How do I cut and paste a person in Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by c073186, May 16, 2008.

  1. c073186 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    I have a photo of two people - I want to take those two people and put them in another photograph and make it look like it was real. How can this be done in Photoshop? The only thing I know about for this would be the magnetic lasso tool, but are there other things I can do to make it look more realistic? I'm new to Photoshop so any suggestions are appreciated. (Or if anyone knows of a link to a site that has good tutorials that would be helpful also)

  2. dalvin200 macrumors 68040

    Mar 24, 2006
    Nottingham, UK
    have you tried photoshop elements 6 for mac? this can be done quite easily using the group shot feature...not sure if CS3 has this feature or not..
  3. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    No I have not used Photoshop Elements; I only have CS3 Extended.
  4. wakerider017 macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2006
    US of A
    The only way to make it look real is to do it slowly by hand with my favorite the Polygonal Lasso or just the regular Lasso...

    P.S. This thread may have been better placed in the design thread....
  5. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    In any case, youll have to just take the time to learn the tools a bit, and use them to do what you need.

    Depending on the two photo's lighting etc, it may be as simple as cutting around each person and moving them together. Otherwise there will be alot of tweaking to get the shadows, highlights, and color balance to match.
  6. hobbbz macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    We are not elite. We are not the only ones who deserve to know the "photoshops magics" stop shutting this person out.

    Since you have CS3 i would start with the Quick Selection tool (W) basically everything you click on will be added to the selection you're making and it is a smart selection so it will find the correct parts of the person with little trouble.

    once you select your people I would make a mask out of your selection by clicking the 3rd icon on the bottom of the layers palette (looks like a rectangle with a white circle inside it)

    then you can refine your mask by using the brush tool, painting white to reveal more of the image and black to hide more of the image.

    Or you can skip all this and go to Filter>Extract...
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    shift-select (to add to a selection) and option-select (to subtract) are your friends. Also, you'll probably want to play with the feathering settings to realistically blur your edge.

    Here's an okay tutorial on selecting stuff.
  8. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    "refine edge" is very handy for this as well.

    It's not always so easy to do cut/paste people and have it look authentic though.
  9. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Depending on the background, the background eraser tool can be useful for removing things around whatever you want to keep in the shot or layer- I tend to duplicate the image in a layer and work on that so I can click in and out the full picture and go back and add another layer if I miss something or take out too much.
  10. pickledegg macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2008
  11. Lone Deranger macrumors 68000

    Lone Deranger

    Apr 23, 2006
    Tokyo, Japan
    Best thing to do is to use the plain old lasso tool (l) to quickly and roughly outline the figure you want to transplant. Drag it into the target image with the move tool (v) and scale and reposition with the transform tool functions :)apple: + t). Hit return when happy.
    Next add a layer mask to the layer of the person you just added. This will allow you to paint the layer's opacity over the background layer.
    Hit 'd' to reset your colours to black and white and switch to the brush tool (b). Painting in the layer mask (make sure you've got the layer mask selected and not the colour part of the layer) with black will hide, while painting with white will unhide the pixels of that layer.
    Use hard edged or soft feathered brushes to get the desired type of edge blend. Don't worry about making mistakes. You're not erasing pixels, you're just hiding them. If you accidentally painted out a bit you want to keep, switch colours to white (x) and paint them back in. :)
    Play with the Opacity and Flow percentages of the brush tool to control the behaviour of the paint laid down by the brush tool. [ And ] will scale the brush size down and up respectively.
    Add adjustment layers grouped to the added person layer to do any necesarry colour grading and luminosity balancing. Adjustment layers can always be tweaked, removed or blended, so unlike the normal grading tools they are lossless. Keep an eye out for black levels, try and match them as closely as possible for better results.
    If you really want to go to town you can have a go at fixing any light direction differences that might be present but that's perhaps a step too far if you are a beginner.
    The more precise you are, the better the results will be, ultimately.
    Save document in PSD to preserve all your work.

    Hope this helps!
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Lots of advice here about how to select the person from the photo. What it all boils down to is using a selection tool you like and adding and removing and refining the selection. Many times you can select the background and then invert the selection. Expect it to take a bit of time. When you are done you will have a mask.

    Now the other part of your question, making it look "real" this is hard. First off the light on the cut out person and in the new scene has to be the same. From the same direction, the same color, and softness. You can't drop a person shot outdoors under a clear sky into a scene shot in the morning under overcast sky. Also peolle cast shadows and you may have to draw one in. Many times it is best to drop the person into the new scene and then place some other object over him so as to hide the prt where the feet contact the ground. Or maybe you can add some blur to hide your work. The "making it real" part is by far harder then selecting the person out of the first shot. Doing this in a group photo is the simplest case because you can put the person in the rear row and only have his face show, Hard to do a whole person unless you planned for it when you did both shots.

