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Photoshop in Focus

Try your hand at compositing. Find two images—one that has a person or an object, such as a car, in it (call it the source image), and another one that is a background, such as a yard, a street, a national park, or the surface of the moon (call it the destination image). You're going to place the subject of the source image into the destination image.

In the source image, use the Pen tool to draw a detailed path around the edges of the subject you want to isolate.

Zoom in and finesse the path, adding or deleting anchor points as needed so that it conforms closely to the outline of the subject you're trying to isolate.

When the path is to your liking, open the Paths palette and choose Make Selection from the Paths palette menu. (If you want, you can also save the path by using the New Path command.)

Then drag the selection onto the destination image. How does it look? If the source image is too big, make sure its layer is active, and choose Edit, Transform, Scale. Position the pointer over a corner handle and drag toward the center of the image. Be sure to hold down the Shift key as you drag to maintain the proper aspect ratio. When the size is correct, double-click inside the bounding box to apply the transformation.

If the source image is too small, repeat step 4 but drag the corner handle outward to scale the new image up. Is the result a large pixellated blob? Or is it still usable?

Check for other compositing problems. Are any source image isolation errors, such as stray pixels from the original background, included in the selection? If so, select the Eraser tool, pick an appropriate brush size (one that has a diffuse edge works better than one with a hard edge), and gently start removing the stray pixels.

If the composited elements have edges that are too distinct, select the source image, choose the Select, Feather command, and feather the edges by a few pixels.



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