Adobe Photoshop Tutorial. Copyright Michael B. Karbo.

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    16. A new extraction

    It can be rather cumbersome to free scrape figures with very vague contours like hair, fur, feathers and things like that. There the Extract function is often the right tool.

    An ostrich

    We have a picture of an ostrich, which is characterized by an uneven contour. Such a picture is almost impossible to free scrape with the traditional selection tools.

    1.   Get the picture struds.jpg. (struds is Danish for ostrich). Open It in Photoshop.

    2.   Choose the Extract function (in the Filter menu, as described in the previous exercise). Make a strong zoom on the tousled creature:

    3.   See the settings in the right side of the window. Now you need to turn Smart Highlighting off. There must not be mark in this field:

    4.   Set the Smooth value to 50:

    5.   In this motif it is important to cover the edge completely with the green selection. At the same time the selection needs to be as narrow as possible. Unfortunately, those are contradictionary demands, but such are the conditions. You need to start with a rather large brush 40 pixels:

    6.   Now make a selection all the way around the ostrich head.

    7.   After this introductory selection work, you need to check the edge all the way around. You need to delete the superfluous selection by holding the Alt key down and use the same tool. But first you have to reduce the brush size to 10 pixels.

    8.   The objective is to have the green border to cover the whole hairy contour. Remember to use the hand tool to navigate in the picture. As said the selection has to be as narrow as possible:

    9.   Then double click on the hand icon. Choose the Fill tool, and click inside the green contour, so the ostrich is covered with a blue protective shield.

    10. Now click on Preview (number three button the upper right). The extract function now gives its offer for the task:

    11. That was actually not too bad, except for a couple of obvious errors. But they are easy to correct.

    12. Now check the edge carefully with the Cleanup Tool (as described in the previous exercise). Remember to set the tool’s sensitivity to low values (from the numeric keyboard); start med values from 2 to 5. Around the beak you can increase the value somewhat.

    13. If you on your way need to check what the original picture looks like, you choose Original in the Show scroll field:

    14. Shift back to Extracted when you are ready to continue. Try all the Preview possibilities. You can choose White Matte for background (Display); many would prefer that.

    15. Now work all the way around with the cleanup brush. To get a good result, you need to change brush size and sensitivity often. Try to work with ”uneven” moves to avoid regular patterns and sharp demarcations.

    16. Finish by clicking OK. Save the picture as struds_free.psd.

    You have now worked with a quite difficult raw material. But with lots of patience it should be possible to achieve a really fine result!

    A task for you

    Now you are going to make an extraction all by yourself. The finished picture will be used in an exercise later in the booklet, so be sure to do this exercise!

    1.   Get the image file pongo.jpg from the home page for this booklet, and open the picture in Photoshop.

    2.   Use the Extract tool to free scrape the dog Pongo.

    3.   Save the picture again. Use Photoshop’s file format, and name the file pongo.psd.

    Figure 29. A picture of the dog Pongo, which is quickly free scraped with the Extract tool.

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