    That said, I'm working on a joke Photo album. All my wife's pictures of our daughter are the same: Little girl standing dead center in frame looking into lens with a different background in each shot. I'm collecting famous, landmark backgrounds (great wall in China, Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel tower and so on. I'll make a "Jamie's World Tour" and it will end with her on the moon with the lander in the background. For the pictures of the girl, I'll shoot her in front of a plain white wall and I'll grossly over expose the wall. In PS I'l be able to select the wall then invert the selection and have her "cut out" in 5 seconds. I'll need about two dozen poses with the wall, leaning, standing, sitting with different cloths. I'll move the light to match the lighting direction of each background shot. This is what I meant by "planning". A tiny bit of planning can save hours of PS work.
  13. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    If you want the professional way to do it, create a path around the subject using the pen tool. It's time consuming and strenuous but it will give you the best results no matter what background hands down.

    If you want it quick and dirty, depending on the background that is, use the "Extract" filter and highlight the edges green and fill in what you want to keep blue. That tool senses contrast, so if you subject's edge contrast matches the background contrast it will get messy. Use this tool then use a soft eraser to clean up the edges.
  14. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007

    With the green marker draw a thin line around the outline of the people you want to remove, then with the fill tool, fill it in (should be blue). Then hit preview. If there are any edges that need retouching there are 2 other tools you can use to refine the edges or take away anything that shouldn't be there.

    You can also make a quick mask by selecting the quick mask button at the bottom of your tool bar and then painting in the people with the paint brush. Then when you deselect quick mask, the people (or whatever you painted on) will be selected.
  15. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005

    It's even harder making something not real look real.

    To do it right, you have to set all of your shots up with the intended composite in mind. Light the exact same way. Shoot in front of white high key backdrops. Use the extract tool along with Quick Mask mode to pull people out, then use blending modes, adjustment layers, and masking to help blend the two together. Don't be afraid to paint shadows on a top blank layer to further merge the two elements into the same location.
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    That's great. I like the part where if says "left" on the left glove too.
  17. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    Thanks for all of the replies everyone. I knew this would not be a super simple task but I just needed some advice to start.
  18. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I'm late, but my advice: use masking

    The problem with trying to get the cut-out just right is that it can be very very frustrating. Take your lasso, or whatever tool you want (magic wand, etc) and use the "add" and "subtract" to get it -close-

    Then copy the selection to a new layer

    Then create a mask on that layer - on CS3 it's very easy.

    Then you make sure that layer is on top (it should be by default)

    Then you click on THE MASK and using a small brush (a bit of feathered edge works well here) you can paint BLACK on the mask to make the parts you don't want just magically disappear.

    The real beauty of this approach is that if you make a mistake, then just hit "x" and you'll be painting with white which will pull the bit you just "erased" right back again. It's very easy to just paint black then white, back and forth on a mask and get it just right. You can also use the "[" and "]" keys to quickly adjust the paintbrush size.

    I don't know how clear that is, but I have found masking an incredibly useful resource on many levels. Just remember that "white reveals and black conceals" when working on a mask.

  19. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Traditionally I would have masked. Recently I have started using paths. Polygonal L works too. As people have said, it's a skill you have to learn, but it can be great fun and certainly something you can teach yourself - though you may end up using tools in inefficient ways.
  20. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2007
    I love how there are 75 different suggestions. Just shows how much freedom there is in Photoshop (and how overwhelming it can be).
  21. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    This is the way I have been doing it for years. It takes a little longer, but for me it is what I do and gives you a pretty good amount of control.

    I found this awhile ago and have been using it ever since. It is a little more time consuming especially if the subject you are taking out has a lot of edges. There are other ways, as you can see by this thread.

    Good luck!
  22. Baron58 macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2004
    :D I saw the thread title and was tempted to post something like "select person, cmd-X, cmd-V", but this picture sooo beats that!

  23. BrianFD3S macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2008
    Using paths is the best way to go in terms of accuracy of selection, but unfortunately it requires the most work..
  24. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    The way I would do it in Photoshop CS3

    1. Use the quick selection tool to select the person and then "refine edges"
    2. Once happy with the selection copy using Cmd C
    3. Open the photo you want to paste the selection into and paste using Cmd V
    4. Use Edit / Transform / scale to get the size right.
    5. Once happy with the result, flatten the image and save.
  25. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    I tried to make a path and then a channel but then when I go to Extract and I choose the channel, the green line it creates is not solid so I basically have to redo it or else when I try to fill it in it will fill the whole picture.

Share This Page