Monday, July 7, 2008

7-7 "Chop" Tutorial

This Tutorial was written by a wonderful gal over at the "Let's Edit Some Pictures" Cafe Mom group. Hew name is Rachel... she is an amazing photo editor!! HERE is a link to her blog. Go check out some of her edits. And leave her some love while you are there :) How very kind of her to write up this tutorial for us!! Enjoy.... Ginger

I decided that this would probably be the most useful for the most amount of people. When you cut something out of one picture to put it in another it is called a chop. Most of you know how to do this but this may help some of you to do it better!
I use adobe photoshop 7
I'm going to start out with this pic. My hubby and I were married in December. The sky was gray and the grass was brown. I think I'd like to have my wedding picture somewhere much more a beach!

There are many ways to extract what you want I use the pen tool.
Make sure your options are set to the same as mine
Pen tool - Paths - Pen tool (highlighted in red)

Then zoom in and make your path  around the outside of what you are cutting out by just clicking the mouse where you want the next point.
* Note: Hair is so very tricky. Mostly I try to avoid cutting out hair. its a difficult process and very time consuming to get it to look good. If there is a demand perhaps later I will do a tutorial on JUST masking (cutting out) hair.

pear and you will just have a line around your people. Right Click on the people you are cutting out and choose Make Selection. Will will now have the dashed lines showing that you have a selection. Copy and Paste onto your new background.

Resize the image by going to Edit - Free Transform Hold down Shift and pull at the corner to resize while maintaining proportions.
*Note: Don't go too big. You can go smaller, but when you go larger it becomes very pixel. Also the more you resize the more resolution you lose so if you resize and don't like it rather than resizing again, undo and THEN resize.
Yay We're on the beach! This is where I see most people stop. We did a good cut and now we look happily on the beach.......or do we. No we look flat or copy and pasted is what I often call it....cause well we were. Lets really make us look on the beach.
First thing we'll change is our color. We seem a little dull for that bright light coming down.

I used  Image - Adjustments -Levels to match my colors better. Using the white dropper I selected the brightest part of the dress. Then using the black dropper I selected the darkest part of the suit. This got rid of the bluish tints. Then I took the middle slider and slid it a touch to the left to lighten up the whole thing just a bit.
There wasn't a whole lot of adjusting the needed to be done here, but use your different adjustment options to get it perfect. I often use Hue/Saturation & Brightness/Contrast to get it just right as well.
Well that's looking a bit better. But look at that palm tree. It's got a hard shadow directly below it. So that's where we need our shadow.

Make a New Layer BELOW  the people Then take a large soft brush on black and color just above  where you want your shadow to be. this will give it the soft shadowy look we're going for. Remember on this pic the sun is directly above us so there won't be much shadow. Just enough to ground us so it really looks like we're walking on the beach.
Just a bit more!
Now we're looking good just a few more things to finish it up.
After lightening us up the front of my dress looks a bit washed out. Especially since the light is suppose to be coming from up above and not in front.

Using the lasso tool I selected the front of the dress. When doing this you want to select just a bit more than what you actually want darkened. Then copy and paste. I now have that piece of dress on a new layer.

Go into Image - Adjustments - Brightness/contrast Making just minor adjustments to darken that part of the dress. Don't worry that some parts are a little obvious. We'll blend them next.
Layer Masks

Okay lets talk layer masks. The best way to explain a mask is to think of a real mask itself. Lets say you have a white mask with black eye holes. The white part of your mask covers your face, but the black eyeholes allow what's beneath to be seen which in this case would be your eyes.
A layer mask works the same way. White means your layer will cover the layer beneath, black means the layer under will show through.

**If anyone has PSE6, there is no layer mask action in PSE6. But there is a way to fake a layer mask. I found a GREAT tutorial on how to do this- It is actually very easy,
Here is the LINK**

To blend the darker dress piece we are going to use the layer mask. have the dress layer selected and at the bottom of your layers pallet you'll see where I have it outlined in red, that is your layer mask. Click on that and a white layer will appear beside your dress layer. (ignore the layers I have blacked out).
Make sure you are on the mask. (the symbol by the eye on your layer will be the mask) Using the paint brush on a really soft brush on black because essentially we are erasing parts of the dress layer and want the layer beneath to show through. Paint around the edges so that it  blends well.
*Note: Why use a mask instead of an eraser?
Well first of all if your program does not have masking you can indeed achieve a similar result using the eraser on a soft setting.
I use masks because if later I decided I had "erased" more than I wanted I can paint white and it will come right back!
Got it? More masking to finish this off.
The veil should be see through right? okay well make a mask on this layer just like we did on the dress layer.

On your mask using a big soft black brush go around the outside of the veil. For the inside change your color to a gray (this will be semi see-through).
To get rid of the sharp edges around the outside of the people use that black brush and gently "erase" the outside edge. If you do it too much remember you can always use white to bring it back.
*If you just have an eraser you can still do the half see-through look by putting the eraser on 50% or less.
When you're all done with your mask it may look something like this:
(hold down Alt and click on your mask to see what it looks like then click on your layer to go back to normal view.)

You won't always need to mask every edge, depends on how well it blends with your background to begin with.
Now this is our final result! Much better! Not perfect, but much more believable.

Remember there are always fun variations you can do. Play around! Have Fun!
*If you change the light source you need to change the shadow.
Moonlit stroll


I hope this was helpful. Remember there are tons of different ways to do anything. This is just one.
Post on the chop challenge what you've made using my tutorial as a guide. I'd love to see your creativity. Please let me know if this helped. These take a lot of time and if they are helpful I'll keep doing them but if everyone already knows this stuff I won't waste my time. Thanks All, Rachel


Julie (It is.) said...

What a fun tutorial! I hate the copy and paste look, so it's nice to have some pointers for things to adjust. Thanks Ginger and Rachel!

Tara said...

YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been dying to learn this trick!!!!! You made it very easy to do also!

Thank you so much!

Miss Chris said...

thanks, that made perfect sense and will help me immensely when i do this sort of thing!

Little Yancey Family said...

Yay! I'm glad you ladies like it.
Thanks for posting it Ginger!


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