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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Sat 08-Jun-13 03:20 PM
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"Question about manipulating selection tool"


St. Augustine, US
          

I use PSE9 and I'm trying to blur the background on some family portraits. My plan is to use the selection tool to outline the background that I want to blur. Then I will apply the gaussian blur. My problem is that the selection tool is including the heads of people instead of outlining them. The result is that the heads AND the background are blurred. How can I manipulate the selection tool so that it will outline the precise area I want to blur?

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
blw Moderator
08th Jun 2013
1
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
blw Moderator
08th Jun 2013
2
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
esantos Moderator
08th Jun 2013
3
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
blw Moderator
08th Jun 2013
4
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
Antero52 Silver Member
09th Jun 2013
5
     Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
Nikon32250 Silver Member
09th Jun 2013
6
     Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
barrywesthead Silver Member
10th Jun 2013
7
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
quenton8 Silver Member
10th Jun 2013
8
Reply message RE: Question about manipulating selection tool
esantos Moderator
10th Jun 2013
9

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 08-Jun-13 04:09 PM
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#1. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Coupla things.

First, you probably want to select the main subjects, the ones you do NOT want to blur. Then cut them out of the background layer and paste them on top in their own layer. The reason to do this is that when you apply the blur to the background, you will not get any bleed-through from the edges of the non-blurred main subjects.

Second, I don't know Elements, so I'll speak in Photoshop and hope that it translates. The way to do this in PS is to select then use Refine Edges. I personally found that to be a fairly complex task, although it is possible. If you're doing this once, fine. If you think you'll do this many times in the future, I'd invest in a plug in that specializes in this. I use Topaz ReMask, but there are others. There are whole books on doing complex selections in Photoshop!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 08-Jun-13 04:11 PM
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#2. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

And by the way, there are tools designed explicitly to do what you're after. The one I can think offhand is Alien Skin's Bokeh, but I'm sure there are competitors. I've never used any of them - I do this little enough that ReMask and Gaussian Blur as described above have been sufficient, but clearly others have found enough of a need that multiple products exist in this space.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Sat 08-Jun-13 04:38 PM
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#3. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 0


McAllen, US
          

Another way of doing this is to make a duplicate layer and apply the amount of blur you want. Then add a layer mask and paint the main subjects back in using the Brush tool.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 08-Jun-13 09:59 PM
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#4. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

I bet that's a lot easier, too!

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Sun 09-Jun-13 06:53 PM
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#5. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 3


Vantaa, FI
          

> "Then add a layer mask and *paint* the main subjects back in using the Brush tool"

Any active selection can be easily converted to a layer mask. If you have a selection active when you click the Add Layer Mask icon, the selection is converted to white (layer visible) in the mask. If you Alt-click the Add Layer Mask icon, the mask will be inverted (selected portions of the layer become invisible).

Assuming the blurred layer is on top, the blur may make accurate selection difficult. It may be easier to temporarily hide the blurred layer, perform the selection on the sharp layer, then activate the blurred layer and create the layer mask from the selection (or the inverse of the selection).

And if the mask isn't perfect, you can improve it by painting locally. But by using an active selection, you won't have to do the entire mask by painting.

Regards, Antero

  

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Nikon32250 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Mar 2004Sun 09-Jun-13 08:16 PM
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#6. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 5


St. Augustine, US
          

Thanks Antero, I will start working on that skill.

Graham
From St. Augustine, FL. "I like photographers, you don't ask questions." Ronald Reagan to White House Press Photogs

<http://www.ancientcityphotography.com/>

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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barrywesthead Silver Member Awareded for his continued support of the Nikonians community, freely sharing his expertise, particularly in the areas of digital post processing and printing. Nikonian since 07th Nov 2006Mon 10-Jun-13 12:56 PM
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#7. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 5
Mon 10-Jun-13 01:05 PM by barrywesthead

Kleinburg, CA
          

>
>Any active selection can be easily converted to a layer mask.
>
When you get to this point after having made your selection – if you find that the edges of the sharp foreground look a bit artificial against the blurred background, try blurring the selection edges by clicking on the mask and applying a Gaussian Blur of about 2 pixels. This blur option is also included in the "Refine Edges" tools.

Search Youtube with "photoshop selections refine edges hair" for some excellent videos on making selections.

Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI-9Mr7cLBY

Barry
http://art2printimages.com

  

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quenton8 Silver Member Awarded for bringing his experience to the Nikonians community helping members with printing and the use of post-processing software from the perspective of an IT professional. Nikonian since 11th Apr 2010Mon 10-Jun-13 01:07 PM
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#8. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 10-Jun-13 02:41 PM by quenton8

Toronto, CA
          

>I use PSE9 and I'm trying to blur the background on some
>family portraits. My plan is to use the selection tool to
>outline the background that I want to blur. Then I will apply
>the gaussian blur. My problem is that the selection tool is
>including the heads of people instead of outlining them. The
>result is that the heads AND the background are blurred. How
>can I manipulate the selection tool so that it will outline
>the precise area I want to blur?

Not sure what selection method you are using? (I am using CS6, but used to use PSE9).
In this case I would use the Quick Selection Tool and select the people. Do a gross selection, then enlarge the view and decrease the tools brush size which makes it work much better to do small adjustments. Remember you can both add and subtract with this tool, hold ALT to subtract.

Once you have to selection you want, you can invert the selection if you like, but I tend to stay with the people selected, then make the people into a layer dropped on a blurred background layer.

You can also refine the edges which helps too, but your selection must be correct first.

As Ernesto pointed out there are other ways to accomplish the blur, and I have used both -- and have never decided which I like best.

----
Dennis Smith.

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Mon 10-Jun-13 02:33 PM
11388 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#9. "RE: Question about manipulating selection tool"
In response to Reply # 8


McAllen, US
          

The method I described briefly is also used to a high degree by Vincent Versace. What I didn't cover is that if you use varying brush sizes, hardness, and opacity you can gain a lot of control. Certainly enough to create believable separation between your subject(s) and a created bokeh. This technique is also very effective for creating targeted lightening or shadowing.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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