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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I realized I have Photoshop CS2 on my Apple notebook & want to use it to enter some graphics contests. I was fiddling around with it & know how to use the brushes but need to know how to mainly cut the cat out of the picture.

So mainly I need to know how to cut the cat out of the picture given & then where do you get the background to paste it on? Is it just any picture I find off a website or is there a particular Photoshop website with backgrounds or something :?:
 

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I'm so glad I'm not the only person who doesn't know these things. I'll be waiting for answers along with you. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
LOL I was having the hardest time cutting the cat out. I must of spent like 40 min. just staring at all the tool functions :lol:
 

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I spent over three hours on one of the contest pictures, then figured I'd try again the next day and could not for the life of me remember how I did it or what tools I was using. :oops:
 

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I was going to type out a long reply... but I have Photoshop Elements 2, and I haven't a clue what CS2 is. If you think they're similar enough that the instructions will make sense, I'd be more than happy to share how I do it in Elements. It took me a while to teach myself how to cut the cat out smoothly!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think it might be similar. They usually have the same looking tools I think so if you can help out that would be great :D
 

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Well, let's see if I can type this up and digest some turkey at the same time. :D I am so overfed.

This is how I cut out objects in PS Elements. I just got my first book on PS for Christmas today - so I've probably been doing it wrong all along and if you guys know a simpler, more efficient way, I'd be glad to learn it. :)

First, I open up the picture that contains the object I want to cut out (in this case, Ariel) and I use the rectangular marquee tool to outline the object I want to cut out.



Then, I open up a new file that will end up being the file I'll be working with. Back in Ariel's picture, where she is still outlined with the marquee, I click on the move tool, and then I click on her and drag and drop her into the new file.



There, you can resize the object and reposition it. With the eraser, I then erase all the background from the old picture, leaving some margin around the cat herself.



If you have a section of the background that you are trying to get rid of that is pretty uniform in colour and not too similar in shade to the cat, you can use the magic erase option to get rid of a lot of the background at once. I used this to get rid of most of the blue blanket. I find this tool tricky to use though, you always have to adjust the tolerance to make sure it doesn't erase more than you want it to.



When I've erased all around the cat, I zoom in as much as I need to and using a soft-edged brush, I start to erase the background closer to her. If I have a lot of time or if the background I'm pasting her onto is plain, I'll be more picky with erasing between her fur. But usually I'm pretty quick-and-dirty. Especially for graphics contests, the size of your final photo is not so big that little details like that are usually not noticeable.





When I've gone all around her, I use a larger, sharp edged brush to get rid of the excess that we've trimmed off. The most important thing when you're erasing is to always use small strokes. That way, if you mess up and you need to hit undo, you will only undo your last move and not a huge section.



I usually find my backgrounds from Google image search or my own photographs. For this I picked some happy sunflowers. You can already have the background in place when you transfer the cat's image over, or you can put it in after you've cut her out of her background. I find sometimes it's helpful to put the background in as another layer after cutting the cat out, because then you can see where you may have forgotten to erase some bits. Oops!



I messed around with the layers a bit to make it seem like she was sitting in the sunflowers.



Then, the really important step: making the kitty furry again after you've erased all the fuzziness! I use the smudge tool for this, and it's a picky step too because it's easy to overdo it and make the cat look like she's been electrocuted. I zoom in a bit and by alternating the width of the brush (usually only a few pixels) and the strength (around 50%) I make quick little strokes from just inside the edge of her body, directed outwards, just like the way the hair grows. I haven't found a good way to replace whiskers yet - that requires a high strength setting and comes out looking really weird. I'm still working on restoring whiskers. If anybody knows how, I'd love to hear it!



If you have a box that says "finger painting" next to the strength, don't tick it. It paints with colour instead of smudging the photo.

Lastly, I run a light-strength blur tool over the edges of her body to soften where I've given her more fluff.



I warmed up her eyes a bit and tweaked the sky, and I'm done like dinner! Ugh, not dinner. I'm still so full.



You probably could have played with this picture a bit more to make it nicer, but I hope that it helped you out a bit! Like I said, I've mostly just taught myself photoshop and read some tutorials online, so this might not be the best way of doing things, but I'm sure you'll be able to improve on my method! Hope to see you Kim (and you, Marie!) in the graphics contests. :D
 

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Victoria....I use Paint Shop Pro Photo and usually crop the cat by doing a Freehand Selection and then use cut to remove the cat and paste it into the new file/background. It's been a while since I've used Photo Shop, but I seem to remember a similar feature...have you ever tried doing it that way? As you said, not that much detail shows up in the graphics contest, so I just blur the edges and it seems to be enough.
 

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Do you mean like the lasso tool? I've tried it, and I don't know... maybe I drink too much coffee but I have a hard time cutting the cat out steadily. Maybe I'm using the wrong tool, but you have to outline the cat all in one shot, right? Me and the undo button are best friends, so I work better with things that use little baby steps.

Okay, I checked and I lied, there is a magic wand tool that you can use to "paint" a selection bubble over the cat. That would probably be more efficient, because then you would just have to erase a little bit where you've selected too much background. I'll have to try it that way next time, thanks!
 

