Cut it Out: Learn How You Can Isolate Anything in Photoshop (Without Layer Masks) | AJ Burt | Skillshare

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Cut it Out: Learn How You Can Isolate Anything in Photoshop (Without Layer Masks)

teacher avatar AJ Burt, Learning is Living Better

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Isolating Landscapes

    • 3. Isolating with Transparency

    • 4. Isolating and Adjusting with Product Photography

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About This Class

Being able to isolate objects in images is an essential skill every Photoshop user should have. Unfortunately, many tutorials on object isolation will tell you to achieve this with layer masks, which are time intensive to make well and become pixilated when scaled. In this class, I'll show you how to isolate objects with clean, vectored edges. Then we'll dive in deeper and play with transparancy and adjustments.

Happy learning!

Meet Your Teacher

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AJ Burt

Learning is Living Better


Learning is my passion. I've always pursued learning outside of traditional academic settings. I've taught myself programming, graphic design, marketing, business planning, investing, cooking, ballroom dancing, yoga, animation, and so much more without a professional teacher and by paying next to nothing. I've used this to turn my degree in anthropology to a career in business and marketing, and it's been so rewarding yet easy to do that I realized I simply had to share it with others. That's why I signed up to teach on Skillshare.

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1. Welcome!: Hi. My name is A J, and today I'm gonna show you a super quick and easy technique for isolating anything. Photo shop. Today I'm gonna show you how to Heisley landscape scene a one glass and a product photo. This technique is super helpful for product photography and even making fine tune adjustments to specific elements within your photos. You don't need any experience in Photoshopped to take this class, but you do need an installation of photo shop. Another photo editing software like Kim may work, but I havent traded on that. The class project is super simple. You can either follow along with the images I provide in the projects tab, or you can choose an image of your own nicely. You're just minutes away from being a Photoshopped isolating expert. Let's get started. 2. Isolating Landscapes: Okay, so we're going to start off by isolating this landscape picture. This is what it looks like. It's the final project, and let's just dive right in and get started on this. So this is our original image. Just getting Call it original. I'm going to duplicate it, always like toe save my original image, just in case they need to go back and pull something from a leader. So let's just call this the main image. And so the main kind of trick of this isolating technique is using not the standard layer mask that most places advised. We actually don't need those. Let's leave those What? We're actually going to use this the pen tool. So go ahead and select that. Make sure it's set to shape, not path, and then we're just gonna dive right in. You can hold control ault or command. I think option on Mac and scroll with your wheel to zoom in and hit the space bar to grab the hand tool for just a second to kind of navigate around your image. And let's just start here in the bottom left hand corner on. The nice thing about this method is You don't really need to start it any particular point in your image when you're cutting it out. But I just like to start on the left side and work right. Let's go over there. Let's just go ahead and make your base point. And what we're just gonna start doing is clicking and making little lines. So let's click here, and we're actually gonna remain clicking on the mouse and drag it. And you could see what this is doing is making a nice curve. So we're gonna try to kind of get it to fit that slope of the mountain there on the months were satisfied, actually hit Ault, or option, and that will let you drag this, um, outside line back to the point. And what this is basically helping you do is if we were to leave it hanging out here and tried to make another line. You see, it's kind of getting all funky and works. Let's not do that. Let's sleep that anchor point. Let's hold off again and drag this back to the main point. So you now we commit our first line. Let's make another one, and basically we're just gonna keep doing is click keeping on clicking and dragging and then hitting that alter option key and bringing the second line back to the original. The other nice thing about this method is it does not have to be super precise. We're just fooling the general shape and so in kind of piece of advice. If you feel that your mouse is a little bit to shake you for this kind of precision work, one thing you can actually do is adjust the sensitivity of your mouse movements. It can in depends animal operating system you're using. But for Windows users, you can just click on the start bar and type of mouse and hit enter and it'll bring