Image Extraction Using Channels in Photoshop

One of the most sought-after tutorial a Photoshop user needs to know is how to extract images, ranging from simple to the more complex one, like strands of blown hair, trees, and other images that has intricate edges. Dealing with backgrounds can be a headache also if it happens to be in different colors and hues. Flat, solid colors are the easy ones to work with, which is why most tutorials posted across the web uses this simple photos as their subject.

In this tutorial though, we will tackle the extraction work in a more detailed approach, and the use of the not-so-common Channels tool in Photoshop. Although I believe that the more advanced users of the program are very much familiar with this, especially with layer masking, and use this tool for their extraction work.






Step 1

First, it’s important to note that our image is in RGB mode, and that we will be sticking in this mode throughout the course of this tutorial. If you read Part 1 of this series (or if you are already familiar with channel basics), you will recall that every RGB image contains a Red, Green and Blue channel. Let’s start by analyzing the 3 channels to determine which one will provide the best starting point for extracting the model from the photograph. Here are the greyscale representations of each channel.

Red Channel

Red Channel

Green Channel

Green Channel

Blue Channel

Blue Channel

Since the hair is going to be the most challenging part of the extraction, what we are really looking for is the channel where we have the best contrast between the hair and the background. The red channel would probably work, but it’s a bit lighter than is really ideal, so we’ll scratch that one.
The blue and the green channels are pretty similar in terms of the contrast between the hair and the background, so either of those would probably work. However, I think that the blue channel is probably the better option, so let’s go ahead and duplicate it. You can do this by either right-clicking and selecting Duplicate Channel from the menu, or by dragging the blue channel down to the new icon in the channels palette.

Blue Channel Copy

Blue Channel Copy

Step 2

Now, with our duplicate blue channel selected, we are going to adjust the brightness and contrast. Select Image>Adjustments>Levels from the menu. For this image, I used the values below for the settings.
These numbers will vary drastically from photograph to photograph, but the basic idea is to adjust these values to the point where the background is white and most of the hair is black. The thin strands, however, should retain a certain amount of grey, as you can see in the screenshot above. Also, try to increase the contrast to the necessary minimum, since too much contrast can cause some of the finer details to vanish, and for some of the softer edges to become jagged and rasterized.


levels result

Now, the result is going pretty well. Let us enhance more the contrast by making the hair strands stand out and the background totally white. Afterwards, we’ll paint the image totally black. We will be using the Burn Tool and Paintbrush to do the blackening.


Step 3

In this step, we will make a selection of what we just made. To do so, press Ctrl + click on the blue copy channel. Marching ants will be seen as a result, signifying the selection is executed. Click the RGB channel to make it active, then turn off your blue channel for now.


Step 4

Next, switch back to your layers palette. Note that we have to inverse first our image before going to the next step, so go to Select>Inverse… This will result to white foreground (visible) and black background (not visible) as seen in the layer mask thumbnail that we will do next. Hence, with layer 0 (our original image) active, make a layer mask by clicking the mask icon below the layers palette. Here’s how it looks:

Layer Mask

Layer Mask

Selected image pasted into mask

Selected image pasted into mask

Step 5

Create a new layer now or open an image that will serve as your new background. Drag this below your existing layer. In my case, I just made a blue gradient as my background as seen below.

New BG

New BG

Image with new BG

Image with new BG

Step 6

Now it’s the finishing touches… Grab the Burn Tool and carefully brush away the fuzziness around the image especially the thin strands of hair. Don’t overdo it though to maintain some of the strands to its grayish state. Optionally, you can enhance the whole image by using the Curves in Image adjustments. Here is the final result :


How To Create Your Own Windows 7 Theme

There’s this forum in a website where a member asks fellow-members ‘how to make his own windows theme’. Sort of being challenged, I then searched tutorials how to really make one. To make it short, I did found one. And I want to share!

Although the one featured here is for Windows 7 Theme, it is very well applicable to other Windows versions (sans the Aero effect on older versions) as well.


1. Right-click anywhere on your desktop. Below the menu box that appears, click Personalize (at the bottom). The image below would then appear.

* The images at the bottom (Desktop Background, Window Color, Sound, Screensaver and their corresponding settings below them) are the components that makes a THEME. We need to change the settings in each component to make a unique theme of your own.

2. Time to create the theme. So, first, we need to change the Desktop Background by clicking the Desktop Background link. The image below will then show up. You can now then choose your background that you’ve created or selected from the web. Save it.

