Thursday, July 17, 2008

Picture processing

Smariek Knits asked how I get the white backgrounds on my images and as with many things in blog-land I've been slow to respond, but here goes.

I use Photoshop to process my images on my Mac. I'm ex-Adobe, so that's what I have and I know, but if you use another program, perhaps you can adapt some of the steps and processes. This isn't a tutorial on Photoshop; I'm not that good. But there are great tutorials online. Searching on Google for images and definitions for the tools, I found Photoshop Lab and

When possible try to take the digital picture against a background with sharp contrast and/or with as few similar colors as my project.

Use different tools to select either the project or the stuff around the project, then delete the background. The idea is to grab as much of the background creating an outline, without selecting too much of the content from the project. With Contiguous checked, experiment with Tolerance, choose the Magic Wand tool to select batches of color in the background. To add to the selection, hold the shift key down, click on a different section. If too much of the project is selected, reduce the Tolerance number. Once there's a pretty good outline of the project, use the Marquee to select big sections of the background that the Magic Wand.

To select the project instead of the background under the Select Menu choose Inverse.

The arrow below points to where some of the hat has been grabbed along with the background, so the Lasso tool can be used to add the little bit back into the project. Don't forget to hold down the shift key. If at any time, you do forget to hold down the shift key, you can Undo.*

Next Copy the project and paste. A new layer will be created. In the Layers window make the background layer invisible.

Using the Zooming in and using the Eraser tool , clean up any extra backgroud pixels or edges that you don't like. Crop the image to remove extra white space. Depending on the original size of the image, you also may want to reduce the image size.

My last step is to add a drop shadow under Layer Style in the Layer menu, and this is the result.

This is Evelyn Clark's Crusher Hat, crocheted from Puppy Leafy yarn on a size H hook. I needed an instant gratification project. Now what to do with the remaining 6 skeins...

*Alternatley, the Lasso tool can be used to outline the project. In my Googling, I also found another, probably more precise method of removing the background at GraphicSoft.