5. Henriëtte says:

    Fantastic tut for a dummie like me!!
    I’m extracting Morgan now and I sure will use her in a winter scene which I will show you when I’m ready!!

    Thank you Melissa for this great tutorial. I’m looking forward in more lessons.

  6. Gina says:

    I really like this. I have done it a different way and look forward to trying it this way! Thanks!!

  7. Brenda says:

    This is great! I’m always interested in viewing other techniques. I’ll be looking for your tut on hair for sure. It can be a problem for me. I wonder how to get those wisps of hair to stay in place. :)

  8. Charisse says:

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I can’t wait to get home and try it.

  9. Patty Anne says:

    I agree – I’ve been extracting but you’ve given me several great tips. Mainly, not trying to extract all in one very frustrating pass, ooo and the feathering, oh I just have to go extract something…….

  10. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for the tut! I have extracted in the past but your instructions are much simpler.

  11. Christine says:

    Thank you so much. I’ve always wanted to know how to do this! I have never tried to extract, but I will now!

  12. Christine says:

    I’m doing it!!!!!

  13. jengerer says:

    Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Mary Klepac says:

    Great help. I look forward to your next tuts on extractions. Thanks!

  15. ceevee says:

    Great tutorial. Extracting is like going to the dentist. Your tut help numb the pain. Good tips I never thought of before!

  16. 5grand says:

    Wow – thank you for the great tips. I’ve tried a few extractions with some success but these tips are going to make it so much easier. Your step by step instructions are well written,clear and easy to follow. TY for sharing.

  17. Wow! That was explained so well. And even though I’ve done a lot of extraction, there were still lots of tips that were soooo helpful! thanks! Would love to see the hair extraction instructions soon!

  18. Cheryl says:

    What a fantastic tutorial! Love it and can’t wait to see the follow up tuts for hands and hair! Thanks so very much!

  19. Christine says:

    I am so excited by what I have achieved using this technique. Thank you so much. I didn’t have a clue!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to hands and hair.

  20. pj says:

    Great tut! I also use a slightly different method, but learned alot of tips here. I love the polygonal tool!! But I was trying to use the quick mask method, I can’t wait to try this method. Thanks

  21. Alanna says:

    I have been a huge fan of your awesome layouts and always wondered how you extract a picture so perfectly. Your tut is simple to understand, I’m going to try it right now Thanks so much for sharing Cheers Alanna

  22. pj says:

    I tried it & it was great. However I was extracting a photo with hair, so I am patiently??? waiting for the hair tut. Thanks again for a wonderful tutorial on extraction.

  23. wannabeartist says:

    I did the entire tutorial w/ photoshop cs3, however once I have deleted the entire background and hit the ctrl + enter, it does not select the image, it actually does nothing…no marching ants here..

  24. wannabeartist says:

    great tutorial but using photoshop cs3 ctrl + enter did not provide me the marching ants nor did it select the image I extracted..stuck!!

  25. Miss Behaving says:

    Hi wannabeartist … I’ve sent you an email. Hopefully, we can get this to work. =D

  26. Ashley says:

    Oh oh, can I offer up a tip? I’m not a heavy extractor, but, being one for quick shortcuts, when I DO extract, for checking stray pixels…I add a bright thick stroke long enough to see if there’s anything I may have missed…a thick bright red splotch is a really good way to see that pixel that was missed other wise! :)

  27. mumtomanyuk says:

    Seen all these types of layouts and didn’t think I would be able to do it. After seeing your tute I am sure that I will be able to now. Thank you so much. Just found your site so going to check it further now.

  28. Karen Maggie says:

    Thanks for the tutorial – I tried it and found this an easy and fast way to extract! 1st time I’ve ever used that poly lasso tool!!

  29. Natalija says:

    That is a great tutorial, but have found that using a pen tool and vectors is even better and cleaner, because I don’t have to click so many times and larger curves are done smoother. Also, if I make a mistake I can go closer and drag the point even after I have done the whole path. I make a selection from the path and then instead of deleting the unwanted parts I mask them out just in case I change my mind and find I have masked something that I wasn’t supposed to. Only then do I apply the mask.

  30. Claudia says:

    WOW! Im going to try this one! Thanks so much!!

  31. Shari says:

    AWESOME!!! Thank you for the great tip.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. [...] we did in the “Extraction for Dummies” tutorial, we are going to check our Hair progess on separate backgrounds.   Create two Color [...]

  2. [...] extract your model. If you need assistance on learning how to extract, please see the “Extraction for Dummies” [...]

  3. [...] extract your model. If you need assistance on learning how to extract, please see the “Extraction for Dummies” [...]

  4. [...] is less complicated. Here you have a couple of tutorials that maybe can help you a little Miss Behaving: Extractions for Dummies … Written by an Expert Dummie – Part I : Scrapboo… Miss Behaving: The “Mane” Attraction – Part I : Scrapbookgraphics – Digital [...]

  5. [...] wrote this tutorial on the polygonal lasso tool. How to Extract for Dummies – Written by an Expert Dummy. I know the May issue of Artisan Notebook will be covering everything about extractions. Good [...]

  6. [...] you need assistance on learning how to extract, please see the “Extraction for Dummies” tutorial.  For help with creating  hair, please see either:   The “Mane” Attraction [...]

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!