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Archive 2013 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless
  
 
mrhoni
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p.1 #1 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


I recently learned how to do the basic white seamless. I have a large 6'x7' collapsable white backdrop and then have a set of 2'x4' white tile boards to use for the floor. The boards are this size so I can get them in the car for portability. White towels are then draped on the black border of the background where it meets the tile boards.
I light the backdrop with one flash and I light the subject with a soft box.

This week I took a series of photos of my vet, the assistants and their pets. There are many photos to edit and my editing method is very slow and I can see areas where the background is not white or uneven because of my editing technique.

For this forum, I need some suggestions on post processing. I currently haven''t worked out how to get the lighting set for this in cramped spaces (issue for the lighting forum).

Below is what I just tried out and it seemed to be much quicker and easier than my previous method of cloning. I have attached the original photo and then my results of this attempt of editing as well as my PS layers.

The last paragraph contains my question in context.

-------------------------- My notes for how to do this edit ----------------------

The boards and background are not always full white. To fix in PS:
Create a levels adjustment layer and drag the black point all the way to the right to see where the white is not all white
In that same window, click the whitepoint eye dropper. Click in an area on the white boards that should be white but isn't. This will whiten alot but not all of the board and cause the back slider to return to its left position Repeat until all areas are white or minimal left over.

Next, select the background layer and create a duplicate layer to clean up the lines from the boards to clone them out and any other areas that are not white, such as light stand or backdrop or floor, etc.
Use the clone tool. Set no pressure and flow for the pen. On this duplicate layer, make sure it is set for All Layer. and then clean up all white except the lines that go through the shadows.
Use the clone tool. Set pressure and flow to use pen. On this new duplicate layer, make sure it is set for current layer and then clone out the lines that go through the shadows

QUESTION: One thing this process does is causes whites in the subject to get too white. This can be somewhat adjusted by moving the black point just a touch to the right and then take the midpoint and slide it a little to the right. Might also create a new layer and do some dodging of the whites that were now blown out, but I'm having trouble which layer to duplicate?

1) Original photo






2) Here are the layers from Photoshop






3) Edited photo








Feb 08, 2013 at 11:41 PM
mrhoni
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p.1 #2 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


I tried the burning for the whites but I didn't do well with it. What I really want to do is create a mask that allows the hair from the bottom layer to come through.

For example, the dog on the left has too much of the white area on the left side of the neck and I want to select the problem area and have the hair from the bottom background layer show through to the top.

I'm not being successful in creating the mask and doing what I need. I think part of the problem is I have a levels adjustment layer on top.

I will search google, but I hope someone can easily explain what I need to do to accomplish this.



Feb 09, 2013 at 01:47 AM
hugowolf
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p.1 #3 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Burning seems like tha last thing you would want to do. Have you tried just dodging the edges with a soft brush for the midtones at about 25%?

Brian A



Feb 09, 2013 at 02:49 AM
mrhoni
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p.1 #4 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


I will try your suggestion. I thought burning was darkening and dodging was lightning?


Feb 09, 2013 at 02:55 AM
hugowolf
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p.1 #5 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


mrhoni wrote:
I will try your suggestion. I thought burning was darkening and dodging was lightning?

Yes, I am not suggesting anything as complex as various adjustment layers; just dodging the periphery. Perhaps I don't understand what you are trying to achieve?

What exactly are you trying to achieve apart from a hot white background?

Brian A



Feb 09, 2013 at 03:29 AM
mrhoni
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p.1 #6 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


If the solution is simple I'm all for it.

Let me clarify, after getting the white background white, areas of white on the dogs also brightened up. I would like to be able to do some touchup to bring back some of the detail that is at the background layer.

For example, the dog on the left has too much of the white area on the left side of the neck blending into the background and I want bring back detail there.



