Paris

by Jon

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I know my way around Photoshop, so simply enough, I would like to know how can I make things easier on myself when taking the picture of an item that's gonna have the background deleted. What should I place behind the item, what color, material, what type of lighting, and from where?

Thanks, cheers!

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2  
Read on Chroma Keying aka Green Screen. Hundreds of articles, tools and tips have been written on the subject since this is very common. –  Itai Jan 16 '13 at 18:10
    
@Itai Thanks, I'll make sure to read that! –  guisasso Jan 16 '13 at 18:51
    
Also look up "white seamless" which uses a white instead of green screen. Same basic idea. –  Pat Farrell Jan 16 '13 at 18:57

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Three helpful hints:

  • Use a background color that doesn't occur in the subject. It could be green, blue, orange, white, whatever. If it doesn't occur in the subject, then you can just say "make all pixels that are close to the background color transparent." If that's difficult for whatever reason, try at least to use a color that doesn't occur near the edges of the subject.

  • Try to avoid letting the background color reflect onto parts of the subject that the camera can see. Keeping the subject some distance from the background helps a lot.

  • Don't let the subject cast a shadow on the background -- shadows just make it harder to select the background for deletion. Again, moving the subject away from the background helps, as does lighting the subject and the background separately.

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In addition to what @Caleb has said, it is best that the background color and brightness that you use is similar to what you will eventually use in the final image. This is especially important if the object doesn't have sharp, straight edges, where masking may be difficult or time-consuming to perfect.

This is because when you extract your image off the original background, you will inevitably retain some of the background. Even a few pixels of a bright, white background will be very obvious if your product is then placed on a dark background (or if your final image has a transparent background and is rendered on a website with a dark background).

Generally it's easiest if you have a bright, white blown-out background. Very easy to select. But very troublesome if you eventually want to display on anything but white.

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This is specially important when you have reflective surfaces on the object. If the background has a strong color and the object in question would reflect the color, this will show up in the final result. And the object will stand out with some very weird reflections in the wrong color around the edges. You can then crop whatever you want around the object, but the object itself will have that strange color. –  uncovery Jan 17 '13 at 5:40

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