up this little dialogue. We can go over the pointer options and reduce it and you could see, like as you do it. My mouse is getting way slower, so I'm just gonna turn it down a little bit. I usually keep it on fast. Um, when I'm doing normal things justice. It kind of helps right workflow, be quicker. But for this kind of editing, it's actually nice feel to get in there and make really precise, slow movements. You can kind of see that one of the things I'm doing is just feeling out where the slope of this line is, kind of matching the natural curve of this shape, the best. So for images that don't have a lot of detail on the outlying line, you're gonna need to make less points and adjustments. But for this image, since it's so rocky, I'm actually having to make quite a bit for the majority of objects. It's not gonna take this long, but I just kind of want to show you, um, how you can really get in there and at a even really complex shapes with this Here we have some grass and you can kind of see I'm not gonna bother trained to zoom in and completely match the shape of that grass. Just is not that visible. Once were zoomed out and looking at the images, the whole So that's not really necessary. And I'm not gonna take the extra time to do something that nobody is gonna notice anyway. Okay, so now we have finished the left side of the mountain and we're up to the people. This tool actually works really, really well for cutting out people's body shapes. Our bodies have a lot of natural curves to then, and this technique, um, it really is suited to cutting out images with lots of curves. So if you're feeling like you're having a hard time finding the right curve on the edge, you definitely don't need to be zoomed out to do this. You can zoom in as much as you want, like even if that means getting up into the pixels. Here, you can see that we're really getting a lot of fine control. But for me, when I zoom in too much, I just kind of lose sight of where I'm going. And so I kind of play around with that as I go along. And that's totally fine to do. Just a side note. So if you happen to make a mistake and click way out of balance like obviously we don't want that there, there's a couple ways to move it. You can hit control or command and drag it where you want it to go, where you can just delete the anger. Plea by right clicking to lead anchor point, make sure not to click delete path for your entire outlined will get deleted. If you do happen to that, just hit controls your command Z and it will take you back to where you are. And you can also, um, access those kind of change rollbacks through the history panel on photo shop, and you can see here again I'm not following the shape of her hair. Exactly. Um, if I were doing that, then I d there have to zoom way in and trace out that little hair manually, or it have to go back in later. And Mr and with similar masks and transparencies. And I don't really want to do that for this image when we're always seemed out, you can see you can barely see that anyway, so we're just not gonna worry about it. The nice thing about this technique is you can cut out even really complex images fairly quickly. And, um, even if you're moving pretty fast, once you're at the final point, you're really not getting a notice. A reduction in quality, that's kind of nice. - And again, I could go in and trace out this. It would not be hard to do, but nobody's gonna notice that it's gone in the final image, so we're just not gonna worry about it, and you will notice. Um, I am kind of leaving some space where this line is going way outside. Well, relatively speaking, way outside where the actual shape of the object is and my reason for doing that. Um, I don't think you should do this when you're trying it for yourself, but I'm gonna show you how to go in and fix this kind of thing. If you happen to do it by accident and especially when you first start using this technique , you're not going to have a very good sense at first of where, uh or what this will look like as a final product. And that's totally fine. It's just something that will get easier for you as you practice more and more with this. And really, it doesn't take a lot of practicing. Once you do this a couple of times, it'll become very intuitive for you. - Okay , We're gonna have to do a little bit more detailed work with the hand here, so I'm gonna zoom in a little bit more. Let's go ahead and cut this little piece up to over here. We could also just go back and do this later on with a layer masks. If we prefer to do that, it's totally fine back at a little bit. - If you can't see that lane very well over your editing, they're kind of two things you can dio. Um, the most easiest probably is just going into your levels or curves and really upping the contrast or using the contrast tool itself in photo shop. Um, or you can just kind of think about the object you're editing and what its natural shape is and just kind of build that how you want it, toe. Look, that's totally fine. Um, it'll make the image look really smooth and really nice. In the end, you don't have to follow things exactly. If you think that making