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Thread: Extracting Hair

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Lancaster, CA, USA
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    Default Extracting Hair

    Hair is usually horrible to extract from the background. Everyone today is offering a little help in that arena. PhotoImpact has got a very good extrator for no more money, YEAH!! Whereas sometimes the programs is a little convoluted to get from point A to point B, and not all filters work, it really is fun to add lighting effects and for other things, do post processing in PI.

    Here is an example of what I did practicing with the PI extraction tutorial.

    The tutorial is worth doing to know how to use the tool.

    http://www.ulead.com/learning/pi/pi10_04_1.htm
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    IP

  2. #2

    Default Re: Extracting Hair

    Nice extraction, Sally.
    I don't have PI10. But just out of curiosity, how does it compare to PhotoPaint's extraction tool? Same, better or worse? Does it give an anti-aliased output? My brief try with PhotoPaint's extraction tool seems to result in hard jagged aliased output... I may be wrong, but that's the way I remembered it....
    IP

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Extracting Hair

    PhotoPaint's extraction tool, I must admit, haven't tried it. PP has a lot of neat tools that I haven't really even used once. But I will for the comarison.

    The PI extraction tool works better than most I've tried. I am wondering if you have tried Kai's Knockout, now one of the ones Corel has bought. Is that good, I suppose if they get $99.00 for just that, it must be spectacular.

    I like this version of PI. Still it is a lot like 8, but the add-ons are cool. The dockable palettes are very useful.

    1. PhotoPaint
    2. PaintShopPro
    3. Photoshop 7.0
    4. PhotoImpact 10

    I have included four pictures to compare the results, the first is PhotoPaint and the extraction process isn't very good, and there is no "refining" a process that lets you add and subtract pixels with more finesse. Paint Shop Pro has the background eraser, if there is an extraction in 9, I couldn't find it. The Background Eraser, though it allows you to get back what you erased, leave a more jagged edge and takes a long time. The next is Photoshop. Looks good, however, this is really for hair only, the rest of the extraction was done with a layer mask (so I cheated--I helped Photoshop along). But Uleads gives the best result and even to the hands and the body. With Extraction, there are trade offs to get good hair extraction, you have to do some work with the eraser to clean up the stray pixels, but there are more tools and the results are both better and take less time. So if you are going to spend the time, use the better tool, in this case, the extraction tool out did Photoshop. Photoshop's refining ability does not allow you to repair what you are not happy with very well, you can get holes in your artwork you can't fix and so I got tired of doing it over only to never get a satisfactory result. However, where there was hair, the extraction tool did a good job. PhotoImpact has a background eraser that is absolutely amazing on solid color backgrounds, better than the selection tool. The last picture is a butterfly this method was used on, in addition to some custom shadows that made the wings look more transparent, one click and even the delicate antenna on the butterfly was not damaged at all. When comparing this to Paint Shop Pro's background eraser, there is much less work and much less damage to the picture. I like less work, don't you?

    So there you have it.
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    Last edited by sallybode; 06 September 2005 at 02:44 AM. Reason: Adding comparison pictures
    IP

  4. #4

    Default Re: Extracting Hair

    Wow, that's a detailed comparison, Sally. Image extraction is one of the finer skills to learn in photo manipulation, and it's always good to have tools for that.
    With PI being geared more and more towards easy digital image correction, it's not a surprise that effort is being directed to add tools to speed the extraction process.
    Knockout I haven't the opportunity to try. Seems like a steep price for just one function, but if you have to do this for a living and it's really good, I suppose the market for it exists..
    One small tidbit... the Gimp site also has an announcement for another way of image extraction. They call it the SIOX algorithm. It seems like you just take a sample of the background and the program figures out the rest. More on it on the Gimp site: www.gimp.org
    Great to have all these tools, eh?
    IP

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Extracting Hair

    With a simpler background, extraction isn't so much of a problem, but pulling small details out or extracting one object next to another of similar color and tonal value is not easy, in those case, it is a job for one who is an expert.

    Afterall, if they dumb this stuff down too far, you got to realize that it will put a lot of people out of work... or maybe not. Considering that there are lots of people who don't really know with hundreds of programs out there, what to do their newsletters in and you can't tell them that 72 dpi is not good for print. So long as people are this stubborn, I will have job tenure, I'm sure. They of course would hate to pick up printing done this way and also generally refuse to pay for something that makes them look bad, even though they insisted. There are times we just turn the job away, because we know what will happen.

    I don't think I have much to worry about. I usually have more to do than I can get done, and am passed all the more difficult jobs.

    My employer is going to hire some part time help, as it is, when I take my vacation, she'll need to have that person at least working during that time.

    Do you know the history of PI, and that they were once partnered with Adobe? Too bad for Adobe, they lost some good things.

    But hurrah for the rest of us! Adobe does a great job with Photoshop but it is very pricey.
    IP

 

 

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