* Shown here are KickAss Torrents wallpapers I made myself, put into a single folder. Yes, you should make a folder out of your chosen background file/files so you can browse and select. If not in a folder, you won’t see it!

Ok, one down! We’ll go to the next…

3. Click the Window Color link. Select the color of your choice like the one shown below. This will change the color of your border, start menu and taskbar. Enable or disable the transparency and set the corresponding intensity. If done, Save it.

4. Done with the Window Color, you can now then change the Sounds. Choose the sound file from the directory or maybe the one that you’ve downloaded (which I think you would prefer). Save once you are finished.

5. A lot of Screensaver from the web to choose from. You can download several of them and choose one to be your screen saver. To select, click the Screen Saver link and the Screen Saver Settings will appear like the one below.

Choose your preferred Screen Saver. You can further alter your other settings here like the power settings.
Once finished, click Apply then Ok.

Name your theme then Save
. Wow, now you have your own theme!

Share your theme

If you wish to share it, click your new theme you’ve just created, then select Share Theme. This will then be saved into a .thm (theme pack) format that you can share with your friends!

Transparent, Pressed Text Effect in Photoshop

A 2-3 minutes tutorial on how to create a transparent, pressed-in text effect in Photoshop is our topic this time. It’s an easy-to-do, few clicks and you’re done!

1. Create a new layer (File>New). Choose a regular frame size, say, 5×3 inches or bigger. Hit Ok.

2. Double-click that layer (usually “Background” layer by default) you just made in the layer dialog box to open it, ready for any editing work. This layer will then be changed automatically as “Layer 0”.

3. Fill the layer with a light color of your choice and clicking the Bucket icon in Tools onto the screen image. I selected a light blue here.

4. Choose a font (black or any dark color, bold with sharp edges preferable, like Impact) and type the text you want. To do this, go to Tools box and click the text icon (the letter T), then choose the font you want located on the top left of your screen. After that, type your text. I typed “pressed” here using the Impact font.

5. Resize and reposition the text you typed (Edit>Free Transform).

6. Go to your layer dialog box and Right-Click the text layer (the current layer you just made which is highlighted by default), click Blending Options…
With Blending Options box in view, check Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow and Inner Glow. Hit Ok… and you’re done!!

And here’s the final result:

Multi-colored Effect in Photoshop

This tutorial is one of the easiest to do with amazing effects. It gives life and colour to your dull photos in just a few steps.

1. Open up your Photoshop, then select a photo from your gallery or from the internet. After that, go to File Menu>Open to open your selected photo.

2. At the bottom of your layer dialog box, click the Fill/Adjustment icon (that small, half-shaded circle), then select Hue/Saturation. Set the saturation value to about -50 to -70.

We’re desaturating the image to have a better contrast to what we’re planning to do next – make a rainbow color over the whole image! And, of course, without noticing the brush strokes and giving the illusion that all is natural.

3. Make a new layer by clicking the New Layer button at the bottom of the dialog box. In every unique step you’ll do, it’s a good habit to always make a new layer to have easier access and getting rid of deleting important task or layer you want to edit in the process whenever you want it to do so.

4. Select the brush from your Toolbox, a big size is preferable (about 40-50 pixels). Set it to hard. I bet you don’t want to spend hours just painting a small image using a small brush eh? 🙂

5. Paint over the photo with bright, solid colors in layers, either in diagonal, horizontal, vertical direction, or whatever you like. Set the blend mode to Soft Light or Overlay. There’s not much difference between the two in this subject.

6. Go to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur… Set blur radius to about 50-70.

Note that the lesser the radius, the more the color is transparent. Set then the radius value where the effect is best (i.e., in this case, the colors should be visible but not to the point that the brush strokes are noticed). Freely slide the adjuster to get the desired effect. Click Ok when done.

7. Finally, go to Layers>Flatten Image.

Flatten Image or Merging Visible Layers means merging all layers into a single, final copy which you could then save. This is always what you do if you are already finished with your work.


Here’s the sample: (that’s Janis Joplin)

How to replace someone’s face using Adobe Photoshop

One of the interesting and easy to learn from Photoshop is changing someone’s face (from their photo) by another one. If you are still new to the program and discovered for yourself you’ve learned the stuff, it’s really fun and I’ll bet you’ll enjoy it very much. Actually, once you know already what this tutorial is, you can replace any part of an image or photo you like; edit colors and shades, change backgrounds; remove or replace anything you like; and other more you’d like to imagine. And then, you can amaze your friends of your new-found trick by posting your creation to top social media websites or right to their emails! That’s really fun eh?

Just follow these simple steps to know how:


Open Photoshop (CS2 and later). By the way, I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 here.