some slight adjustments is gonna make the overall image look better. Okay, so I'm sure you get the idea by now and just kind of for brevity is sick. I'm going to stop right there. I'm so to close this. Let's pretend not got all the way over here, so let's make it really simple curve real quick there, Um and then we're actually gonna go outside the canvas here and just click. Click. This part doesn't matter a whole lot because you're not gonna see it. Basically, we're just getting back to that starting point now. We've closed the shape, so let's dragged earlier in front. So just to test it out, let's go ahead and just put a solid color in here first. You got it. Get off this path. Stoda kind of test our work. Let's just go ahead and put a solid color behind our image and playing around with it. We can see I did leave a lot of, um, lines for us to fix over there. Let's turn it down to something really dark. Just we couldn't see those very clearly and zoom in and you can see you. Let's just do that's part of it Here. You can see there are a lot of places where I purposely put the boundaries of the shape outside of where the images, and that's totally fine. Um, again, I don't recommend you do that. I'm just doing this for the purpose of showing you how to fix it. Eso they're actually a couple of ways to do it. Um, for this list Just used to clone Stamp Tool over here, making you layer above our image and hold Alton. Click to a layer, mask it in Italy. Basket two. We're gonna hit all click to make a clipping mask and what is gonna connect? Use the point clone tool. Then we disconnect economy and image and just make some really minor adjustments, just kind of coloring in that boundary in a consume out. And you can see that that line that was stable for just isn't there. Let's do it again for his pants. Just holding alternate clicking to set our source plane and then just filling in any, um, lines we don't want by clicking and dragging the nice thing about this particular tool. As you can see, it's kind of copying that detail. So, yeah, now it's pants were looking much better, and we can go back and do that for all those lines. We can do it down here where you meet that quick and dirty slope. Just click and fill in, and there you go. We have isolated image 3. Isolating with Transparency: Okay, So in this video, I'm gonna show you how to isolate this wine glass here, and I'm gonna show you a few tricks for achieving this transparency. You can see as I'm dragging it around that the glass is actually transparent to detail. Ah, And as we're changing scenes, it's actually changing the color to reflect whatever it's in front of. And so, yeah, let's just I if right in this is the original image and you'll notice that the edges of this are, ah lot smoother and have a lot less detail than that landscape seemly edited. So you're gonna notice that this is much faster to get out. Let's go ahead and duplicate the background again. Hide the background layer. Okay. He didn't even earlier in top where we're gonna put our shape, select the pen tool by hitting P or clicking on it in the bar over there. And let's just as we did last time starting the bottom left corner again. You can start wherever you want, but just for consistency sake, you do that. And remember, we're clicking, dragging, then holding on to bring that second line back in. And if you're finding the pen tool. Difficult to work with if you've never worked with it before, in footage shop in its being a little finicky with you. Um, don't worry about it. When I first started using photo shot, um, I felt the same way, and I actually avoided using the pen tool for a long time. Because of that, it's just something that takes practice. If you're stuck on it, try looking up. Just some tutorials for it. If you need some extra help, I'd be happy to help you Just get in touch with me. Um and you're gonna notice that now that we've kind of outlined a lot of this shape, it's actually filled in to cover image, so we can't see that edge anymore. This wasn't a problem on the landscape scene because we actually created the shapely or behind the image. But I wanted to put it in front this time just to show you, um, where that might be beneficial. It actually is kind of nice to see you Where, um, that's getting filled in because we're seeing where images sticking out. Uh, but once it does cover the image, you can actually just a just see a pass ity up here or hit the number keys on your keyboard to set it to a specific point. So ones 10 fives, 50 and so on. And having that transparency is actually really nice because it lets a c um, what the final shapes gonna be. But at the same time, it's not totally obscuring our image. So okay , there we go. You have our final image. Let's hit zero on our T board to turn that opacity back up to 100. Let's drag the shape layer behind the wine glass and it Ault and click on that line there to make a mask, and then you can see you have it cut out. Let's open this other file and just drag one of those backgrounds into this image so he can kind of play around with the transparency using that, Um, so you can see that right now