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 Absolute Newbie Depth Map ? - making a selection 
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Hi there, I have just download the demo of DOF Generator v. 3, and seem quite impressed with the potential of it, as well as the examples. I only very very recently (within the last couple or few days) took the plunge into Photoshop CS2, which I'm please to see that DOF integrates into perfectly as a plugin. Right now, I primarily want to experiment with the good old main objects/people in the foreground in focus, background blurred and bokeh-fied look. I understand the need to make a depth map using the original image to do this, but I just cannot figure out how to easily do this using what I've got, which I'd love to know so I can try it out before I buy this program. I have read http://www.dofpro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=103 and whichever thread that linked to it, and they all say to isolate my subject, convert to white, the background to black - my big problem is, how do I isolate my subject, whether it's a single object or a group of people, without the painstaking process of freehand clicking around every edge and then trying to get empty spaces covered too, and aghh!

I apologize if I sound like a complete "noob" at this - it's because I am. However, I have posted an image on which I wish to keep the people in focus and the background blurred, just so I can see how it's done. I would immensely appreciate a step by step, showing me how they were completely isolated, using the tools I have. I greatly appreciate the assistance. Thanks!

R.ticle One

  
martinvicanek


Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 49
Location: Germany
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Hi R.ticle One,

your question is very legitimate, and I believe that we all would like to know that little magic trick to create depth maps for photographs fast and easily. I have to admit that I usually get the best results with the simple lasso tool (yes, it IS painful!). I find it convenient to work at 200% to 400% resolution. It certainly helps if you have a tablet - I don't. The example you posted would likely take me one hour or more, but I would not consider myself particularly skilled.

Anybody ever tried some cut-out tools for that? Once you succeed in making a suitable selection, you could easily fill the area with black or white to get the desired result. Here are a few tools that I found. The list is not complete, and I haven't tried any of them:

Corel KnockOut
OnOne Software (was Extensis) Mask Pro
PS built-in extraction tool
Human Software Automask
Vertus Fluid Mask
Imagiam Mask Warrior
Chroma Magic Mask (?)
Digital Film Tools Snap

Please post your comments if you have experience with one or the other.

Greetings
Martin

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Martin Vicanek
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Anonymous
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Martin, thank you for getting back to me with your response. Oh, to be able to communicate exactly what you want done in a program to a computer - highlight these people, only, and perfectly! - on second thought, that may be a little bit scary. Wink Urgh, I shudder at the thought of using the lasso tool/polygon tool. Point, click, drag, point, click drag...yargh! I don't have a tablet either, unfortunately. If by cutout tools, you mean the list below, no, I've not tried (or heard of any of those) - I may check them out, because within PS I don't seem to be able to get the program to precisely differentiate between what I want selected and not when it is a complex form or sharing background similarities. If anyone has some Photoshop techniques I'm missing out on here, I would love to hear them. Thanks for your help again, Martin, and anyone.

R.ticle One
  
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Update! I just downloaded the demo of Vertus Fluid Mask - after messing with a touch of it's capabilities for just about a minute, I am quite dazzled by it's incredible precision! If ever there was a piece of time saving selection making plugin, I'd dare to say that this is it - shame it's about 200 dollars! Sad But I am quite impressed with it. Still up for more suggestions if anyone has them, though!

R.ticle One
  
Anonymous
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I had this problem too and use Elements 4.

I think I have hit upon a relatively simple solution for this particular type of problem within elements.

I create an adjustment layer, select the eraser tool and erase the background till only the bit of the picture I want to stay sharp is on the layer. (Admittedly it can get a bit fiddly around the detail but I have found the mask does not have to be completely accurate.) I then select the saturation slider and turn what is left of the layer white.

I then create another layer, (fill) and fill it with black.

With my foreground layer on top I then flatten the image so I get a black and white composite and save as a JPG.

Voila my foregrounds come out sharp and backgrounds with the applied depth of field.

I wish I could afford the fluid mask but there is always a way to solve these problems.

Have you tried the magic extractor tool. I use that occasionally to do the above but it can take a long time if you donít have a fast machine.

Enclosed is my latest example where the branch and birds were white the rest blak on my mask.
  
martinvicanek


Joined: 23 Oct 2005
Posts: 49
Location: Germany
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Hi!

I'd like to add one more product to my list of cutout tools:

GML GrowCut (FREEWARE) http://research.graphicon.ru/growcut/gml-growcut.html

I tried it, it is quite intuitive and fun to use, although I can't say how it compares to the others. Anyway, this is what I was able to create without much effort:



Not perfect, but I guess I haven't used the tool in the best possible way. Here is the DOFed image:



Martin

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alfaalex101


Joined: 03 Nov 2007
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Here is also another nice tutorial how to make your own depth maps...(using some of those selection programs obviously helps)

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=102294
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