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Photoshop CS4-Background Eraser Tool

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transcript of video presentation - creating selections with the Background Eraser Tool

Background Eraser Tool


Okay, folks, in this lesson I am going to show you how to create a very complex selection outline, using the Background Eraser tool. What we want to do is move this tree, this tree in the foreground here, into this image right here, MOON.JPG. And you can download both of these files from the website and follow along with me if you like. But as I was saying, normally this, creating a selection outline with something as complex as this tree, would present a very difficult problem for the normal selection tools, but the Background Eraser tool is going to do just a magnificent job for our purposes, so let’s get started with the lesson. Now the first thing I want to do is create a copy of this background layer and to do that, I am going to jump it to another layer, create a copy in the process, just by hitting CTRL +J, and that’s going to jump the entire background layer to another layer, its own layer. And now what I want to do is hold down the CTRL key, and hit this new layer button. That is going to create a new layer under the layer that I had selected.

And now I want to fill this layer with sort of a bright color, something with a lot of contrast, we can use to easily identify what pixels we are erasing. Something like this magenta right here. So select that magenta as your foreground color, and then with that layer selected, hit ALT +BACKSPACE. And that’s going to fill that entire layer with that magenta color. And now we are ready to get started.

Now the first thing I want to do is get rid of as much of this image as I can, before I start using the Background Eraser tool. And to do that, I am going to use my favorite selection tool, the Pen tool. Okay, so let me click on that.

And then I want to make sure I am drawing paths with it, which is this one right here. Okay… And then I am going to go ahead and start clicking and dragging, okay. If you had the Pen lesson earlier, if you followed along with that, then this should be easy for you. I’m going to just lay down some points here. Creating Vinyl Banners

Click, click and drag, click and drag, click and drag, click, click… And I am holding down the SPACEBAR, on the fly, that gives me the pan tool so I can pan around the image…

Folks learn to use the Pen tool; it’s wonderful. And if you are going to learn Adobe Illustrator, you will be one step ahead of the game. Alright, I am going to hit CTRL + 0 to zoom out, and then I am going to right-click and say Make Selection out of this path. And I am going to anti-alias it just because that’s a habit of mine, it doesn’t really matter here.

And then say okay. And now that’s not the selection I want. I want to invert that selection because I am going to delete the selection. Okay? All of the pixels inside of the selection. So hit CTRL + SHIFT + I, for invert, that’s going to invert your selection. And then select Layer 1 here, and then just hit the DELETE key and you will delete that part of the image that we don’t want to have anything to do with anymore. Okay, now we start working with the Background Eraser tool.

Let me deselect what we have got going here so hit CTRL + D, that will deselect that selection. And then I zoomed in by hitting CTRL and SPACEBAR simultaneously, giving myself the Zoom tool, and I zoomed in to a part of the image right here.

Alright, let’s get started. Let me get the Background Eraser tool, which is somewhere around here. There we go, Background Eraser tool. Now, when you are using this tool, folks, let me explain what is going on. Now you see the little crosshair there inside of my brush. When I click, Photoshop is going to sample that tone or that color right there and it’s going to erase all the pixels within the radius of my brush that match that color, within a tolerance of, in this case 20, okay, 20%, I don’t exactly know what that means, but now watch what happens when I click. Okay now you can see it erased some of those pixels
It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition here, you can see some of those pixels look a little bit dirty. And that’s because it partially erased them, but that’s okay. That will work fine for us, and I will show you why later. Let me adjust the tolerance here, and watch what happens.

Let me back up a step. Watch what happens if I set the tolerance too high. It’s going to start to include some pixels that I definitely do not want to include. See how it started to select some of that tree? Well, we don’t want that. So you can adjust your tolerance until you are getting a good result here. Let me hit CTRL + Z again. And I think 20 is a pretty good number. Yeah, that’s good. It’s not selecting any of the brown here in the branches, but it’s selecting most of these pixels, enough where it’s going to give me a good selection outline when we go to move this into another image.

And now what I do is go around putting my crosshairs on the background color, that blue, which is the sky, and then go clicking around the image. You can see what I am doing is erasing the sky and seeing through down to this magenta layer. Okay? Now you can see as I do this, it’s partially selecting some pixels. You can see these dirty pixels here, those are partially selected pixels but they should not present a problem when we go to move this. And that’s because when we create the actual outline, for what’s going to move into the other image, if those are below 50% selected, they won’t go with us. So let me show you what I am talking about here…

I have got about 2 or 3 more minutes of work here so I am going to go ahead and pause it and after I finish, I will start the recording again. See you back here shortly.

Okay folks, I am almost done, but I want to show you this technique here. You don’t have to just click, you can also click and hold, and paint, and that will help you get rid of some of the partially selected pixels, around the outside edge. You can see me, painting along here, cleaning up some of those partially selected pixels, holding my mouse button down, dragging along.
Okay, I am going to hit CTRL + 0…

[video froze here and would not play any further]


end of video transcript
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