Feb 09, 2013 at 03:40 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #7 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


First read my tutorial approach for lighting white backgrounds perceptually here: LINK

From the tutorial you'll understand why I expose the background for 250 not 255 clipping: a 255 background make solid white in the subject seem duller by comparison and any 255 specular rim lighting would be lost in the background.

In PP I adjust the highlight eye dropper in PS to 250.250.250. Do that by double clicking the highlight eye dropper in Levels then changing the default 255 setting. When closing the color picker you will be ask "Make new settings default". Click yes. Now anything clicked with highlight eye dropper in levels turns 250.250.250 not 255.255.255.

Next I click the highlight eye dropper on white BD close to the subject snapping it neutral 250.250.250

Then I fill a new layer with 250.250.250 and erase / mask out the doggie in the window. Since the BG is click corrected to 250 around the subject there's no need for precision in the masking so it takes all of about a minute to do.







SOOC - note un-even BG tone





250 layer on top with subject erased out of it.






If used on "white" web pages I set the background value of the web page to 250.250.250 also.

The thing to realize about how white is perceived is that the brain adapts perception to the brightest largest white thing in the FOV as the "anchor" for the perceived tonal range. So the viewer sees 250 white as being the same as 255 when their pupils and brain adjust to it. Again keeping the BG and solid white objects in foreground at 250 is what allows the 255 specular highlights to define high points and create the 3D illusion on white solids.

Below the small highlight catchlight at 2 o'clock and the circle depicting rim lighting are 255. Note how perception of 3D shape changes when background is 255, 250, and 240:







In terms of what is really important THE DOGGIES it would be better perceptually to photograph those B&W mutts on a med. gray BG that would contrast with both the white and dark fur. The whites will look brighter by comparison and without the glare of the background causing the viewer's pupils to constrict the range of their eyes will see more shadow detail in the black fur.

I also have a tutorial on lighting furry critters you might want to read: http://photo.nova.org/Fur/



Feb 09, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #8 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Keith,

It's kind of difficult to make specific workflow recommendations based on your small screen prints but here are some general thoughts that may or may not help you:

* Seems like a lot of your doubts are related in one way or another to how to make a decent mask. There are many ways to make masks in PS and most of them require a little practice to do well. Which technique works best largely depends on the source image and how picky you need to be for the mask.
- In general, the key to a good mask is starting with an image or a modified version of the image that enhances the edge between what you want to select and what you don't want to select. I mention this because if I understood your initial workflow correctly, I think you may get better results if you create a mask before you make adjustments to levels.
- Sometimes a mask can be as simple as using the polygonal lasso tool to select what you want to modify, leaving a little white space in this case. Then feather the mask, which is pretty easy with CS5+ using the Mask Properties panel. A specific example in the case of the dogs would be: Make a rough selection of the white space surrounding the dogs and their shadows with the polygonal lasso tool, add a Curves adjustment layer that will automatically pick up the selection and apply it as a mask, adjust the curves to move the white space to pure white or something close, use the Mask Properties panel to feather the mask. This will leave some non-pure-white areas around the dogs but those areas may be close enough to white as to not be noticeable. You will have to experiment.
- If you need a more precise mask, the Quick Selection Tool followed up by Select>Refine Edge can usually do a pretty good job. The Quick Selection Tool is very crude but the Refine Edge process can usually produce a very decent mask. There are many tutorials available on line for Refine Edge and Mask Edge.

* I just happened to see this tip from Glyn Dewis on Photoshop User TV a few days ago and you might find his method of cleaning up white backgrounds useful. Here is the Youtube link:

Glen Dewis white background clean-up tip

* In case you don't know, you can speed up use of the Clone tool or Spot Healing brush on straight lines by clicking once at the beginning of the line and then shift-click at the end of the line.



Feb 09, 2013 at 08:17 PM
mrhoni
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p.1 #9 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Dennis
Thanks for the tips and tricks.

Where I'm stuck is mask creation and its location in the layers and then the process to make a lower layer show thru. My workflow must not be correct as I kept trying but couldn't get it right regarding making the mask and then getting something in a lower layer show thru.

