Selecting & Extracting Your Subject
So let's go and get our main subject. So we're going to select an extract our main character here. So got a young woman here is actually stock image. I just liked the positioning. It was kind of inspired by, um, the movie poster for the Last Avengers movie with Scarlet Witch has this pose where she's kind of doing this kind of thing with her hands and these glowing elements kind of coming out of it. That's where this kind of inspired me to play around with, but the background she shot on normally, if I was going to shoot subjects like this for a composite, I would obviously shoot something like this on a white background makes it easier to extract. Background isn't white, but it is a little some light areas of some dark areas that, um, can still make out the shape of the subject. Now it looks a little bit better on here, but on my screen, I can still there's a little bit more blending going on at the bottom here, so I want to make a selection and extract this subject. But here's a few ...
things to think about when you're extracting. I know that a lot of people think when you go to select an extractive subject, you need to get every you need to get the most perfect selection and extraction possible. And let me put that to rest. That is impossible. You can get really, really close. But when you have to kind of think ahead and think, How is it the old at the end of the end design? Gonna look is getting really critical about the edge of the Harris. If I get going to matter later in the design, when it gets hidden by a lot of other design elements anyway, so you might be seeing a lot of time on an extraction that is really not worth it or not. There is no point to it because it's not gonna matter anyway. I do want extract the subject because there's some effects of some edge effects I want to do around her arm and around the hair and such like that. But as I said that backgrounds blending a little bit too much or here is a cool trick that I discovered go in your layers panel, go down here to the adjustment layers and shoes levels. You want to make sure you do this as an adjustment layer, because if you do this levels adjustment right to the layer itself. You're going to show the image because we're gonna do a little bit of extreme adjustments, gonna brighten up the image a little bit and essentially boost the contrast. What that does is it helps define the edge of the character a little bit more. Now, even with that lair or adjustment layer still selected, I'm gonna go in here into my tool bar and grab the quick selection tool Zoom in here. I was gonna start painting on the subject. You'll notice that I'm still highlighted on the adjustment layer, but it still recognizes the edge of my subject here is gonna paint right in here Now if it overshoots, which it just did here. I'm just gonna hold down the option key and us back over that area and de selected and you'll see it. The text. The whole point of quick selection is that it has a great edge detection. All this levels adjustment layer is doing is assisting Photoshopped in detecting that edge, defining it a little bit more so with the hair when it comes to the hair is obviously a lot of hair movement and area right in here. So there's no way to get an exact selection. We're gonna use refine edge to clean that up. We want to get it roughly in the area with our marching ants election here. Interesting side Note the marching ants selection. You see, when you're making a selection, footage up is not how Photoshopped sees selections. That is how you is. The user sees a selection, but photo shop is a pixel based application. It makes pixel based selections, which is why when you go to the channels and if I just did a select saves election right now, that is how Photoshopped see selections and either sees white, black or grey pixels. Blacks are un selected grays are partially selected, and then white is 100% selected. So that is how it sees that. So that is why Refined Edge is gonna give us a much cleaner selected on the hair. Just a moment. So that was just a little little tangent. So I got an area right in here inside the arm, got included in here something again hold on optional. Just remove that area. There we go. Once again with the hair was getting the general area of the hair. We're gonna get a live it more precisely that in just second. So now that I've got the initial selection in place, I'm gonna go and throw away that adjustment layer and go back to the original image. So there's my selection. Now I'm gonna click, select and mask up here in the options bar. And now let's go in and zoom in and clean it up. So you want to go over here into the toolbar in the far right, get the refined edge brush tool. You need a very soft edge and paint right along the hair here, and you can see it's bringing back a lot of the hair strands and getting rid of a lot of the background along the edge there. And this is the beauty of refine edge. Now, when I select a tool just below it, and this will actually undo areas where it's a little bit sharper edge there, So it's kind of a dance between backing back and forth between the refine edge and the other tool. I lost. My transparency was okay. You see, it really easily gets those edges there and actually the edges. The rest of the it is around a subject look pretty good. But again, I'm not being too critical, because I know