Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I want to select a dancer from this image dancer image. I have tried increasing tolerance, refining edges and using the smart brush for difficult places, but nothing can get satisfactory results. My best result is

How I can improve quality the quality of the selection?

enter image description here

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Have you taken a look at this? - photo.stackexchange.com/questions/35592/… - Covers the same ground I think. Basically try Select Color Range and then create a mask and use a combination of increasing contrast on the mask (to get pure black and white rather than grey) and painting with black/white brush on the mask to correct areas that are left over. –  MikeW Mar 27 '13 at 23:15
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marked as duplicate by mattdm, Paul Cezanne, John Cavan, whuber, Michael Clark Apr 4 '13 at 0:55

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

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I wouldn't use Magic Wand. If you insist, then I'd suggest you adjust the tolerance level down so it doesn't grab more than you want. Mine has a tolerance defaulted to 32 - I would lower it to 6-8 to start. But I would recommend you use more accurate selection tool instead.

Here are the steps I would follow:

Duplicate your layer

Everything I do will be non-destructive, but it's handy to have a copy of your original for the later steps.

Make the best selection possible

First step is to make a decent selection. I would try Select > Color Range. Lasso or Magic Wand are going to do ok on the legs and body, but will be terrible on things like hair.

I've used a low value for "fuzziness" and "range" in order to not let Photoshop select more than I want. I chose "Sampled Colors" although you could try Highlights if the background is light enough. Select the "additive" dropper and click away on all the background until it is all highlighted. Adjust the fuzziness and range to get as much background without selecting too much of your subject.

Next I would use refine edge to get the edges and hair as good as possible.

You'll end up with something like this. Close but not near perfect.

enter image description here

Save as a mask

Now click OK. This will load the selection. On your duplicate layer, click on the create mask icon. The mask will have your subject mostly black and background white. Probably the opposite of what you want, so invert the mask (Ctrl/Cmd-I or Image > Invert).

enter image description here

Edit the mask

You should have some pure white (subject) and pure black (background). You will have two problems though. You'll have some grey parts that are neither black nor white. And you will have parts of your subject, like the shoes, that are similar to the background and are black.

To address the grey areas, just choose the mask itself, then use Image > Adjustments > Levels and push the sliders towards each other to increase constrast. That will make some of the light grey turn white.

Now take a white brush and fill in any remaining grey areas in your subject, and correct anything like the shoes that is masked out. Use a black brush to fix any background areas.

By using the mask, you will work non-destructively and can correct things.

You should end up with a mask something like this:

enter image description here

One tip is to insert a blank layer that is close the the background you want to use in your final composite. For example I chose red. That way you can pick up things that might stick out in the final.

The below took 5 minutes. I didn't use refine edge, so the hair is rough, but the rest is a pretty good extraction I think

enter image description here

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You are not going to be able to get all of the background at once due to the color gradient. The way that I usually deal with this is to duplicate the layer and then delete the background layer. This will put a copy of the image over a transparent background. You can then erase the background with the erase tool.

You can also do some bulk removal of some color areas using a lower tolerance magic selection. It can also be helpful to put a brightly colored layer underneath to help you see any missed background (I typically use a bright red layer if there isn't any red in the image.)

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