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Chapter 9. Channels > Use Extract to Select Complex Objects

Use Extract to Select Complex Objects

In the previous edition of this book I demonstrated how to isolate a complex image from its background using alpha channels. It was a long and tedious process and involved a lot of guesswork. But now there's a marvelous feature that will save us all those headaches, so you can toss that old, hair-pulling technique in the trash as we explore one of Photoshop's newest and most welcome additions: the Extract command.

Before we start working with the tools in the Extract dialog box, let me give you an overview of what's needed to successfully extract an image from its background. First off, you'll need to highlight all the areas where the subject of the photo is intertwined with the background you'd like to remove. Not only that, but you'll also need to make it all the way around the object with your highlighting, except where the subject bumps into the edge of your document (this is going to show up in green). Next, you'll need to fill (with blue) the area you'd like to keep (Figure 9.55). Then Photoshop will do all the work for you. It will keep all of the blue-covered areas, trash those that aren't covered in color, and then try to figure out what to do in the green transition areas, based on where all the highlighting is.


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