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horseplaypen said:
I haven't found a good way to replace whiskers yet - that requires a high strength setting and comes out looking really weird. I'm still working on restoring whiskers. If anybody knows how, I'd love to hear it!
Well, as you can see from Rocket's avatar, I sure haven't. But your other tips were interesting, esp. the one about the fuzzy hair. :)

I wish they'd come out with some software smart enough to separate an object from its background just by putting your cursor on it. The "Magic Wand" doesn't quite do it, yet, unless there's a pretty sharp-edged border.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Victoria - Thank you so much for your detailed pictorial. Where I got lost is when you said to get the background & it's better to layer. Now do I go under file - open & get the picture or do I click on the option new layer to get the background pic?

Also, once I got the background pic up, how do I move the cat onto the new background :?:
 

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I guess there are a few ways to do it: you can add the cat as a layer on top of your background image (such as the sunflowers), or you can start with a blank image and add both the cat and the sunflowers as two separate layers, so you would end up with three layers to begin with: the white, default background that you start with, your sunflower image layered on top of that, and the image of the cat layered on top of that. The first way is probably simpler, but it doesn't allow you to play with the opacity or layer style of the sunflowers, because the sunflowers has become your default, uneditable background layer instead of the white default.

Hmm. That sounds confusing even to me. Let's try doing it the second method. First, I have three windows open: the cat, the sunflowers, and a blank canvas. The pictures of the cat and the sunflowers are saved to my desktop, and I just got them by opening the file. When you have the blank image selected, you can look at its layers and see that there is only one, the white background, which is locked.



Then I go to the window that has the sunflowers. When you look at the layers here, you can again see that there is only one, the sunflowers, and that it's locked. So if you were to directly copy and paste the cat into the sunflowers alone, which you can, just know that you can't modify that layer.



Using the rectangular marquee tool, I select all of the sunflowers that I want to use. Then I go to edit and click copy.



Back in the blank canvas, I go to edit and paste.



The sunflowers should show up as a separate layer ON TOP of your white background. Now it's an editable layer, so you can modify it however you wish.



You can do the same thing with the cat, and this will show up as a third layer on top of the sunflowers.



You can then edit each layer separately to erase parts you don't want or change the colours or add filters, etc. If you start using multiple layers and brushes, you can also change which layer is on top of which by dragging them around in your layer box.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got the blank canvas & cut & pasted the sunflowers onto it well. But here's where I went blank. As I was reading your first post on how to cut & paste a cat, I was working on one & erasing & editing. I don't understand how to move that already cut & edited cat picture on top of the sunflowers. There is no cut option when I try to move the edited cat picture...I'm almost there with all this 8)
 

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Hmm. I wish I could explain things better! So, you have the picture of the cat and you've erased all the cat's background, you mean? Well, unless it is different in your version of PS, you have to first outline the part of the cat you want to transfer using the rectangular marquee tool, the little dashed square. Usually you can then copy and paste, but if that doesn't work, the other option is: First, have two windows open and visible at the same time: the picture of the cat and the file you're working on with the white layer and the sunflowers. AFTER you have selected the cat using the rectangular marquee tool, while the cat is still selected, click on the "move" tool, it looks like a little arrow. This should add some extra highlighting to the dashed lines around the cat. Then click on the cat and, holding down the mouse button, you can drag the selected area over to the other window where you have the sunflowers. The window with the sunflowers should light up, and if you release the mouse button the cat should be there. I don't know why the copy/paste wouldn't work :? but hopefully the drag/drop method will, if it's not too confusing!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yep, I got the cat cut out & erased the edges & blurred. Now I'm ready to move it over to the sunflower background. I clicked the rectangular dotted tool & highlight the whole picture & click Copy & when I paste it, it says it can't do it because selected area is empty.

Maybe I should just start fresh again & just get my background ready. Then put the whole cat picture on it & then start editing it. I'll let you know how that one goes. :D
 

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I think I can help...

The very best way I can help is if you have an instant
messenger. I can walk you through it so much easier.

Horseplaypen...your way to cut out is great...I think I could show you a way that is 3 times as fast, if you want to try it let me know.

My msn messenger is [email protected]
My aol messenger is draine2321

If you see me online...say hello and I can tell you if it is a good time
for me with my kids or not. Look forward to it! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I will take you up on that offer Dawn! I will not have time this weekend but maybe Monday or something. Thanks :wink:
 

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kitkat, the reason the program tells you the selected area is empty is most likely because you don't have the correct layer selected.

If you look over to the right while you're in PS, there's a layer box that lists the background and then any other layers you've pasted on top of the background (if you opened a picture directly into PS, then the picture is the background layer).

Make sure the layer with the picture is the highlighted layer and then try selecting, again.
 

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Victoria, you're going about it pretty much the same way I would. I find the lasso a bit hard to use as well as my freehand stinks. I do have a tip about the whiskers, though. I use the smudge tool (like you do with the fur) to replace them. I set it to normal and 100% and then set the pixels to be about the width of the original whisker, or a bit smaller (generally 2 or 3 px) then starting from the base of the original whisker, draw it carefully out. If you're starting from a whisker on a dark colored cat and it doesn't look white enough, I usually desaturate it and possibly use the color replacement tool to sample a very light area and paint over it.

That's a little sloppy, but then my finished product usually is too. I'd also like to hear other methods if anyone has any better ones.

Another tip - I find it easier to work (especially with lighter colored cats) by pasting my original image (before I start erasing) over a transparent background as a separate layer. I prefer the checked look of the background as opposed to white. Sometimes, for tough to see areas, I paint the background a high contrast color so I can clearly see what I'm doing. Since the cat is on a separate layer, I can completely get rid of that background when I need to add in other images.
 
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