In my screenshot, the levels are from bottom to top and the text below "My notes for how to do this edit" is the workflow that I did.
Background
Duplicate layer of background
Levels adjustment layer

I pm'd Chuck, hadn't heard back yet, for a bit more specifics regarding how to do this:

"Then I fill a new layer with 250.250.250 and erase / mask out the doggie in the window. Since the BG is click corrected to 250 around the subject there's no need for precision in the masking so it takes all of about a minute to do."



Feb 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #10 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Here is one of many ways to do what you mentioned:

Create a Solid Color layer above the dog layer, choosing 250/250/250 as the RGB color.
You should now see all white.
Click on the mask icon on the new solid color layer to make it active.
Do a Control I (Command I on Mac). This will invert the mask and you should now see the dogs again.
With the solid color mask still selected. Use a soft-edged brush with pure white to paint on the mask to reveal the 250/250/250 white layer.
To correct any mistakes, switch the brush color to black. The X key can be handy for switching back and forth from white to black during your masking.

If you ever want to see the mask only (to look for holes, for example), Alt-click (Option-click on the Mac) on the mask icon.

Let me know if you have problems with that.



Feb 09, 2013 at 09:03 PM
 

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mrhoni
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p.1 #11 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Dennis,
Here is what I did:

1) I think you wanted me to first create a section of the subject.
On the top layer, I selected my subject with a selection tool and then used the Quick Mask to finish the selection.

2a) To create the solid color layer, I did Layer > New > Layer. I did not see where to choose the RBG color, so what I did is create a new layer that was transparent, double-clicked on the foreground color to get the eyedropper and then clicked on the photo where I had set the white to 250/250/250. I see I could have just typed 250/250/250 into the foreground color window. Now I have the foreground color set. I take the paint bucket and fill in the transparent layer and now it is set to the correct 250/250/250

I'm not sure this is what you wanted me to do per your description of the task? While I did fill the layer with white, I also see an outline of my subject.

2) With this new layer selected, I then clicked on the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel.
Is this what you were telling me to do? When I do this, my top layer now consists of a layer thumbnail and layer mask thumbnail.

3) Command I to invert the mask is not possible at this point. Something is wrong.

This should be easy but I'm doing something wrong or misinterpreting specifically what to select/choose to perform the tasks. I have backtracked in the history, so I'm now back to where my top layer is fully edited and I have selected the subject and the ants are crawling around it.

Waiting for instructions Captain.



Feb 09, 2013 at 10:17 PM
mrhoni
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p.1 #12 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


I might have just stumbled upon the answer

1) Top layer has subject selected and per what Chuck had said I had clicked close to the subject setting with the white picker set to 250.

2) Next, with the foreground color set to 250/250/250, I created a new layer with Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color

3) Now I have a new layer with a Layer Thumbnail and Layer Mask Thumbnail, which the eyes see as an outline of my subject.

4) Making sure I'm on the Layer Mask Thumbnail, I do what Chuck suggested regarding erasing.
I chose the eraser tool, set the size very large and 100% flow and opacity.
I could then easily swipe through the subject to reveal the subject. This was cool to see it work and the mask allowed me to wipe well past the subjects outline without revealing anything I didn't want.



Feb 09, 2013 at 10:55 PM
mrhoni
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p.1 #13 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


So I think I have a simple workflow that appeared to have worked. Here is the photo I was trying this out on.

Something does seem strange. As I pass around the "white" background with a color picker, not everything is 250/250/250. They are close but not all exactly the same.

If I had a fill layer with 250, then every pixel outside the mask I would have expected to be 250/250/250, but they are not.

Any thoughts on this. I'm going to try again, but this time do it on the dog photo.








Feb 09, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #14 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Sounds like you are getting close.