Go to File menu>Open. Select a photo from your computer which you want to be edited/manipulated. In this case, mine is a photo of Osama Bin Laden.
*The selected photo should be on your screen now.


Open another photo by doing the same step as above (e.g., File>Open). You can put the photo beside the first by dragging down the link, like the one below.


With the second photo being the active layer (should be the one visible in your layer dialog box), click Lasso Tool and select the face by drawing the line around it. When done, go to Edit>Copy.
*With the face already copied, it is now ready to be pasted onto the first photo.


Click the first photo now to activate it, then go to Edit>Paste. The selected face from your second photo should now be visible on your first photo, but most likely too large or small to fit the face. Don’t worry, that’s what we will do next…


Click Ctrl T (or Edit>Free Transform), scale it right, and then put it properly to the face to cover and replace the old one. Hit Enter if done. By now, don’t bother yet about the color, rough edges, and other parts to be fixed or enhanced. We’ll do that next…


Go to Image>Adjustments>Color Balance. Adjust the 3 sliders on the dialog box until the color matches (or nearly matches) the subject’s color. If in case the desired color is not yet met, use the other adjustment tools (Image>Adjustments>Exposure, Color Levels, Color Curves, etc.).


To fix the rough edges, select Eraser Tool (soft) and erase carefully around the face. You can blur a bit by selecting the Blur Tool to smoothen sharp edges.


More finishing touches… Other than the Blur Tool to smoothen edges and parts of the face (note: avoid to overdo it), can also use the Healing Tool and Clone Tool, if necessary. Try it freely. You can always undo every step you don’t like to appear (Edit>Undo).


If satisfied already with the outcome, go to Layer>Flatten Image. Delete inactive layers, if any. Then, finally, save your work by going to File>Save As…!

Here’s the final result:

That’s it! Enjoy!

Remove background around hair in Photoshop

This is a follow-up to my related tutorial in GIMP, and my first with Photoshop tutorial here.

Not contented much with the result of my GIMP tutorial, I tried doing it in Photoshop and, I daresay, it’s a lot easier indeed! It’s like magic doing it and I did with so much ease and fun. By the way, I use Adobe Photoshop CS5 here.

Here are the few steps to do:

1. With your Photoshop opened, proceed to File menu>Open… Select the image to be edited in your photo gallery. If you are using CS5, it’s more convenient to let the Mini Bridge open at start-up. This will minimize time and easier to select which photo or image you want to edit just by doing the ‘drag and drop’ method.

2. Pick the Quick Selection tool (Free Selection tool in GIMP)>click over to the image on screen and drag the dotted selection tool around it. Be sure to make the best selection but don’t bother if you can’t, that will be fixed later.

3. Click Refine Edge>Edge Detection. Adjust the radius to the right, about 30%, more or less. You’ll notice that the edges of the image is still rough, of course, so…

4. Still on the Edge Detection dialog, click that small brush icon, left of the radius adjuster, then paint over to the gray areas around the hair. Now, the result is better and almost done.

5. To enhance, adjust the selector under Decontaminate Colors to sharpen and hide gray areas. Don’t adjust too much because it will produce white and “warp effect” on the image. You can also adjust the Shift Edge to middle. Okay, we’re done with the image. Now, we’ll proceed to paste it on the selected background.

6. Put the selected background image on screen. Resize it accordingly with your first, if needed.

7. In your layer dialog, click the arrow icon below to move the ‘Background Layer’ (new layer) below your first image layer (background layer).

And that’s it!

How to lose weight in seconds in GIMP

If you are fat or obese and you don’t want to look that way in your photos, well, why not fix them? If more than 90% of celebrities have their photos edited before they are published, then you may do it as well! Amaze your friends how you did it without doing any tedious workouts!

Here’s how it works…

1. Choose your photo to be edited. If you have one in bathing suit, that’s preferable to unveil your sexiness. 🙂

2. Open GIMP, go to File menu and Open your chosen photo.

3. With your photo now on the screen ready for editing, go to Filters menu>Distorts>IWarp… The IWarp dialog box then appears. This is where you will do the work – on that photo you have selected to be edited.

4. So how does it work? Right-click your mouse and push it inward or outward right on the edge of the area to be edited. Don’t push it too hard. You can repeat the process until contented with the results by going to Filters>Repeat IWarp…
The circled areas below are the main sections to be edited.

5. If satisfied with your work, go to Image menu>Flatten Image, then File menu>Save.

Here’s the final, edited photo…

So how’d you like it? Please post your comment…