**Originally Posted in LK's resource thread.. but Reed suggested I post here too**
Masking Images (Rendering)
---=== PART 1 ===---
I was going to do a very detailed tutorial in Masking Images (Rendering) but currently a bit busy ------ got a few requested printable covers to make which I've been putting off like Puppy Luv and Kawasaki Jet Ski for Wii.. Zzzzzzzz.. not to mention finish off my Fifa Street 3 cover -- and got to edit a lot of wedding photos for my friend.. so stuck for time, thus... here's a quickish version of it.
As the title states.. this is a MASKING tutorial, and made for Photoshop users, although users of GIMP can use it too. Sorry, those that use Paint.Net can look away, because it doesn't have layer masks and main reason I would NEVER use paint because every time I import an image I more or less add a layer mask to it.
Before we start... if using photoshop, here's a few keyboard shortcuts that I ALWAYS use, and might be helpful for anyone that use it, for this tut.
'd' key - defaults your palette to black and white.
'x' key - swap the background colour with foreground colour.
'b' key - brush tool
'1'-'0' - keys 1 to 0 determines your opacity. 1 being 10% and 0 being 100%
'[' ']' - square brackets decrease and increase brush size.
THE QUICK AND DIRTY METHOD!
This method is not recommended by itself but it's useful for a fast render of an image that has primary a single colour background.
(See PICTURE 1.)
A. Here, I've loaded up an image of sackgirl from Little Big Planet which has a white background which we'll remove. Since you can't add a layer mask to a background image, you should duplicate the image - just drag the layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon (A)
B. Since you're don't want to see the background layer now, click on the eye icon (B) to hide the layer.
C. Add a layer vector mask to your duplicated layer, by pressing "Add Vector mask' (C) A white box with a link on it will appear next to your layer image. Now, with it highlighed..
D. Select the "Magic Wand Tool" (D)
E. Note the Tolerance at the top of the screen (E). It's default as 32. You can adjust this if you are selecting too much or too less of the colour range. In this case, we'll leave it at 32.
F. With the Magic Wand Tool.. click on the any White space around the Sackgirl and a dotted line will highlight all the white area (F)
(See Picture 2.)
G. Now, to remove that white area, we need to fill that area in black. The easiest way is to press ALT+Delete which will fill the selected area with your foreground colour. So, if you have the default colour set (press d), you'll fill the area on the mask black, and the white area will disappear. You'll see this in (G). You might be asking why I don't just delete the area instead of using a layer mask. You could, but with layer masks, drawing in with white will bring back parts of the removed image, so if I accidentally removed sackgirl's hand I can simply, select a white brush and draw it back. If like me, you render images inside your composition, then later on you change your mind, you can draw back what you removed. If you deleted it.. it's gone!
Anyway... the image looks pretty good. Be aware however, that because you filled INSIDE the selection, you will get a 1 pixel white line around the edge of the image. so crop the image, or run the ERASER round the edge. One negative about this method!
Although it's not perfect (if you zoom in like 400%.. you'll notice there's a very slight edge to it) but placing it on a light background helps.. or even adding an INNER GLOW using the blending option in Photoshop using the same colour as the background can help.
How do I use this now? Just drag it into photoshop which will keep the layer mask intact. Or you can save it out as a PNG file.
---=== END OF PART 1 ===---