Any tricks to make this background true white?

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Questions
GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 8,388
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?
1

select white with magic wand, including outer shadows>invert selection>image>apply image>

rgb>multiply>opacity at 50%>flatten>invert selection>edit>fill>white.  gc

hajagosb
hajagosb Regular Member • Posts: 219
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

I think the easiest way would be to use an adjustment layer of your choice, like Selective Color or Curves (or even both, just copy the mask later on). Make the background look other way you want, don't mind the bullets.

When happy with the background, make a mask on the adjustment layer(probably you already have, I think that is photoshop default). Grab a soft brush, use black, and paint in the mask over the highlighted areas on the bullets.

It shouldn't take longer than a few minutes. I know some people are afraid of brushes and masks, but they are just perfect tools for something like this. And very quick too.

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suddie1215 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?
1

Sure. I used the Color Range command to select the white background in my previous example but that might be beyond your abilities as a novice Photoshop user since here's an alternative approach that does not require making any selections and should be much easier to follow.  You didn't say which version of Photoshop you're using so I assume it is CS6.

1.  Open your image in Photoshop.  If working from a JPEG its advisable to duplicate the image, then open the copy in Photoshop so you always have the original file available if something goes wrong.

2.  Add a new layer.  The simplest way to add a new layer is to click on the New Layer icon in the Channels palette (lower right corner of the screen)... its the second icon from the right.

3.  Add a layer mask.  Again there are several ways to add layer masks.  The easiest method is to click on the Add Layer Mask icon in the Channels palette (its the third icon from the left).

4.  With the Layer Mask selected (you will see a white border around the thumbnail when its selected) click on Image > Apply Image from the menu bar and use the highlighted settings

5.  Select the layer thumbnail by clicking on it (the layer thumnail is to the left of the mask thumbnail), then click on Edit > Fill > White and click the OK button.

6.  Change the layer blend mode to Soft Light.

7.  To refine the image and add some contrast to the image, select the mask thumbnail, select the Brush tool (press the B key), set the color to black, and paint over the ammo.

8.  Finally add a Levels adjustment layer; press the Auto button, then reduce the Opacity of the Levels adjustment layer to approximately 70 percent and you're done.

This method doesn't require making selections nor the use of third-party masking plug-ins.

dbooksta wrote:

suddie1215 wrote:

You're using the wrong tool to select. In Photoshop you'd need to use a more advanced selection tool like Color Range or Channels to select the white background. Then you can add a Levels or Curves adjustment layer to push the whites to pure white (255) and invert the selection to add a mask that protects the guns and ammo from any adjustment. It also should be noted that the background is unevenly lit so pushing it to pure white will blow out some portions.

(Note that I actually do want to blow out the whole background to pure white.)

The results of your process look great. I tried to follow your instructions in Photoshop but I'm too much of a novice. If you have the patience and could spell out the process you followed (including behind which tool and/or sub-sub-menu each step is hidden) I would be be thrilled.

In any case your results set a superior example of what can be done in this situation, and I thank you for that!

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OP dbooksta Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

GCam wrote:

select white with magic wand, including outer shadows>invert selection>image>apply image>

rgb>multiply>opacity at 50%>flatten>invert selection>edit>fill>white. gc

Wow, given the effort that does a great job!  However I tried it with a few different magic wand settings and still couldn't get the bullets as crisply defined as you did: Shadows are preserved on some and edge highlights are whitened on others.

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GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 8,388
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?
1

dbooksta wrote:

GCam wrote:

select white with magic wand, including outer shadows>invert selection>image>apply image>

rgb>multiply>opacity at 50%>flatten>invert selection>edit>fill>white. gc

Wow, given the effort that does a great job! However I tried it with a few different magic wand settings and still couldn't get the bullets as crisply defined as you did: Shadows are preserved on some and edge highlights are whitened on others.

magic wand tolerance set at 32, with contiguous not clicked.  I had to select the outer

whites and those inside the trigger guard separately, and I selected the shadows

separately. And I selected near the edges of the shadows to avoid the lighter shadows.  I also tried with contiguous selected, but it was not as effective.  gc

GHwell Senior Member • Posts: 2,009
Re: no extractions needed

just dub the layer for saftey

pick the  dodge tool and set it to highlights 50%  NOW go over the white areas with it.  go slowly around the bullets.   add a mask and paint back anything that started to lighten on the trigger or bullets.  should take you about one. min to do

OP dbooksta Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

Thank you -- that is very illuminating!

