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Transparent images - can anyone help please?

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Transparent images - can anyone help please?

I have started a basic web design course and am currently creating a small 5-page website for my friend.  I have managed to make a transparent layer using a vignette that I had made (the layer being the photograph canvas).  Now I want to make a transparent layer so that I can 'lift' images out of the photograph.
For instance, I want to remove the background from this Cairn Terrier.  I have Gimp and Paint Shop Pro but have not succeeded with either.
Got closest with Gimp - saved the image in PNG, loaded it, clicked Alpha Channel, fuzzy tool but that is where I get stuck as I can't manipulate it properly and I get dotted lines all over the place.  All I want is Cairn minus the background.  Please can anyone tell me how to do it?
8 REPLIES
Moderator
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

Best effort but I only have Photoshop Elements 2.
Really need an upgrade.

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Superuser
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

This YouTube video demonstrates a way of cutting foreground from background using GIMP. (Many more tutorials linked on that page.)
Enlarging the image helps with placing nodes to form the path. Dragging the handles allows the path to be curved where appropriate without the need for an excessive number of nodes. It takes a while, and a modicum of patience on complex shapes, but satisfactory results can be achieved with care.
It's probably worth doing a quick trial to get the hang of it first, then repeat for a better fit.
David
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

Thank you for the replies and for trying to help.
Quote
It takes a while, and a modicum of patience on complex shapes,

I think that this sums it up.  I have got the idea in Gimp but I imagine that you have to keep selecting some pixels, click Edit/Clear and then it will work.  As you say, it just takes time and practice.
Thought it might be easier in PSP but TBH I find this rather more complicated than Gimp.  Plus, Gimp documentation is very good and there is lots of information on the web to help get to grips with things.
I will head off over to the link later to check it out. 
Moderator
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Posts: 26,931
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

In Photoshop I use the 'Magic Wand' tool which often works quite well but when there is a background area of similar colour, shade and texture to the subject (like his back and tail area) it falls down.
This I found to be the case with the dog. At work I used a full commercial version of Photoshop and even it had problems in this area.
The 'Lasso' tool also was a pain at times but with patience could produce acceptable results which needed the bare minimum of retouching.
Good luck Poppy. Smiley

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Superuser
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

Using the "path" tool was what I had in mind. After completing the circuit the anchor points and handles can be adjusted to improve the fit. I assume you have the original image rather than just the thumbnail to work on which should provide more detail for fitting.
Afterwards any knobbly edges can be painted out or blurred to create a smoother shape.
David
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

I did this using Gimp 2.6.11; path tool with a bit of edge painting (in white).
It's over a year since my last use of the program, considerably out of practice. Smiley
David
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Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

Considering you are out of practice, that looks very good.  The instructions are to use the fuzzy tool so I didn't know that you could use other ones instead. 
I need to familiarise myself more with the different  tools perhaps!  Huh
HighLordPhanty
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Posts: 54
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Transparent images - can anyone help please?

The main point I'd make about doing this on GIMP (or anything else) is USE A LAYER MASK.
Instead of changing the original image, create a mask that modifies how parts of the image are displayed. You can make a mess of the mask as often as you like until you're happy then flatten the image to get the file you want to save.