Adobe Photoshop CS3 Tutorials – Extract Complex Shapes

by . March 10th, 2008

Tutorial by Markus

Ever tried to extract a model’s hair with the pen tool? Well, I gave up after a few minutes and eventually came up with another way to do that, which I’d like to share with you here in this Adobe Photoshop CS3 tutorial.

Step 1

Start with the image of your choice, I chose this one.

Step 2

Go to your Channels Palette and figure out which of these channels has the highest contrast between the object you want to extract and the background. Usually it’s the blue channel. Make a copy of that layer and make sure the layer is not hidden.

Step 3

Press CTRL+L to open up the Levels Window and drag the controllers to raise the contrast between background and the object which shall be extracted. Be careful, don’t overdo it. If the contrast is too high, we won’t be able to extract the smaller objects.

Step 4

Now use the Lasso Tool (M) to trace around remaining bright parts of the object you want to extract. In my picture for example, I made a selection of the model’s face.

Step 5

Fill the selection with black.

Step 6

CTRL+Click the channel in your Channels Palette to make a selection. Click on the main RGB Channel and now you can copy&paste the selection into a new file.

Final Image

Now you can start using your object for any kind of design project you want. This is how it looks when put on a simple white background:

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