if I move this around, this isn't changing up here. It's just totally opaque, and we want it to change a little bit to reflect on the background and down here to where it's transparent. So what we're actually going to do? It's good in here, and we are gonna make a layer mask gonna choose the brush tool that are active clerk toe black, which for layer masks just means that it's subtracting. We're going to make sure that our hardness is turned down. Maybe not all the way down, and we're going to turn our capacity down as well. Student, 20% zoom in. Make sure that our layer mask your is actually selected and we're just gonna begin kind of roughly adding some transparency to this singing a little bit Here, reduce our brush size kind of draw in there. It's a really good idea. Like once you click down, just drag until you've completely covered the area you're trying to make transparent, um, other ways. If you keep clicking on and clicking off, it's actually going to make some of the areas less opaque than others. And we don't really want to do that. Okay, so now that we've kind of gone over this a few times, let's try just moving it around. We can see we are getting some transparency. What's trading in just a little bit more. And by the way, the reason why we're setting the brush too soft is that it allows for some human error. As we're tracing these out, we don't need to be super precise to get the desired effect. So let's move it around again, because the that's a little bit better. If you want, you can get more transparent. If you go too transparent. Let's go back to the brush tool and make sure layer baskets selected her. Um, what you can actually do is switch the act of color toe white, either by clicking this arrow or by hitting X on your keyboard and just retracing over the image, and you can see that that's actually bringing the opacity back in. We don't want to do that. So it's actually delete those last two actions. And just for fun, gonna bring a few of these other backgrounds in Kanye. Looks like we got a pretty nice transparency effect on their, Um, I think I'm actually gonna go back in and add some more opaqueness to the bottom there, using the white color, especially kind of at the bottom here, where we have a lot of detail and maybe even with this top kind of edge, they're just catching anything that we may have actually gone over and there we go. It's looking pretty good. And so you have just isolated your first trans pair object Been Photoshopped. Congratulations. 4. Isolating and Adjusting with Product Photography: Okay, so now I'm gonna show you just how powerful this technique can really be. Um, I went on the internet and just found this random product photo that somebody has taken. They're holding it. The lighting's not super great. Um, the colors aren't super vivid. So I'm just gonna show you how easy it is to use this technique to make a really good, um, make a really bad product photo into a way better one. So we're going to use the same technique that we haven't all the other videos and that speed it along a little bit, because by now, hopefully you kind of getting the general idea. - Okay , so now we value and us Let's make a clipping mask like we've been in the previous videos. And let's just drop a random image in here just so that we can see kind of what? We're working this. Okay, so now it could get to see what we're working with. Um, that has turned out okay for health asked. I went but will notice the images. Still kind of tilted. The levels are kind of weird. So you're just some quick tips for fixing those kind of things. Uh, let's go ahead and just pull from this these rulers of here just to make some guides. This is just going to kind of help us when straightening the photo. Okay, Now make sure both players were selected. It's just cool hand tilt that, actually, you know, I'm gonna make a few more guides. I'm gonna make a good right here, and we're here just these air kind of natural lines in the product. And so it'll be easier to find. I went there straight. Okay, Still not perfect. But, you know, it's much better than what it was originally. So the really nice thing about this is you can now make adjustments to this image without affecting that whatever spined it or even in front of it. So you can see I made a new layer clipped on top of the image just so that were in this adjustments panel adding in adjustments, it'll automatically be clipped to that image. So it's just good and add a level adjustment, maybe up the contrast a little bit and go in tow. Vibrance the vibrance little bit, maybe even up the saturation a little bit. You can even go up into blending options over here. Go to bed, linen, boss, Increase the size. Can you play around with that? And never kind of just giving our products some nice, um, shadows. You definitely don't have to use this technique if you don't want to, But in some cases, you might find it. Add some depth to an image. That's kind of flap itself. Uh huh. And so there you go. There's some ways to just kind of quickly clean up in image. Um, you can see this compared to what it was originally, and it's looking a lot better.