Replace distractions in background with uniform color

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by vale_surfer, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    How best can I replace the background in the attached pic of a machine with a uniform color like blue or grey?
    The client wants a light grey background. I tried the clone tool in CS5, and tried to use the quick selection tool to extract the machine but with limited success.
    Any suggestions on the best technique in Photoshop CS5?
  2. Probably a combination of methods. Use the pen tool for most of the machine since it excels at hard, geometric edges without the user knowing much about how the pen tool works. The other, curved features (hoses and feet) can be quick masked or layer masked using a hard edged brush at the pixel level.
    Or, you could just reshoot without a cluttered background.
  3. a different 'path' to thinking about problems like this is to duplicate the image and using curves or similar tools on a channel, enhance the contrast enough to let quick quick selection tool (and then brush do it's thing. I.e. let the tool do more of the work by improving it's starting point
  4. I have used the pen tool for images like this, it is tedious. After some practice, you can get it close on the first pass. How long you hold the mouse button down when you drag will determine how long the Bezier handles are (how soft the curve is). Use 100% or 200% view. Expect to spend a few hours on this, it is complex with many holes. Someone who does this often could do it much faster.
  5. The best way to get a uniform grey background is to go back and take another picture with a grey or off-white backdrop in place.
  6. Thanks. I tried the pen tool and the eraser tool but its too tedious for the number of pictures that I need to work on.
    I'm trying to blur the background now - any clues on how best to achieve this effect?
    Thanks in advance.
  7. In order to blur the background you'll need to mask the machine, in which case you might as well swap out the background like you planned in the first place. If this is a money-making project and you don't have the patience or skill to do the work, maybe outsource it to one of those off-shore retouch operations for $5 a pop.
    Google Photoshop Masking Offshore. Here's a nice one in Bangladesh.
  8. Thanks, Howard. I was able to get acceptable results by using the brush tool to blur the background. Took me a few minutes per picture :)
  9. Glad it worked out.
  10. The client came back saying there's shadow in the functional cavity of the machine.
    Attaching a pic showing background diffused with shadow areas in cavity.
    Is adjustment brush in Camera Raw a good way of brightening up these shadow areas?
    How do I remove the light shadows on the metal?
    Another pic attached for which the client wanted a slightly open angle, not sure if this can be rotated.
    Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
  11. Side view of machine which client wants to be rotated
  12. It requires expert level handiwork in photoshop to retouch what you need done. It's not a quick fix.
    An intuos tablet is an absolute must for this kind of work. Using masks, selective curves and cloning. Something like Fluid Mask could help with the masking part. The reflective plexiglas panels is a big problem.
    Also, rotating the machine is not possible in photoshop. As you would rotate it you would see things that are currently hidden in the image.
    I recommend shooting new pictures. Set the machine on something white and have a white background. Then someone could retouch the image to take out any imperfections in the white background.
    If the client don't want shadows that are distracting it is much easier to shoot that way with strobes and big light modifiers. With big I mean BIG, not 40" umbrellas. Also to get the suitable reflections in the plexiglas panels is easier to do while shooting.
    In general it's a lot easier to fix thing while shooting than it is to fix them after the fact. Especially if you shoot many similar items or from a lot of different angles.
  13. Why not use masking? On this image it would be pretty easy. Might I suggest Topaz ReMask 4 or Vertus Fluid Mask 3 (my usual preference). You can use the Polygonal lasso tool for the tricky areas (use it like you were stitching) or the magnetic lasso tool (careful - this takes practice). Here is my tutorial where I mask single hairs. Then you can open the shadows on the selected area and change the background to any color.

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