Photoshop Blog – Cutting out Renders
This blog post is about cutting out people, cars or any other objects you want cut out of pictures to use in your graphic images. I do a lot of sports graphics so cutting out the athletes is a daily process for me. When I first started cutting out the players I would use a layer mask and just “erase” away the background. I didn’t know any other techniques and doing it that way was very time consuming. Since I didn’t know any other way that was it for me. I thought I was doing a great job. Only to realize later that there is a much simpler, and when I say “much” I mean it liberally, way of cutting things out.
The best way to cut certain things out of pictures is to use the pen tool. What you want to do is zoom in on the photograph to 200-300%. The further you zoom in the better your cut will be. Now one thing to remember with Photoshop is that is a pixel based program. So there really isn’t such thing as round edges in Photoshop. Since pixels are square when you zoom in you will see that the edges of the object aren’t really rounded. This is why the closer you zoom the better the cut will look. When using the pen tool you can’t just draw an outline around the object. You will have to click and click and click your way around the object you are cutting. Each click is called an “anchor point.” The closer you have the anchor points together the cleaner your cut will look and the smoother your rounded areas will look. If you are using a mouse the sound from the clicking could become annoying to you and anyone else living with you. And the higher resolution the photograph is the more clicking you will have to do.
To get rid of all the clicking sounds from your mouse I recommend you getting a tablet. A tablet comes with a flat piece that works kind of like the mouse pad on laptops. It also comes with a “pen” looking tool which is actually the mouse. You can use the tablet to do so much more than just cutting but it makes the process of cutting things out so much easier than the mouse. I have a Bamboo tablet but there are many different brands, sizes and styles to choose from. You will have to do your own research to find the one that works for you. Now, they even make some that don’t need the “pen” mouse, instead you use your fingers. If you are a serious designer and don’t have a tablet I highly recommend you getting one.
Ok, so back to the cutting. After you have the entire object outlined you will need to right click inside the outline. A menu will pop up and you want to click on the selection called “make selection.” By clicking that the outline you just made will become a blinking outline. If you click delete now you will get rid of everything you just outlined and the rest of the photograph will still be there. So, before you hit delete you will want to do a keyboard shortcut to “inverse” the selection. By inversing the selection you will now have everything else selected instead of the object you want cut. Once that is done you can now hit the delete key on your keyboard. Now sometimes it wont let you just delete right away. You may have to double click on the layer that the photo is on to “unlock” the layer. After double clicking on the photograph layer just hit ok and it will automatically become layer 1 instead of a locked “background” layer. Now you can hit the delete key on your keyboard and the background is now gone from your photograph.
After cutting it out be sure to either save the cut as a psd or png file. By doing this you can go back to the cut and use it again later. If you save it as any other file type a white background will be added to your image. If you do that you will have to cut the whole thing over again. Not fun at all. Hopefully I have helped some of you out with this blog entry. Leave a comment and let me know if this helped you or if you have anything else to add.