Extracting vs. Fussy Cutting

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Extracting vs. Fussy Cutting

Not sure which I hate more. I guess extracting is the digital equivalent of fussy cutting. Wish there was an easier way sometimes! that Magic Wand isn't as "magic" as I would like it smiley

I use the pen tool in Adobe PSCS5. I started out using Elements7 then upgraded to PSCS for this exact reason, because you're correct, the magic wand is not so good.

I don't use the magic wand except when I have a solid colour .... it's a pain .... since the older elements didn't have masks I developed my own way of extraction, still use it and it's so much cleaner and quicker than anything else I've tried.

Open your photo or image, create a duplicate layer, click off the visibility of the lower layer. (This is for any oops you may do) Create a new transparent layer above your image and lower the opacity to about 80% and paint on it over what you want to keep. If you have a tablet it's easier at the edges .... bring up your view to 200% or more to get those edges and paint right up to the halo ... don't paint the halo .... when you are finished bring the opacity back up to 100% ... you have just made a mask of what you want. Bring your photo/image to the top, make it the active layer and click in the thumbnail of the mask. Go up to Select and inverse then hit the backspace ... you are now left with what you want to use and no stray pixels to worry about. You may want to check once you have selected your mask to see if you have any holes before cutting your image. Not selecting that halo on the edges gives you a nice smooth edge as well. Hope this is clear lol

wow...that's cool I'm going to try that.

EXCELLENT tip Susan!

I used to hate extractions when I started. Now I love it. I almost never have quality problems with my extractions. I never use the magic wand. For circular stuff, like coins or buttons, I just use the circle selection. For other simple things, and to working on layouts with extractions (as I don´t need to QC them perfectly later) I use the polygonal lasso with my mouse. For everything else, I use lasso with my Wacom tablet, with it being very zoomed (like 400% or so) in a way I can see the edges clearer. I tried to extract with the pen tool, but couldn´t get used...

I, like Lórien said tried the magic wand without much luck. I always ended up having to go back in and fill in missing holes and smooth edges (found that to be very frustrating). I also use the lasso tool zoomed in as far as I need to go to make sure to see edges perfectly...typically at 400%. I've found, that zooming in that far helps to make sure that each click is closer together, resulting in a smoother edge. Once I'm done, I zoom back to 100% and put both black and white backgrounds behind the item...to make sure that everything looks right.

That said, I may need to try your technique Susan. A good chunk of my kits tend to be extracted items, and switching things up from time to time may be nice. smiley

I think Susan has converted me to her technique...isn't it the same as using a quick mask though? I used her method on some things and it worked GREAT!

Yes, it is like a quick mask and when I was working in photoshop itself that is what I used ... the old elements didn't use masks so I had to develop a technique for myself ... I developed some hand issues about 20 years ago with my graves disease which have only gotten worse .... the mouse can jump when my hand does and I have a small tremor as well so using the lasso tools don't work well for me ... imagine that thing going to the other side of your photo when you least expect it to etc etc .... elements also has it's magic extractor which basically does the same thing except you have to do both the positive and negative before you can extract it .... I can usually have an extraction done in a couple of minutes unless it's a fussy one and I have a choice of colours to use for the mask which will depend on what colour the image is etc..

Great tips everyone! I tend to do almost the same thing as Susan but instead of using it like a mask I select it then invert and cut out the unwanted stuff. I try very hard not to use elements in my kits that I have to extract because I prefer to do everything totally digitally but since it's so popular I do add an item here or there. Thanks for bringing up another great discussion Karry.

I sort of use every method available... Depending on the sort of extraction. Color range is a nice trick too, which can help when the magic wand doesn't select what you want it to. Generally I start out with a crude selection, using color range, magic wand or the quick selection tool (in PSCS6). I turn my selection into a layer mask, zoom in and paint on my mask to perfect the selection.

With simple shapes, I do what Lorien does: use the elliptical or square selection tool, sometimes transform the selection with select > transform selection until it fits and delete the part I don't need. Well, I never delete actually, I always use a layer mask first, even with simple shapes, just in case I delete something I wasn't supposed too - with a layer mask you can always fix that.

Tracy ... that is exactly what I am doing with the mask .... painting the mask is much easier for me than trying to select everything. I create the mask and then select it by clicking on the thumbnail and invert and backspace to cut out the background etc.

Melo ... I think that why I like creating the mask with the paint brush .... I can always go back and change it ... either erase or paint. It allows me to get right into the little bits and remove what I don't want right to the pixel.

Susan I am going to try your way next time I have to extract. It sounds easier and I do need all the mistake protection I can get!!!

Susan, I have just hopped over here from your answer to my own question about converting a white background into a transparent one. Your technique sounds interesting, so I will have to try it out. Thanks!

I just came across this link in the older forums .... scroll down to the bottom area and find 'the third way' ...