Quick way to remove background without using lasso tool in Photoshop

As digital artists, sometimes your client will just give you a crappy badly compressed jpeg logo, telling you this is the best they have, and expect you to do miracle out of it. And with a flatten and rectangular jpeg image, it is so limited to extend your creativity with it. Of course you don’t want to spend too much time to match their logo type face and colour and reconstruct it, and you are too lazy (perhaps not worth the effort) to slowly trace it out using Lasso tool… Luckily, it is not impossible to do this.


Original logo


lousy jpeg compression

What you will need to have is of course Adobe Photoshop. And what you will learn in this tutorial is to edge out the unwanted background using masking instead of lasso tool.

Step 1

Duplicate the layer of the logo (drag the Background layer into create new layer icon ) and turn off the visibility of the new layer. Click the bottom layer as we are going to work on that layer now.

Step 2: Cleaning up

Desaturate the layer (⌘+SHIFT+U/CTRL+SHIFT+U)

We’re going to clean up the jpeg compression artifacts and make the logo into purely black and white: Adjust the levels (⌘L/CTRL+L) and drag the left slider a bit to the right until the logo become purely black and white while still preserving the smooth edges.


Jpeg artifacts gone

Masking

Step 3

Invert the colour (⌘I/CTRL-I), select the whole layer (⌘A/CTRL-A) and copy (⌘C/CTRL-C).

Step 4

Turn on the visibility of the upper layer:

go to Channels window

Step 5

Create a new channel by clicking create new channel icon and paste it into the new channel (⌘V/CTRL-V)

Hold the ⌘/CTRL key and click on the new channel thumbnail to get the selection.

Step 6

Now switch back to Layers window, delete the Background layer by dragging it into the delete layer icon .

Step 7

While still having the selection, click the Add Layer Mask button

DONE. Now you have the logo without the white background. It is non destructive because you can ‘disable’ the layer mask anytime to reveal the original version of the logo.

With the transparency background, you can simply come out with unlimited effects of your own:

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How to turn your photo into movie-like effect using Photoshop?

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What you need to have: Adobe Photoshop
What you will learn: colour mood adjustments + depth of field effect + film effect
PS: ⌘ key for Mac users / CTRL key for Windows users

Colour mood adjustments

1. Adjust the Hue/Saturation: ⌘U/CTRL-U

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2. Adjust the brightness and contrast: Menu > Image > Adjustments > Exposure…

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Depth of field effect

3. Duplicate current active layer by dragging it to the ‘create a new layer’ button located at the bottom of Layer window.

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4. Apply lens blur on the new layer on top: Menu > Filter > Blur > Lens Blur…
Adjust according to your own preference.

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5. Click on the ‘add layer mask’ button at the bottom of Layer window. Then click and select the ‘Layer mask thumbnail’ (the white rectangle).

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6. Select brush tool(b), set the master diameter to 400px. Then choose the focus point in the photo and click on it.

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Film effect

7. Create a new layer by clicking the ‘create a new layer’ button located at the bottom of Layer window.

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8. Fill the new layer with black colour: reset colour to default black & white (d), switch black colour to background (x), fill the layer (⌘-del/CTRL-backspace)

9. Set the opacity of the black layer to 70% by pressing ‘7’

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10. Use erase tool(e), set the master diameter to 400px. Then start erase the center of the photo.

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11. Flatten the image: Menu > Layer > Flatten Image and add noise: Menu > Filter > Noise > Add Noise…

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Cinemascope (optional)

12. Add black bars on top and bottom of photo and it’s done!
Use Rectangular Marquee Tool(m) to select (drag) upper part of photo, hold the shift key and select the bottom part, fill with black colour (⌘-del/CTRL-backspace)

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You can also add an extra step to twist the colour into this mood by using ‘Color Balance'(⌘B/CTRL-B). Drag the slider towards cyan and blue for Shadows, Midtones & Highlights.

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How to DIY your own carbon fiber wallpaper?

What you need to have: Adobe Photoshop
PS: ⌘ key for Mac users / CTRL key for Windows users

Prepare the texture pattern

(Download the ready made texture 1 and texture 2 if you are too lazy to create your own.)

1. In Photoshop, create a new document by pressing ⌘N / CTRL-N. Set the size at 20×20 pixel.

2. Zoom in (z) few step so that you can work on it easily. Choose Rectangular Marquee from the toolbar (m).

3. Make the selection of 5×10 pixel

4. Set foreground and background colour as different tone of gray:
Foreground: #171717
Background: #3a3a3a

5. Select Gradient Tool (g), then choose ‘Foreground to Background’

6. Fill the selection with the colours chosen by dragging across the selection area.

7. Make another selection of 10×5 pixel, fill with the gradient of:
Foreground:#282828
Background: #0d0d0d

8. Select all (⌘A / CTRL-A), copy selection (⌘C / CTRL-C), paste selection (⌘V / CTRL-V), then use Move Tool (v) to arrange the new layer into position:

9. Paste the selection into new layer again and arrange until it looks like this:

10. Combine all the layers: Menu > Layer > Flatten Image

11. Define a new pattern: Menu > Edit > Define Pattern…

Making the actual wallpaper

12. Create a new document by pressing ⌘N / CTRL-N. Set the size of your screen resolution. Eg: 1600×1200

13. Fill with the texture pattern: Menu > Edit > Fill… ; Use ‘Pattern’ and choose the last pattern that you just created from the Content section.

14. Apply effect: Menu > Filter > Render > Lighting Effects…

15. Adjust levels (⌘L / CTRL-L): Menu > Image > Adjustments > Levels…

Save!

16. To preserve the detail quality of the wallpaper, save it as PNG or BMP.

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