Editing pictures to full white background

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
I've taken some photos that I need to have a flush white background applied to them. I've been trying to do this on GIMP, but it's taking me forever to do for each picture. I admit I'm not very skilled at doing it.

Would anyone on here be able to help? I would offer compensation.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 68000
Mar 22, 2010
1,546
11,628
I've taken some photos that I need to have a flush white background applied to them. I've been trying to do this on GIMP, but it's taking me forever to do for each picture. I admit I'm not very skilled at doing it.

Would anyone on here be able to help? I would offer compensation.
Attach an example please.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 68000
Mar 22, 2010
1,546
11,628
Are all your products like that?

That should be relatively easy to cut out.

We're not talking bicycle tires here. ;)

How many photos do you have?
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
Are all your products like that?

That should be relatively easy to cut out.

We're not talking bicycle tires here. ;)

How many photos do you have?

Well I did that myself, I did manage to do it sort of well in GIMP with a magic wand, and then I pass over the edges with a brush line (holding shift) to make smooth edges or else it's really choppy and pixelated on the edges.

This process takes me like 20 minutes a photo though, and I've been sitting at my computer, ended up doing 6 in 2 hours, which I find is super inefficient.

I only have like 12 at the moment, but I have to do this semi-regularly (~50 pictures per month) so I'm trying to figure out how to be more efficient. And yes they're all taken on this plexiglass photo table.
 

DevinPitcher

macrumors regular
May 23, 2009
153
3
Michigan, USA, Earth
This is what my job consists of at work, and I have gotten quite fast at it. It takes time to learn to do it, but eventually I can fly through them in mintes each. Our items are a little more complex sometimes though.



I usually use the polygonal lasso tool and go around them, unless they have a really good contrast to the background and the magic wand tool and make a good selection for me.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
This is what my job consists of at work
I'm guessing you work there part time? Unless they have hundreds of pictures each day for you to do? And that's really well done, do you do it on photoshop? Would you recommend me to use photoshop over GIMP? Is the lasso tool better?
 

chrono1081

macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
7,585
1,568
Isla Nublar
I'm guessing you work there part time? Unless they have hundreds of pictures each day for you to do? And that's really well done, do you do it on photoshop? Would you recommend me to use photoshop over GIMP? Is the lasso tool better?
I personally recommend Photoshop over Gimp. While I completely respect and am grateful for open source software, IMO Gimp is an example of a poorly designed open source software. Its very cumbersome and "messy".

I'm sure someone on here will freak out that I insulted Gimp but frankly, I can't stand it.

I'd recommend Photoshop or Pixelmator. Photoshop you can use thinks like channels to help mask difficult selections. Not sure if Pixelmator does this as I use Pixelmator for its real time gradient tool and its generators.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
I personally recommend Photoshop over Gimp. While I completely respect and am grateful for open source software, IMO Gimp is an example of a poorly designed open source software. Its very cumbersome and "messy".

I'm sure someone on here will freak out that I insulted Gimp but frankly, I can't stand it.

I'd recommend Photoshop or Pixelmator. Photoshop you can use thinks like channels to help mask difficult selections. Not sure if Pixelmator does this as I use Pixelmator for its real time gradient tool and its generators.
Do I go for this? Like is it the best price? And I figured i might as well get creative suite if photoshop is $213 alone. I feel like I could get the hang of illustrator.

http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Standard-Student-Teacher-Edition/dp/B007S02Z76/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1346004043&sr=8-4&keywords=adobe+creative+suite+6
 

TheGenerous

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2010
929
172
I'm an Austronaut
Do I go for this? Like is it the best price? And I figured i might as well get creative suite if photoshop is $213 alone. I feel like I could get the hang of illustrator.

http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Standard-Student-Teacher-Edition/dp/B007S02Z76/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1346004043&sr=8-4&keywords=adobe+creative+suite+6
There's a gigantic thread on softboxes, and lightroom would be more useful if your original photography set up is optimal. Your set up will save you editing time.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=281524&page=283

It's 280 pages, for a DIY lightbox and has tons of example from other users.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
There's a gigantic thread on softboxes, and lightroom would be more useful if your original photography set up is optimal. Your set up will save you editing time.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=281524&page=283

It's 280 pages, for a DIY lightbox and has tons of example from other users.
Yeah I did a much better job last time. For one my softbox should have been like 6 feet further, and my shutter speed smaller, and iso slightly higher. It would have created a much better white background.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
You need some photo help there..... With the right lighting, 80% of what you want done would be done in camera. The other 20% could probably be done in Lightroom.

The trick is to light the background separately from the object. In this case throwing a lot of light behind and underneath the plexi is the key to make it go white.

Would you believe that in the days of film we could get what you wanted in camera, no Photoshop involved?
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
You need some photo help there..... With the right lighting, 80% of what you want done would be done in camera. The other 20% could probably be done in Lightroom.

The trick is to light the background separately from the object. In this case throwing a lot of light behind and underneath the plexi is the key to make it go white.

Would you believe that in the days of film we could get what you wanted in camera, no Photoshop involved?
Completely agree with you, but that would mean investing more money into lights. I'm against using halogens because they soak up a ton of energy and get extremely hot. Are there any cheap alternatives?
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
What are you using for lights now, and how many do you have?

