magstefan's blog

Isolate an object - easy and effective

posted by magstefan, May 22, 2006 9:45 PM — 26 comments

How to isolate an object in an easy and effective way.

1. Open the image:

File – Open or Ctrl-O or drag and drop

2. Turn it, if necessary into the position that is needed.

To turn the image it is important to unlock the ground layer:

Double Click on the Lock Icon in the Layers Menu.
Press: “Okay”

To keep the image whole we need to expand our workingspace:

Do this with:

Image – Canvas Size

Enter the final size you like and press okay.

Now turn your picture:

Edit – Transform – Rotate or Ctrl - T.

To provide a better view press: Ctrl – 0

Now move your mouse to the image corner and move it until it is fine.

3. Okay, now or image is ready to be isolated:

First create a new layer:

Press the “New Layer” button in the Layers Menu:

A new layer appears.

Now zoom into your image about 400%

Use the option: Window – Navigaor:

Then choose the „Brush“ tool (b) and
set your brush:

4 Pixel, Hardness ~ 50 %

(The Pixelstrength depends on your image size!)

Then make sure that the new layer is selected and draw an outline with your brush.

Be sure, that there is no “hole” in the line.
It shall be a continuous line all around your object:

If you ever make a mistake in your outline, just take the select tool,
Select the part you don’t want and press “Del”. Then you can continue.
Otherwise you can use the “Rubber” Tool (e)

In this image here, the line is too strong, but it is better to see like this.

Then select the “Magical Wand” tool: (w)

Make sure that the option “use all layers” is unselected.

Select the outer-part of your image, the part you want to be invisible.

Now that part is selected.

But we want also our line to be invisible, so we have to expand our selection:

Select – Modify – Expand:

Enter the value of your Pixelstrength (4).

Now the line is also selected.

Okay, now we can set the boarder- hardness:

Select – Feather (Ctrl – Alt – d):

Enter what you like:
The smaller the number, the harder the edge,-
the bigger the number, the softer the edge.

Now hide the Line Layer.

Create a new solid fill layer:

Layer – New Fill Layer – Solid Color

You see the result!
Select the color you prefer.

If you are ready, merge down all layers and “yes!” you are ready.

Layer- Merge down visible

P.S. You can delete the “outline” layer, in case you don’t need it.




Thank you.

For the Experts: If you are very serious about your “outline”-
That it should be really exact, draw the outline perfect-
Select the outer part and expand your selection just about 1 pixel.
But for this it is important, to choose the brushcolor in the color
you want to have your background! Because we are going to keep
the outline as mask too.
Then follow as described with the Solid-Color-Layer. And merge
all Layers down. Well, you’ve done it- Congratulation.

Comments | RSS

1. posted by SailorJohn, Jul 5, 2006 5:30 PM

Really appreciate the info!

2. posted by geowillis, Aug 31, 2006 1:59 PM

really useful. I tried and suceeded.

3. posted by tdenham, May 24, 2006 4:12 PM

Very useful and easy to understand. My method was much more difficult and time consuming. I think this will help my workflow a lot!

4. posted by pallzoltan, Jul 12, 2006 11:06 AM

nice idea, i've been using it even before...

5. posted by Kiet9, Nov 24, 2009 7:42 PM

Simple & clear tutorial, 10/10.

6. posted by clix, Jun 13, 2006 12:46 AM

very nice, great tutorial!

7. posted by rrss, Jun 27, 2006 10:55 PM

Great idea, never thought about that before.

Thanks Very Much. :):):)

8. posted by duchesssa, Jun 23, 2006 11:27 AM

very easy, thanks!

9. posted by stanjk, Jul 20, 2006 5:37 AM

Beautiful idea buddy. I used to crop the image piece by piece. This is a more effective and sharper method. Thanks for sharing.

10. posted by gadd, Jul 21, 2006 2:54 PM

I use extract option...

11. posted by am-y, Jul 24, 2006 11:03 PM

Fantastic! I just tried it and it worked!

12. posted by mailsparky, Aug 6, 2006 9:32 AM

Simple & clear tutorial, 10/10.

13. posted by arion2005, Aug 8, 2006 5:02 AM

very very good, and easy method

14. posted by tistria, Sep 10, 2006 6:15 AM

this is very simmilar to the "extract" filter

15. posted by tanyaloca, Sep 21, 2006 2:31 AM

thanks for this! now things are much much easier! :D

16. posted by dreambent, Oct 21, 2006 2:01 PM

I kind of didn't get all that into it like everyone else, maybe I missed something, or maybe it just seems too tedeous.


17. posted by LBGChris, Oct 26, 2006 1:15 AM

Use the pen tool and save yourself about 4 steps...

18. posted by ata, Mar 13, 2007 10:54 PM

Thanks, I always have some problems with isolating objects. Now I can use your method and it is working! I spare my time!

19. posted by princezz89, Mar 29, 2007 3:14 AM

it really works!..thanks a lot! =D

20. posted by levi_sz, Aug 2, 2007 2:44 PM

Follow me, I know a shortcut.
1. Take the Pen tool
2. Create the Path around your Pineapple
3. Create selection with any Feather you like, even 0,1 px - use this option to change selection according to object contour
4. Isolate your object by creating a New layer from the selection. Create a new layer under this with a neutral color fill to control the object feather (important!)
And that's it. The control layer (the one created between the background and the pinapple layer)can be filled with what color you like, the path is embedded for later use and the background is there for any element you might need later (shadow, par exemple)
5. The End.
Just imagine what effort it might take to cut out an egg. A MAXIMUM of FOUR pen CLICKS?!?
The Experts have spoken.

21. posted by Jinggo78, Mar 20, 2008 10:29 PM

I tried to follow this and I did not get the desired result. it is so tedious to follow the outlines of my image with the brush tool. The lines are not exact and I found that I had to change brush width half way because the contours were so fine. Then during the expand step I realized that part of me image would get cut off due to having started with a larger brush size thus meaning I would have to start all over which was too much work.

Oh and to #19 levi_sz those steps made even less sense. What's so expert about doing things the hard way. Fro the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get the pen tool to work right. It made even less exact outline.

22. posted by talextech, Aug 15, 2008 10:29 AM

Like levi_sz posted, Pen tool should be the 1st option unless you have very complex items like hair/fur etc.

23. posted by Sopeluk, Oct 23, 2008 3:14 PM

personally i suggest using Vertus Fluid Mask- it's not sooo expensive, you can download a 15-day trial. But i admire the way you did this tutorial :)

24. posted by margarismo, Nov 14, 2008 2:44 PM

For perfect outline always use Pen tool!!!!

25. posted by rakacc, May 14, 2010 9:34 AM


26. posted by escan, Aug 20, 2010 2:53 PM

Like it. Really Good

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