How to Cut out People & Objects in Photoshop


Tutorial info:

Skills required: Basic photoshop knowledge
Tutorial Difficulty: easy
Source Files included:No

Making Cut outs

This is somthing your gonna be faced with alot as a graphic artist and even if your just a novice you will be faced with this issue once in a while.But any way cutting people or objects out of a photo/image is not always easy and there alot of techniques out there to do so.How ever before i even get into that your best option is to always always plan ahead your photos if possible.What this means is setup your images so that they can be properly cutout later by using blue screens or any solid color background that will isolate the person or object from its background from blending with each other if you are able to do this you will save your self a alot of time and effort.I know this is usually not the case and you will have images you cant do anything about so lets get into some of the techniques you can use.So here we go!!


Technique 1 Using the Magnetic Lasso

Best used for: Images with good edge contrast

This is one of my personal favorite tools to start off with when making cuts outs.Why is because this tool gives you very good results with most images,but how ever it may require you to do some tweaking of its setting every once in awhile, but anyway here is how it works.

Have a look at this photo below...Notice how its edges are clearly visible from its background and very sharp this is the ideal condition to use this tool.Now to show you iam not full of it iam going to show you this in action

Photo by federico stevanin

In this Clip notice how smoothly the selection moves along the edges

Technique 2 Using the Select Color Range Tool

Best used for:Making cuts out based on color / can also be used for cutting out hair

This tool is best used when there is a color or range of colors that are isolated in a certain part of a photo that you need cut out. Other wise you will end up with unwanted selection of a photo.With this tool you can controll the range of colors you wish to select and even the amount of transparency.In some cases this can also be used on hair in the right conditions.Here are some examples of this tool in action.

Take a look at this photo below...Notice how the yellow flower is isolated from any of the same color as its self.These are the conditions you should look for if you want to use the color range tool to cut somthing out in 1 click.How ever when using this tool you will have to adjust the setting alot to get it just right i will show you this right now.

Photo by Simon Howden

Technique 3 Extract

Best used for:Cutting out Hair

When ever your faced with cutting out very wispy hair the blends in the background use the extract tool !! dont even think about using anything else, you will just be wasting your time.With this tool its very simple to use, you simply out line the person that needs to be cut out with a green marker tool then fill the out lines center with the paint bucket tool and bam it cuts the hair out just like that.How ever there will be some tweaking involved but not to complicated you just have to be sure that you stay along the edges of the hair.Ok now let me show you how this is done. Take a look at the photo below.

See how wispy her hair is and blending into the background the extract tool is your best choice in a situation like this

Photo by

Ok now from the video above you will see that there are some left over red areas and i didnt bother to fix them.The reason why is because iam just trying to show you proof of concept here and how the tool works.But if i wanted to get red of the red area i would have to make a better outline with the green marker and delete those shades of red using another tool like color range or just colorizing the red areas to the same color as the rest of the hair.


Technique 4 Using brushs / Eraser tool

Best used for: Touch ups

Ok now when it comes using the eraser to its all about how steady your hand is.Me personally i only use this tool for small touch ups after i have used some of the other techniques.Using the eraser tool to make your entire cut out can be crude and very tedious and i really suggest you avoid using this one to start your cuts unless its a very easy photo to cut out. Iam not gonna give you any examples here since its so obvious how it works.

Technique 5 Magic Wand Tool

Best used for: Making General cuts outs and photos with solid color backgrounds or colors that are similar and grouped next to each other

Ahhh Yes! the good old magic wand tool its been around for like forever and still does a pretty good job.This tool is good for starting out your cut outs but not all that great for making touch up cuts,This is a great tool when you have a photo that has a good difference in color from its background but can be a nightmare to use if its not and will result in really jagged cut outs.In my experience with this tool i only use it when iam in a rush to make a cut out just to see what iam dealing with.Ok so here is the bottom line... check out this photo below and notice that the background is blue in some spots but a lighter blue in other spots in a situation like this the magic wand to is a good choice because by adjusting its parameter you can select those variations of color in the background since there so similar.


Ok so i have shown you 5 ways to make cuts outs and if you have been paying attention you will notice that no one tool fits all situations which means your going to have to combine some of these techniques in many situations to get your cutouts just right. You may feel like this will be hard but believe me its not. Carefully look at your photo's and decide what parts can best be cut out from these techniques and be sure to make duplicate layers for your self just in case you mess up.Good luck!!



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Total Comments (2). Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:


12:00pm on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 

הערכים בויקיפדיה נכתבים על ידי הציבור הרחב-not true . most of the articles are werttin by few people. usually the writters belong to group like-the history of israel or chimia. ויקיפדיה היא גם האנצ... read more »


7:14pm on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

thanks a lot.... it's my dream to learn this stuff

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