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What do you use for extraction?

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by StephanieHelen, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    Hi all, somewhere I read that there are software products for extraction, but can't remember the names. Do you use special software or photoshop and if photoshop, what is your preferred method of extracting the subject or removing the background?

  2. I don't use any special software. For very easy tasks (very straight edges) I use the lasso tool, for less easy tasks (less straight edges) I use the pen tool and then turn the path into a selection; for hardcore extraction (hairs etc. with good contrast) I use the color channel method. For extremely difficult cases (lack of contrast between fore and back ground) I paint the mask manually.

    I hardly ever use the extract command in PS, but among the latest plug-ins, Fluid mask is said to do a very good job.

  3. Xtract
    Image>filter>extract. Read online help.
    Ees gute!:wink:
  4. cknight


    May 2, 2005
    Madison, AL
    I'll second the extract filter.

    I've found it to do a much better job than the lasso/select tools with things like hair and feathers.
  5. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    Thanks everyone!
  6. I can only echo what Harry and Gale have said.

    I use Fluid Mask for most of my extractions. It does a better job than anything else for complex masks. If you don't need this kind of detail, though, I'd use the smart selection tool in PS3.

    Here's an example of one I did yesterday with Fluid Mask 3 beta.

    The original: "Bug-Eyed but Beautiful"
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and the extracted version.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    aka beaucamera
  7. Robert


    Jul 24, 2005
    Wonderful Virginia!! Your selection is fab and your image is very excellent!
    I have tried Fluid Mask and like it, but have never completed a selection with it...still more to learn and I need to practise with it. Any tips?
  8. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    Wow! Thanks Virginia, I will give it a try.
  9. Thank you, Robert.

    First and foremost, start with the best image you can.
    If an image isn't sharp initially, masking it by whatever means is a waste of time.

    With Fluid mask you paint red (delete), green (keep) and blue(blend) masks on an image. The program will show you the edges but you'll have to decide how you want them to be done. You need to get a feel for how these tools interact. Small changes can produce vastly different results. You need to experiment and see for yourself.

    The trial version won't let you save and apply an image. That means you won't be able to do further processing. I found that frustrating and ended up buying FM2 more than a year ago. FM3 is a much better product and it's easier to use.

    If you save your workspace, be sure you create a cutout before you save and apply. I've lost my work when I omitted this step.

    FM doesn't work on 16-bit images. It bombs my computer when I forget to convert my TiFFs to 8-bit images.

    Be patient. It takes time to make a good selection and get a good mask.
    Best of luck!

    aka beaucamera
  10. Thanks, Stephanie.
    Masking is fun...once you learn how to do it.

    aka beaucamera
  11. Robert


    Jul 24, 2005

    Thanks for the tips. I will wait until my new computer is solid and up and running then I'll pick up FM3. I've been spending too much time lately with selections. I'm pleased with the reults I achieve, but they take so much time.:smile:
  12. Well done Virginia. I love the outcome. Very cool.
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