The Extract Command is useful for selecting and extracting complicated/fine outlines. If you have objects with a lot of fine details (like hair blowing in the wind, tree branches, grass, etc.), the Extract Filter is the best tool to use. It also work wonders for objects placed on solid-colored backgrounds.
Take this image for example. It will be difficult to mask those hair from its background, but let's see how it is done.
Original Image - Image ID: 1511842 © Ekaterina Solovieva
1. Use the Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection from the image (an area which you would like to extract later)
2. Ctrl+J to create a new layer of it, then hold the Ctrl Key + Click on the layer.
NOTE: If you mess up, select the Eraser tool in the Extract filter's toolbar, fix the mistake, and switch back to the Highlight tool to continue outlining the area you want to knocked out.
Once you have selected the area;
1.Unchecked the Show Highlights and Show Fill check box.
2.Select Eyedropper Tool (I)
3.Checked the Force Foreground option and pick on a color (in this case, the hair color).
Click on the Preview bar.
Check the Extracted part. If you are not satisfy with the results, Ctrl+Z to undo the process and pick another colour that will result in the best effect. Once you are satisfied, click OK.
You will see :
1. Hold Alt + Click on the layer mask (layer 1). The black and white outline will then appear (showing areas that you have masked).
2. Choose the Magic Wand Tool (W) and click on the space you want erased (In this case, we are going to erase the background).
3. To make your selection more precise, choose Select > Modify > Expand and enter the number of pixels you'd like to expand the selection by. The closer your selection to the real object, the less white space will appear afterwards. In this case, we will expand it by 3 pixels.
You will notice that the selection has become closer to the object's outline. Example as below:
Now, remove the white area (original background) by masking Layer 1. Play around with the brush hardness, size, and opacity to achieve the best result. Brush slowly for better output.
As for the model's face, remove excess dirt by brushing them out from the Extracted layer (Layer 2). Zoom into the image if you must for a more precise, clean, and detailed result.
NOTE: Using the Extract tool will need some practice and a little attention-to-detail to achieve the best result.
That's it for now! Have fun trying on different background colors too.
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