Here is a sequence for painting 250/250/250 white onto your image. There are many other ways to do it and ways to create the mask other than painting it on but it is one of the simpler ways and agrees more or less with what Chuck was trying to tell you.

1. Load your dog pic. I am showing it as a normal layer here but it could also be a background layer, at least starting out.







2. Create a new solid color layer by clicking on the Create new layer icon...







3. ... and select Solid Color.







4. The color selection windows will come up and you can specify the color - in this case 250/250/250.







5. Now click on the mask icon of the new solid color layer. It should show white brackets around it if it is active.







6. Now do a Control I to invert the mask. For masks, white reveals and black conceals.







7. Now with the solid color mask still selected, use a soft brush with pure white (255/255/255) foreground color and paint on the areas of the image you want to be your forced 250/250/250 white. It will look like you are painting 250/250/250 white onto your image but what you are really doing is painting pure white on the mask which reveals the 250/250/250 solid color layer.







8. As I mentioned before, it can be handy to see the actual mask full screen rather than the masked image in order to fill holes in the mask. To see the mask in the main window, Alt-click on the mask icon. To go back to the image, just click on the image icon.







Some other comments:

- You don't have to use a solid color layer. You can fill a new, transparent layer with a color also as you apparently did in one of your attempts.
- Layers can have both bitmap and vector masks. Bitmap masks are usually more useful for this type of compositing.
- If you use filled layers instead of solid color layers, you can use the eraser tool directly on the layer rather than using a mask. Normally, however, masks give you more flexibility and undoability.
- You can mask in or mask out - whatever you find best for a given image. It just depends on the order of the layers and your work preference.
- You mentioned that you weren't seeing solid 250/250/250 in your attempt. There can be several reasons why: You left some holes, you are seeing the soft edge of the brush you used, you were using the brush at less than 100% opacity, the color layer is set at less than 100% opacity, etc..
- For my simple example above, you could also just paint 250/250/250 on a transparent layer above the image layer but learning how masking works will help you for other things.

Hope that helps.










Feb 09, 2013 at 11:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Took a stab at it ... using channels & levels to create a mask, applied to a (250,250,250) color layer (i.e. no brush work).











Edited on Feb 10, 2013 at 12:24 AM · View previous versions



Feb 09, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #16 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Doesn't PS's transparency print nothing... no ink?

All these tutorials are awesome but isn't the solution about a billion times more simplistic - just by using transparency and maybe feathering?




Feb 09, 2013 at 11:51 PM
mrhoni
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p.1 #17 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Following the steps from Dennis (eyeball), I was able to perform the tasks. I found this method much harder than what I posted a bit earlier where I did the selection of the subject and then erased within the mask.

Much quicker, however as I noted above, I can't figure out why not all the pixels outside the mask are not 250/250/250.

Rustybug, how long did it take you to perform the edits and what are your specific steps.

Thanks for all the help from everyone. Will play more with the different methods or anything else someone would like to provide.

Here is what I ended up with the dogs after following Dennis's last workflow.








Feb 10, 2013 at 12:26 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #18 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


It took about 2 minutes ...

Channels
Highlight Blue Channel
Hit Load Channel As Selection Button
Layers>New Fill Layer>solid color
Choose color at vivid color to make it easy to see (I chose red)

You'll now have two layers ... click on mask for the color fill layer, go to Images>Adjustment>Levels and crank on the black slider till the mask darkens to the edges of the dogs. Touch up a few spots on the mask that got missed. Feather the mask as needed.

Click on the color layer and switch the color from red (255,0,0) to the (250,250,250) that you want for your background.



Feb 10, 2013 at 02:06 AM
mrhoni
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p.1 #19 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Thanks rustybug, I will try this out tomorrow.


Feb 10, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Mr Mouse
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p.1 #20 · Need suggestion for editing white seamless


Looking at your full size image the seems to be a problem in her hair in the fringe area when you made the background to the 249 250 white area some brown seems to have been lost .







Feb 10, 2013 at 02:16 PM
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