that ultimately a lot of these areas will get hidden. Mostly I'm making the selection, um, so that I can access or put some edge effects on the subject a little bit easier. So it's Zoom in here, let me see. Undo that little area, the finger there. You can see there's a lot of stuff going on with the hair here that's all gonna come back into play to those two second leaves kind of paint. So these areas back in think that'll be fine now the but bring it back as an active selection here, I'm going to copy this selection to a new layer. Now, some cases I would actually apply this is a layer mask, but in the in this case, because it's gonna be it's kind of part of a design element. I'm just gonna go and copy it to a note to It's only because I'm still going to use the original background layer So we have two layers now. Got one with the subject extracted and then the original background itself. We're gonna take both of these layers, not just the extracted layer, but we're gonna take both layers and bring them into the working design. Here, someone hunting Select both. Once again, hold down, shift and in drag it right over once. You going to do a scale thing, but hold down shift option scale holding down shift. This time I do need to keep proportional this time because it is a person you will notice if it's distorted in any way. But I'm also going to give it a little bit of a rotation here. Now, I got to start thinking about the end composition. What final position do I want this subject in as part of my Finnish design here, the way she was standing originally was a little too straight up. I don't have a little bit of a lean to it, and that's more of an artistic choice. You know, an art director may may not even notice something like happened. That's just something I make decision I make as a designer. So here we go. That position looks pretty good to me. Just kind of not just a little bit. I'm one of those. I get really nit picky about even positioning from a pixel standpoint. I will nudge it pixel by pixel to get it just in the right place. Most people that see it, the end product won't even know that or notice it. It's just one of those picky things is an artist. So now turn off those layers. Now I'm in the layers kind here, you notice have turned on the original layer. I'm gonna put a layer mask on that layer. And I was gonna go in here and get my great aunt tool in the toolbar. What I want to do is reveal some of the background around the subject. I don't one. I don't want to have it right up against the edge here. One of things that bugs me about a lot of designs I've seen is that they'll extract the subject, slap it on a background and it just looks like it's an image slapped on the background. You want to have that kind of blending in there almost, you know, a little bit of fading here and there. So on this layer mask, I'm gonna use the Grady int over here in at and select the foreground to transparent Grady in because I want to add multiple ingredients on here. Because if I just use a regular white to black radiant, If I go up here in the corner here, I do want to use my radio. Great yet So let's go up here into a fade in that corner. That looks fine. But if I want to do another one down here, it's gonna overwrite the previous one. It's going from black to white, but by setting the ingredients to foreground to transparent in this case, black being the foreground color, I can go in here and do that and to go in and add multiples around the subject there. And it gives me a little bit of that blend there. Notice. I'm not revealing all areas in some areas where it may reveal too much and around the subject, just press X bring light to the foreground. Does this and another Grady in? Then, that Grady it will reveal the layer so you can just go back between black and white, as you were revealing in hiding areas of the layer like that. Okay, now, before I start adding effects to my subject, I want to do one more thing to my main subject here. This is a trick I discovered a few years ago when a new feature was added. The voter shop called hdr toning. It was at the height of the craze of HDR photography. The point of it was to allow you to get this kind of hdr look on a single exposed photos we know HDR. They're made up of several images exposed, different, varying ah, exposures and then combined to create a high, A full dynamic range. It doesn't really do a great job of that, but what it does do, And this is something I've always talked about. What I'm teaching is that don't look at the tools for what they are called or what they're meant to be. Play with them and you can actually discover some really interesting things from a creative standpoint. So what I discovered is that HDR toning actually turned out a really interesting grunge kind of high contrast Look to an image that you could use is an overlay. So what? I'm gonna do here is because now I've got my character right position I wanted to be. I'm gonna go into the image menu and make a duplicate and going here in turn off the texture background. I'm actually gonna throw with a layer mask, essentially going back to the original photo. But the reason I'm not going back to the one I pulled from the original is it's not in the same position as I placed it in my new composition. I needed to be in that exact position because when I bring it back in as the HDR overlay, it needs toe line up