Are they strobe (flashes) or ambient?

With respect, this is why a professional photographer gets paid. Your earlier quote "Yeah I did a much better job last time. For one my softbox should have been like 6 feet further, and my shutter speed smaller, and iso slightly higher. It would have created a much better white background." tells me that are not knowledgable in this field. Please don't take this wrong way. However, it would be exactly like you trying to teach me about what you do professionally.... maybe it could be done, but is it worth your time?

Use flourescent tubes if you don't want to use halogen. Make sure that they are all the same make (same colour) and then you can white balance them back to neutral. Use your camera's light meter to set the light level on the white plexi. Overexpose the plexi by at least 2 stops, 4 stops may be bit much... depends on your equipment.

Good Luck.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
What are you using for lights now, and how many do you have?

Are they strobe (flashes) or ambient?

With respect, this is why a professional photographer gets paid. Your earlier quote "Yeah I did a much better job last time. For one my softbox should have been like 6 feet further, and my shutter speed smaller, and iso slightly higher. It would have created a much better white background." tells me that are not knowledgable in this field. Please don't take this wrong way. However, it would be exactly like you trying to teach me about what you do professionally.... maybe it could be done, but is it worth your time?

Use flourescent tubes if you don't want to use halogen. Make sure that they are all the same make (same colour) and then you can white balance them back to neutral. Use your camera's light meter to set the light level on the white plexi. Overexpose the plexi by at least 2 stops, 4 stops may be bit much... depends on your equipment.

Good Luck.
I'm no professional but I do have a more then average understanding of photography.

Here's an example of my work: http://i47.tinypic.com/9v8oqe.jpg

That aside, this job was partly rushed, and I do admit I never thought of overexposing just the plexi first by 2 stops, that should really help me. I'll remember that for my next shoot, thank you.

I'm currently using 3 softboxes with 4 fluorescent bulbs each. Two sets were lighting under the table (one set of four was lighting the floor, and the other set of four was lighting the back, the third one lighting the object itself) I should probably also get an extra lighting in the front, as just one angle of light from the front isn't ideal, at least I don't think it is.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
I'm no professional but I do have a more then average understanding of photography.

Here's an example of my work: http://i47.tinypic.com/9v8oqe.jpg

That aside, this job was partly rushed, and I do admit I never thought of overexposing just the plexi first by 2 stops, that should really help me. I'll remember that for my next shoot, thank you.

I'm currently using 3 softboxes with 4 fluorescent bulbs each. Two sets were lighting under the table (one set of four was lighting the floor, and the other set of four was lighting the back, the third one lighting the object itself) I should probably also get an extra lighting in the front, as just one angle of light from the front isn't ideal, at least I don't think it is.
Nice photo....

Again.... and it helps to know what you know.

You don't need softboxes under the plexi... the plexi itself will act as a diffuser. Bare bulbs will give you more light. You may want to put a scrim up across the front though to keep the light from spilling into your lense.

Since you have ambient light.... you can pick whatever aperture gives you the DoF you need. You'll just need to adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

If you are actually working with softboxes, and if the example you provided of the computer is typical... you can probably work with just one soft box and reflectors. Recall that you can adjust the recorded brightness of the lights by moving them closer or further away from subject.... you can use the inverse square law to estimate (or for those of us who don't do math before our 2nd coffee. If you move the light so it is twice as far from the subject you lose to two stops of light. Reverse that if you are moving the lights closer).

And again... with respect.... just because you are good at making your images look good in post production doesn't mean you are good at studio photography. It is a speciality that requires a good technical grounding. If your shots are all much like the computer example, it won't be difficult to get a good set up though.
Good Luck.
 

twiggy0

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 8, 2009
352
0
Nice photo....

Good Luck.
You're right, studio photography in itself is a whole other concept, just like street photography or landscape photography.

Thank you for the tips, I'm sure it'll improve my photos drastically when I do my next take.
 

righteye

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2011
337
47
London
With a simple shape like the laptop example i would use the pen tool, it takes time and patience to learn and it feels completely unwieldy at first but its fast and accurate once mastered.
I learnt this technique by watching a one of the Lynda.com tutorials.(Subscribe)
If the colours of the object aren't similar to the background one can use the the colour range tool to make a mask.
 

supabooma

macrumors newbie
Feb 19, 2006
27
0
My 2cents

Don't try and create a white background from your actual exposure.

Focus on lighting the product. That's all that matters.

Place your objects on top of a small, clear plexi stand in order to separate it from the table surface. The table surface itself acts like a big diffuser, and you have no lighting control from underneath if you put it directly on top of the large plexi. Your product images will look flat if evenly lit from all angles.

Make sure you have good separation from the surrounding background, although this doesn't mean the background has to be white. In fact, blowing out the background may result in soft edges if the light is too hot in the back.

Use photoshop and the pen tool to accurately path the beautifully-lit product out. Done.
 
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snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
Don't try and create a white background from your actual exposure.

Focus on lighting the product. That's all that matters.
...

Use photoshop and the pen tool to accurately path the beautifully-lit product out. Done.
Another good suggestion. I was raised with film, and just naturally think that way. For me it's easier to light it and minimize Photoshop time. But if lighting is a challenge, then don't even try for a white background... Shoot against something, anything, that you can easily mask out.