Episode 093: Isolation!

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93In this episode I try to isolate a subject from the background.

There are a lot of ways to do this – I chose to make a layer mask with the threshold tool. Selecting with the path tool is an other option – see the comments to this post.

To get rid of the artificial look I feathered (blurred) the edge of the mask a bit. This gives a soft edge.

The subject of this image is the logo of the Weltladen in Bremen. This is a shop with fair trade products. In the past these products were often bad in quality and high in price, but this has changed. Now the goal of a lot of fair trade organisations is to get the producers to good quality for a competitive price and make them fit for competing in the regular markets. By going mostly organic they can get more money for the products. We buy there all our chocolate (in the box with a bulk discount ;-) ) , wine, orange and other juices, rice and even a honey from southern Chile. Philippe considers this type of honey as the best from Chile and recommended mixing it with yoghurt. Exellent!

TOC

00:20 Fairtrade shop
01:42 The initial image
02:05 Create a layer to be used later as a layer-mask
02:50 The problem with using the threshold tool
03:45 Try doing it in peices
04:40 Use the selection tool to keep the part we want
06:15 Repeat for the next zone
08:20 Join the parts together with merge visible layers
09:00 Fine-tuning
09:47 – trying to find the biggest contrast using the channels
12:00 – paint in the missing parts
14:40 – invert colours to tidy-up the edges
16:00 Make the layer mask
17:30 More fine tuning
18:25 Smooth the edges
18:30 – select the wanted area
20:00 – feather the edges
21:00 – fill the unwanted areas to make them transparent
22:00 More fine tuning
23:53 Brighten the catch-lights in the eyes
26:52 The End

TOC kindly made by Kevin

10 thoughts on “Episode 093: Isolation!

  1. Hello,

    have you thought using the path-tool for this item? The edge es relatively clear, it could be worth a try.

    Greatings
    Fornit

  2. Nice work Rolf, but really, you accumulated the hard problems and was looking for trouble …. threshold a zebra, what a idea ;)
    An trick would be to shoot the picture with a totally unique color background ( one color who is not present in the subject ) and to use the color selecting tool, playing with the threshold slider to reach a perfect selection.

  3. I tried the “Green Screen” approach. But the light from the background then made a colour cast around the edges. Looked ugly.

    The path tool would have been an option.

  4. I make these sorts of masks all the time. I get better results by simply drawing around the object with a soft brush. It also takes less time than goofing around with some of these automatic methods, then having to use a brush to touch-up anyway.

  5. Thank you, Rolf, once again a very helpful suggestion! So far I used the smudge tool to get soft borders of selected and inserted objects. The combination of shrinking and feathering is much easier and very exact. Another easy way to get the desired selection could be the appliance of the foreground selection tool. A very smart combination of manual and automatic procedures. In many cases it works fine.

  6. This is definitely a job for the path tool. Once you learn to use it you would have done this job in a fraction on the time.

  7. Here’s a TOC

    http://meetthegimp.org/episode-093-isolation/
    Episode 093: Isolation!
    00:20 Fairtrade shop
    01:42 The initial image
    02:05 Create a layer to be used later as a layer-mask
    02:50 The problem with using the threshold tool
    03:45 Try doing it in peices
    04:40 Use the selection tool to keep the part we want
    06:15 Repeat for the next zone
    08:20 Join the parts together with merge visible layers
    09:00 Fine-tuning
    09:47 – trying to find the biggest contrast using the channels
    12:00 – paint in the missing parts
    14:40 – invert colours to tidy-up the edges
    16:00 Make the layer mask
    17:30 More fine tuning
    18:25 Smooth the edges
    18:30 – select the wanted area
    20:00 – feather the edges
    21:00 – fill the unwanted areas to make them transparent
    22:00 More fine tuning
    23:53 Brighten the catch-lights in the eyes
    26:52 The End

  8. Nice show, Rolf

    Maybe there are other approaches to do this task; as suggested, foreground selection tool…
    Maybe using a colored background before shooting the pic would have made postprocessing better.

    That being said, I think that:
    -> there is more than one way to do it :-)
    -> the show (as for other shows in the past) is useful because it helps to understand the different tools in the Gimp; and it makes you think about them… and that’s the way to eventually use the tool best suits you (for every particular task). What I mean is that maybe I could find a way of doing this that it is better for me to do this task; but I’d find it by means of watching how Rolf solves it his way, and thinking about it.

    Not sure if I’ve been able to make myself clear :-)

    Anyways, great show and thanks for it.

    Cheers

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Anything to add from your side of the computer?