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My socks don't match.
Hawaiian Jellyfish

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[Tutorial] A "knockout" technique (56K warning!)

I have had a few people ask me about how I did the framing on the orchid photo ( »/showpic/dimag···1726&1=1 ), so here's a quick tutorial. I did it in Photoshop CS2, but the technique should work in pretty much any image editing software.

The technique basically has the background as an overlay rather than putting the photo on top of the background. It's easier for me to do it this way, as a knock-out. Either way will work, but this is the way that was most comfortable for me and easiest.

First step was to crop the original photo down to size. For this tutorial, I chose a width of 580 pixels, but for the photo in my gallery I used 1600 x 1200. I also did some minor image adjustments and ended up with this:

Second step was to create a new layer on top of the image, and fill it with the "background" color, in this case white. I then lowered the opacity from 100% to around 70% so the background shows through.

Third, make a careful selection on the top "background" layer and delete that part of it. This is shown below on the left as the selection and then on the right as how it looks after the unwanted part is knocked out.

Fourth, return the top layer to 100% opacity, and you have a framed flower:

Add a layer mask to the top layer and get ready to do a little hand work. I use the brush tool with a slightly soft edge and 100% black to paint around the edges and take away the parts I don't want. Don't worry about absolute precision at this point. You'll be touching up in the next few steps. And don't be afraid of magnification, either.

This is how it looks at this point:

This is how my layers look:

You might wonder why I didn't simply apply a layer mask to the part I wanted to show through as well rather than removing those pixels. The way I figure it is that no matter what, I don't want those pixels on the background layer to show, so why even have them? The layer mask won't affect them since they're not there, and it allows you a bit of slop room on the masking.

Now I change the color of my brush to white and more carefully paint the edges, also with a smaller slightly harder brush. This is where I'm really careful and take my time. If you make a mistake and chop off a bit too much, no worries. Simply select black and put it back, switch back to white and try again.

After a couple minutes of careful pixel pruning, you should end up with something like this:

I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist about this stuff, and I know that my painting technique is far form perfect. I've found the best way to find a few stray pixels is to put a stroke on the overlay. The default of 3 pixels is usually too much, so I go down to 1. In this case red is fine, although on other images, you may have to change the color.

What's great about this is a pixel of ANY opacity will show up red, so even subtle stuff can be caught without a lot of effort.As you can see, I still have a bit of touch-up to do:

You'll want to sue a fairly small hard brush for this. Don’t' worry about getting the entire "halo" around the image, but any red pixels inside the image should go away. I ended up with this:

Now the fun part, REALLY making it pop. Turn off the stroke and add an Inner Shadow. Why not a Drop Shadow? Well … this is an overlay and the shadow technically is inside of it, even thought the effect makes it look like a drop shadow. It's sounds backward, but it's not. I try to pay attention to the lighting in the photo itself to determine how the shadow falls.

These are the settings I used, but you might find something you like better:

The only thing is, we're left with an unwanted shadow.

The easiest way to get rid of that is to make a selection around it:

Make a new layer and fill with the "background" color (white).

Your layers should look something like this:

While it looks pretty good, I still want to put a 1-pixel frame on the photo. That will really make it pop. This is really easy to do. Make a selection of the overlay layer by CTRL-clicking the layer image, invert that selection (Select … Inverse) and then make that into a 1pixel border (Select … Modify … Border … 1pixel). Make a new layer and fill this selection with black.

We're almost there:

I'm a fan of layer masks, since they allow you to easily remove things without affecting the actual pixels. Simply make the layer mask, and paint some black on it to remove the unwanted lines in front of the flower.

Sign your masterpiece and that's about it.

Here is the layered PSD file so you can see how I did it:

downloadko-17.zip 822393 bytes

Happy New Year and have a "knockout" time with this technique!

Smile Its Nearly Friday

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Nice thread, been wondering how you did it without loosing too much around the petals. Nice tutorial.

Do or do not... there is no try

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That is awesome! Thanks for sharing the technique!

Broadband Ranger
Boca Raton, FL

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reply to Mospaw
Nice tutorial!!

Thanks I have been wonder how to do that.

Theres more behind the pic than the wall
reply to Mospaw
Very nice technique. Thank you for sharing it in depth.

Which No One Have Seen Before
Montreal, QC
Very Nice, now i can some beautiful thing mine too TY


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reply to Mospaw
Excellent tutorial Mospaw See Profile, make sure to submit this to the FAQs section
Expand your moderator at work

Edit This
reply to Mospaw

Re: [Tutorial] A "knockout" technique (56K warning!)

Awesome. Added to FAQ.

Pelosi, SHUT YOUR Fing Pie Hole
Saint Louis, MO

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reply to Mospaw
We had the thread on these a LONG time ago, several people submitted photos with them stepping out of the frame, some dogs and other items as well.
Same sort of deal except mostly with humans with 2 and 4 legs...
»Awesome Photoshop frame technique.
and the technique:

"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever" - David St. Hubbins

White Plains, NY
·Verizon FiOS

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reply to Mospaw
This is EXACTLY an example of the concept of community forum at its very best! Thank you, Mospaw, for going to so much effort to provide such an easy-to-follow tutorial (a little confused about the stroke part, but will play), and Lexicon5 for the other links.
The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it. -- Stanley Kubrick

4,000 Holes
Thanks for the other links leXicon5,the first one shows superb examples of this type of work at it's best.

Eschew Obfuscation
Premium,MVM,ExMod 2003-06
reply to Mospaw
Great work and an excellent tutorial as well Mospaw!

reply to Mospaw

This technique works well, but so do some others! I've been able to duplicate this method using the cs2 extract command. First I crop the area I want outside the frame and use the extract command to remove the background. Then it's a matter of moving this back groundless crop onto the cropped original whose area is framed via the canvas tool - the fit is virtually perfect and may need a small bit of cleaning up, usually with the cloning tool or one or another technique of blending.

What's really neat about this is not the techniques used, but the unexpectedness of the image outside the frame!