Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tutorial #2: Picnik Background Removal (Pro Account *ONLY*)

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>>as of right now, there are NO effective ways to properly remove backgrounds with Picnik Basic. <<

As with Photoshop, there are several ways to do this in Picnik. I am focusing on one a simpler and effective method- but unfortunately, without dealing with refined edges, it doesn't look 100% (say in comparison with Photoshop). However, all is not lost- it's worth the time and effort!! Let's do this!

The technique is called Collage/Clone and it's quite that simple.

  1. First you will want to sign-in to your Pro account and go to the HOME menu. Click on COLLAGE.

  2. Click the side-by-side collage (I used the second option under basic and sized it to fit my image):

3. Pick an image/Upload an image from your Photobasket to drag and drop in the left side of your collage and use the resize options in the collage menu to fit your image into the collage.

4. Now, if you have a solid/generic-colored background as is the case with this image, you'll want to change your collage background color to match the image- this will make the second part of this tutorial much easier on yourself. If you are dealing with multiple colors (ex. Outdoors with trees), try to select the most prominent color- images without solid backgrounds are dreadfully hard to make a cohesive background. However, it is to be noted, that solid backgrounds will be the most effective way to drop and blend your background.

To change the background color of your collage, select the color box (it should be defaulted to black and is located by the SPACING slider). You will get a dropper tool- you'll want to click on your background color and it will automatically locate the single color in it's palette. Here is what my collage now looks like:

5. You want to CREATE>ADVANCED>CLONE. My settings were as follows- Brush size about 40, Brush hardness set to 20 (the higher the number the harder the edge). I then clicked “SOURCE SELECTION” and clicked on the center of the LEFT collage image of the face. Then I went to my blank space on the right of the collage and started cloning in the new image. If I needed to focus on a finer section, I'd zoom in and reduce my Brush size to about a size 2 and consider reducing the hardness to a 10. Clone in the image on the right. When completed, you will see the original image and the cloned image with the new Background on the right. If you over cloned a spot, you can select ERASE and set the brush- begin erasing any excess cloned spots. When done, select Apply. (NOTE: this process took me about 20 minutes in Picnik, it's a bit time consuming but the more you work at it, the quicker it can go and remember the simpler the background, the less time). Here is an in-progress image:

6. After you have applied the clone changes, you will now want to remove the original image. You may go to EDIT>CROP and select your crop points around the good image on the right. If you want losing quality, select no constraints, so you're not resizing your image to a small size.

7. Once you have cropped to the final image, you can now Save the image file. Here is my final image from Picnik:

It is not as highly advanced as the software I prefer (Adobe Photoshop CS™'s Refine Edge rocks!)... but if you're an avid Picnik-user, imho, this is the best way that I could reconcile cloning with their software.

Happy editing!



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