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  • erasing background but retaining shadows

    Hi sorry everyone another post!

    im trying to erase the background from this picture so i can add a red wall in the back and a white floor. there are shadows under the sofa and from the boy and girl which i would like to keep. how do i go about this? is it best to erase all the background and add shadows myself? what are the best effects to use to create a solution for this kind of project?

    many thanks!
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  • #2
    I would cut out the shadows and take the original for reference and put them back in manually.
    Design is only as good as what it achieves

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    • #3
      Cut the original shadows out, always. Then for adding shadows, you have many different options. If you have a textured background, you can use the burn tool on it to create shadows, or you can create a 'multiply' layer between the background and imposed image, and paint on it with a dark brush (then blur and reduce opacity after), or you can make a drop shadow, use Create Layers, and skew that shadow layer with free transform (for long shadows caused by low sunlight), to keep the shape of the object in the shadow (also blur and reduce opacity after).
      Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
      mediamainline.com
      cyclopsphoto.ca

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      • #4
        ^^ agreed ... thats what I always do ... trying to keep the shadows ends up making it look choppy... I just remove everything but the original picture and re-add the shadows.
        _______________________________________
        Hello... My name is Kittie and I'm a Font-a-holic.

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        • #5
          Agreed, get rid of the shadows then make new ones

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          • #6
            or you could just select the people without the shadows and invert the selection then just replace or the colors from image>adjustments

            plus youll get to retain the natural gradients that exist on the wall and flooring

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            • #7
              Yes, shadows are one of the easier things you will have to draw in your life.
              It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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              • #8
                Handling this is not difficult with this type of image, where the shadows are on a plain white ground. It involves an extra couple of moves. (Technique courtesy of Ben Willmore, by the way, one of the all-time gurus of Photoshop.)

                1. Select and extract your kids and couch and put them on their own layer.

                2. Hide this new layer for the moment (not essential, but I prefer to), then press Ctrl-Alt-~ (Command-Option-~ on the Mac) to load just the luminosity as a selection.

                3. Invert the selection (Ctrl-Shift-i on the PC, Command-Shift-i on the Mac) so you have the shadows selected, rather than the highlights. Check this in the channels palette, and if necessary use Levels to make the surrounding background area pure black (0, 0, 0) so you know there is NO selection outside of the shadows. Don't worry about the actual image area. It will be hidden by the image layer you already have.

                4. Create a new layer and fill the selection with black. If you look at this layer by itself, you'll see it preserves the transparency of the original, specifically in the shadow areas you're looking for.

                5. Deselect, hide the background layer, and Alt(Option) click on the shadows layer. Remove anything you don't want with the eraser tool. There shouldn't be anything, but, hey, this is the real world.

                6. Reveal your couch-and-kids layer, and put a pure white background under everything just to check. At this point, you can put in any background you like, and the shadows will be preserved exactly as they were.

                The main advantage of this technique is that the shadows now conform exactly to the original lighting on the image, which can be very, very difficult to simulate with a brush. In this particular case, I would not go with a simulation technique, since you have more than one light source visible on the subject and in the shadows.

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