perfectly. So that's why I wouldn't have duplicated this file. So with that, I'm gonna go over here to the layer menu and go to flatten image. The most forbidden feature in photos are Photoshopped and in any minute now the men in black are gonna come through that door. The non flat layer guys. So now it flattened it. The reason that the flatten it is that HDR toning will only run on a single layered flat image cannot be run on a layer document. So that is why I have to make a duplicate and do all these other things to do that. So now that I've got that to go to image adjustments, HDR toning now down here, one thing I discovered that HDR toning did a very bad way to photos. Is it destroyed the color. You could tweak it a little bit to get some interesting color effects, but what I ultimately discovered is that it just didn't look right. So I take the very first thing I do is go to the very bottom to the saturation slider and just said it to negative 100. Take the color out entirely. Then I move up to the tone in detail section and this. Take this detail, slander and really just punch it up almost to the point of exaggeration. And you can see just doing that. How much contrast it is pulled from that image. That's probably a bit much. Let's dial that back a little bit. Here we go now, depending on the image, dialing of that detail will take hot spots and really make him a lot brighter. So we're gonna compensate for that by just taking this exposure and backing an awful of it, and I'm also gonna take this gamma and just push it up just a little bit. Have no idea what gamma means or what it does. The only thing I know about Gamma is that it gives the whole kiss powers gamma radiation. But what I do know and this is again one of those things where you don't necessarily have to know what it does or why it's there. Just move the slider and realize what it does. And that's what I did here. So I noticed that moving the gamma over a little bit kind of flattened those highlights a little bit more. Give me a little bit flatter tone there, the network. Really well, Then I moved up here to the edge glow area, and I rarely ever move these sliders very much. But I will turn on smooth. That isn't just kind of play with them a little bit. This is so you can get. You could see to the extreme you can get really crazy with it, and it's good to do that. It's good to move the sliders around to see what they do, so you know where not to go as much as where to go, But I think I'm gonna keep it roughly the same area it was before. But I am in a dial that detailed amount back just a little bit more. There we go. So there we go. Have taken this process it through HDR toning is pulled out some contrasts and really harsh edges. That is really gonna add something to our final image over here. So let's take that again and bring it over to the original file once again, I'm gonna hold down shift and drag it over by adding shift as you drag and drop lines it up lands it centered in the document. So now you can see it's lined up with the layer below perfectly. And now I'm gonna change the blend mode of this. Now again, you're not sure you can, of course, use that little keyboard shortcut taco through the blend modes. But I know for sure that a soft light is gonna give me what I what I want here. But it's also doing it's also adding that effect to the overall image. You'll notice. It's also affecting the background as well. I don't want that isolated to just the subject. You'll notice right here in the layers panel. It's right above the extracted subject. So I'm gonna press option command Gene. That's gonna create a clipping group which will only make that layer each year HDR layer visible within the area of the layer below, which is that extracted subject. Now, even with this, the subject is still a little too dark. So we're gonna take the lay rapacity and dial it back to about 50%. See how much it really adds to the subject here. Now, the two actually three most common blend modes I use when I'm blending in each year are overlay like this is either soft light overlay or even multiply. Sometimes multiple. I can actually give you something. Um, that really works. Now the other. Actually, you know what? I'm gonna leave it all multiply for now. I think I like that. But here's another another cool aspect of this particular HDR toning trick. It is its own layer. It's an overlay, and it's affecting the overall contrast of the image. But if you add a color cast to it, it'll influence the temperature of the subject. So while I'm selected on that same HDR layer I'm gonna press commander control you and at a hue saturation was gonna go ahead and do cull, arise and you can see right away I want to add a warm I wanna have her contrast into the background would have the the background be a little bit cooler And I want the subject to be a little warmer because we're gonna put in her hand Really cool light effect a really cool light effect around there. And that's that Light effects gonna be like a red glow. So we're enhancing the warmness on the image. You can see the difference there that does. You see that warm being added on there? So that's a dual thing that this HDR toning layer is doing its boosting the contrast, giving us a lot more gritty or look to it. It's also influencing the temperature of the subject, not what that feature was designed for, but the results speak for themselves. So