Creating your own cutouts for use in your eLearning courses might seem a little scary to the uninitiated, but with a little practice, it quickly becomes even easier than clipping someone out of a Polaroid photo with scissors.
To begin, find a picture of a person, animal, or object that you would like to use. For my example, I’ll use the gentleman third from the left in this image.
Start by selecting the Background Eraser Tool.
To use it properly, your background (or whatever it is you want to remove) needs to be under the cross. When left clicked, everything within the circle that is a similar color to what’s under the cross will be erased. This tool works best when there is a lot of color contrast between the background and object, but it can also be used in some circumstances where both colors are very similar.
Notice how in this image the man’s shirt is very close to the color of the background, and therefore part of the shirt disappeared along with the background, leaving a ghostly shadow of a shirt.
To remedy this, we will have to lower the tolerance of the Background Eraser Tool.
All this means is that we are making the tool more choosy about what colors it erases. At 100% tolerance, the eraser will erase everything within the circle that is even somewhat similar to what’s under the cross. But when we lower the tolerance to 1%, we are telling the tool that we only want to get rid of things that match the color under the cross exactly. Most jobs will call for something in between the two extremes, so experiment with it and use your best judgment.
Sometimes two colors are so close that even the lowest tolerance won’t distinguish effectively between the two, taking odd shaped chunks out of the image. In cases like these, I suggest you zoom in close and use a very careful touch with the normal eraser to manually erase the background yourself.
In cases like this where the background eraser has overstepped its bounds and caused a person or object to look see-through, or if the regular eraser removes a needed chunk entirely, it’s time to bust out the “History Brush Tool”
The History Brush restores things to their original state. Brush it lightly over objects that weren’t supposed to be erased, and they will be restored.
Once you have the basic shape of your person separated from the others, pull out the regular eraser and wipe out everything else that needs erasing.
Take a moment to double check that all the edges are clean and smooth, zooming in close and using either the background eraser or the regular eraser to get rid of any unneeded chunks.
And voila! You’ve got yourself a quality person cutout!
The final step is saving your image.
Go to File, and Save as.
Choose a file name, and finally, make sure you save the file as a .PNG. Using a .PNG is the only file type that allows for transparent backgrounds, allowing you to position your cutout people images in whatever design you choose.
Here is another perspective on How to Clip Out People Images in Photoshop.
Do you prefer another way to do cutout people images? Share with us your comments below.