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Discussion Starter #1
Let's say I have a product shot that I took that has a white backdrop, but in the photo, you can see some wrinkles in the backdrop.

What's the best way in Photoshop or PaintShopPro to delete or make the background perfectly white so I can use it in a webpage (or auction)?



I'm getting the feeling that I need to iron (or do something to flatten out) the nylon backdrop thingy that I bought from eBay so the white areas are more seamless.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

There are many ways to do that, but my favorite way is to select around the image using the polygon lasso tool. Zoom in first to easily see the edge you're looking for. Once you have traced around your image, then select inverse, which will be all the background you want to replace. Then I just paint over the whole thing with white. That will give you a true white background. Other ways are to play around with the brightness and contrast to whiteout your background, but that will affect your item also.

You don't have to be perfect with the lasso tool either. By the time you Zoom back out to normal you will not likely notice the fine edge. You can also soften the edge with a 50% opacity eraser.

I'm sure there are many other ways too.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Oh, many, many ways. It depends on the range of "whites" in the wrinkles and how they correspond to the image itself. Decal's is a method will work no matter how broad the background "white" palette is. You may need to fiddle with the border of the image (through feathering, blending etc) t ensure that the remaining image happly flows into the white background naturally.

You can also use the magic wand selector to grab the backround (with a threshold of about 25-35). There are also way do doing it through channels/transparency/contracts/masks etc, but Decal's method is probably the simplest to expalin without a 3 page post :)
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

without a 3 page post
Nothing wrong with one of those if you've got the time :)

Thanks for the help though!

Looks like I'll have to mess around with the magic wand. For some reason I thought it would be faster somehow, but I guess it only has to be done once.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

I might knock up a long post when I can grab a few minutes.

There are simpler ways (and more "professional" in the sense that that's how long-time user would do it), but which to use is very dependant on the image itself...it's not a universal method.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Thanks! Any camera tips on getting the best/cleanest photograph to work with?

I'm guessing my backdrop shouldn't be as wrinkled as it is. Here's a low res version of the pic:
http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/2125/wrinkly8nr.jpg

I'm still messing around with the "tent", I'll probably take the next shot from directly above the tee and use more lighting.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Rodney they are right. That is probably the easiest way to go about it. It also depends on what kind of "look" you were going for. Did you want the shirt to look like it was placed on something like in the pic, with shadows or were you trying for an "infinite" edge, to where it looks like it's just in a field of white. If you are just concerned about the wrinkles, and you wanted the shadows of the shirt there, you could clone a portion around the bottom right and put it were the wrinkles are. That gets alot more complicated. But if you wanted all white, it is probably best to use Decals idea. It is the simplest and probably best way to get an all white background.
But I might take you up on the 3 page post one day!
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Rodney,
I am by no means a photographer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I have learned a couple of things that seemed to affect the pics I take sometimes. A real photographer may totally disagree with what I'm about to write...

In your example photo of your shirt, you notice that the white sheet actually looks greyed out. I had that happen a lot myself. Plus, because the camera tries to adjust itself for the proper lighting, it always seems to give you a bad picture of the actual item, because the light is bouncing back off the white sheet. It's like taking a picture of a person with too much light in the background. You can't see their face. I've tried to adjust lighting and flash but the light still bounces back off the white sheet.

http://prairieriders.net/images/temp/t-shirts/wrinkly8nr.jpg

Here I've adjusted the levels with Photoshop so you can see how much detail is being lost in the picture of that shirt because of the way the camera is picking up the light.

http://prairieriders.net/images/temp/t-shirts/wrinkly8nr01.jpg

I'm guessing the black square on the shirt is a coverup of a design.

Anyway, I've personally found it easier to use a color other than white for the background to take the picture, which gives me much more detail in the actual item being photographed. I've used a grey or blue sheet with good results, and then later replaced the background with white or any color you wish.

Another trick I do is to get a roll of double sided tape or make "tape rolls" so it's sticky on both sides, and actually stick that t-shirt right to a wall so that is hangs nice and has no unnatural wrinkles. The tape is hidden by the shirt that way and can be adjusted, plus it's easier to frame your shot by just stepping back rather than shooting from above.

Manequins are good, and so are models. If you can't find a good looking model, or you don't prefer to have a model, you can get rid of them after the shot is taken.
Get someone to wear the shirt, take a pic, and then Photoshop them out of it. You can replace where their head came through the neck of the shirt with a neutral color, and also get rid of the background. Here is an example I did for a club vest. It's not perfect, but you get the idea.

http://www.prairieriders.net/images/merchandise/clothing/PR Vest Gray.JPG
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Anyway, I've personally found it easier to use a color other than white for the background to take the picture, which gives me much more detail in the actual item being photographed. I've used a grey or blue sheet with good results, and then later replaced the background with white or any color you wish.
Dangit...why didn't I think of that one? Thanks for that tip! I think I've seen sheets that are bright colors so they are easy to filter out (or fill) in photoshop.

Another trick I do is to get a roll of double sided tape or make "tape rolls" so it's sticky on both sides, and actually stick that t-shirt right to a wall so that is hangs nice and has no unnatural wrinkles.
Another great tip, thanks! Although that makes my newly purchased photo tent a bit obsolete. Maybe I should have asked this question *before* I clicked Buy Now on the auction :)
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Hi Rodney,
I hang the shirt on oversize hangers against a wall. Fold and pin long sleeves like you would see in the store on a wall. (the natural body hang thing, bent arm at elbow, blah blah) Don't worry too much about the lighting as long as it is decent. But do a white balance with the camera. Hold a white card in front of the lens. Check your manual for details. If you need more light just don't get carried away. Real photogs will use a white satin umbrella and bounce the light from it to the subject. Anyway, room light works if you do a white balance. (I like light and airy spaces so if you have dark walls etc you may have to find a better place. Happy clicking. I grew up in a b/w darkroom.
 

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Re: removing a white background in a product shot in photoshop or PSP

Rodney, one thing I do and it seems to work really well is go buy some big sheets of paper from your local art or hobby store. Sort of card stock thickness. I had to buy a couple, then overlap them a little, for some of the larger men's shirts. I bought white ones and bright green ones for a couple of dollars each. Sometimes white works better than green and vice versa. I use a digital camera with a good flash. I don't even take the pictures in a very well lit room so if the flash is good you should be ok. Then in Photoshop, I use the magic wand tool to select the background. Sometimes you have to adjust the sensitivity, (can't remember what it is called but someone mentioned it earlier), but it should highlight the entire background except for your shirt. Then delete the entire background. You should end up with a white background. My photoshop seems to default to the white background. Then that's it! SAve the pic in whatever format you need.

Sometimes, you may notice a slight coloured glow or fuzzyness around some shirt colours after deleting the background. Just use the eraser tool, close up, and erase the glow or fuzziness. These are just pixels that were a little darker than the white or green background because they were so close to the edge of the shirt.

Once you get into the routine, it should take no more than a couple of minutes per picture to go from opening the picture in PS, then editing and then saving.
 
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