I've almost got it, but I think you lost me in your last step, because after I do the levels adjustment the image background is still RGB=245, not 255.  If I'm supposed to add a layer in step #8 what is it supposed to contain?

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Allen Gerdes Veteran Member • Posts: 5,638
Re: no extractions needed

How about showing your results doing it this way in about one minute....I have not found it to be easy to do in that amount of time.   I just tried it and it took me several more minutes to achieve only moderately acceptable results, given that it is necessary to mask back in much of the darker areas lost during the process....especially the cartridges.  In fact, my results were so inadequate that I would not post them here.

Regards...Allen

OP dbooksta Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

Yes, no shadow, but the background bled onto the bullets (which seem to be the thing that makes this image such a challenge).  Key seems to be how you extract the subjects onto a layer.  What tool(s) are you using?

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OP dbooksta Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

drh681 wrote:

In the levels dialog, choose the white point eyedropper. click in the lower right corner.

then you need to use the shadow/highlight dialog to bring the tones of the pistols back down.

This does a very good job.  The background is a little darker in the lower left, and if I force that to white then it begins to blow out the bullet highlights too much.  But pushing the lower right to white gives the best results with the easiest effort so far:

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suddie1215 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,818
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

dbooksta wrote:

Thank you -- that is very illuminating!

You're quite welcome.

I've almost got it, but I think you lost me in your last step, because after I do the levels adjustment the image background is still RGB=245, not 255.

If the RGB reading for white is 245 most likely its because sometime in the past you changed a setting to limit the target for whites to 245.  By default the Edit > Fill > White command should fill the layer with RGB 255 white.

There are a few ways to change that... you can go to the menu bar and select Image > Adjustments and choose either Levels or Curves (it doesn't matter which you choose).  Then after making your choice a dialog box will appear.  DOUBLE-CLICK on the white eyedropper in the dialog box to invoke the Color Picker.  In the Color Picker, set R, G, and B to 255 respectively and click the OK button.  Now when you do the Levels adjustment layer described below, whites will all be 255.

Its also possible that changing the layer blend mode to Multiply is influencing the RGB readout but that's necessary to get the guns and ammo to show through the opacity of the added white layer.

If I'm supposed to add a layer in step #8 what is it supposed to contain?

What version of Photoshop are you using?  The Auto functionality in CS6 work differently than in previous versions so it would be useful to know your version to give you the precise instructions.

You're adding an adjustment layer in step #8....this layer by itself does not contain anything, but it alters the contents of the layers below it.  To add a Levels adjustment layer, go to the bottom of the Layers palette, and click on the "Create new fill or adjustment layer" icon (its the fourth icon from the left), the select "Levels..." from the pop-up context menu that appears.  This automatically adds a Levels adjustment layer to the layer stack; then to increase the contrast simply click on the Auto button of the Properties tab.  Alternately, you can select the White eyedropper in the Properties tab, then click it on a portion of the image you think should be white and repeat the process with the black eyedropper.  However, the Auto button works reliably in detecting and setting the black and white points in the image.  Then if the adjustment is too strong, simply reduce the opacity of the Levels adjustment layer to taste.

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Patsy Murphy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,077
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

My effort.

Regards Patsym

tom60634 Senior Member • Posts: 2,130
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?
1

dbooksta wrote:

If I use a lasso select then when I fill the background white it leaves striking edges in the shadows of the objects.

If I try to color-correct or play with exposure it also affects the highlights of the bullets that have the same tones as the background.

Any tips greatly appreciated!

Masks.

one to mask ammunition and weapons to to whiten background

one to mask background to keep detail in weapons

one to mask ammunition in order to keep highlights from burning out yet keep contrast.

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Allen Gerdes Veteran Member • Posts: 5,638
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

Patsy, I think the OP wanted the background to be pure white and unless my monitor has suddenly changed, which I doubt, your whites are far from pure white.  Did you perhaps post the wrong image?

Regards....Allen

tom60634 Senior Member • Posts: 2,130
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

dbooksta wrote:

If I use a lasso select then when I fill the background white it leaves striking edges in the shadows of the objects.

If I try to color-correct or play with exposure it also affects the highlights of the bullets that have the same tones as the background.

Any tips greatly appreciated!

Masks.

one to mask ammunition and weapons to to whiten background

one to mask background to keep detail in weapons

one to mask ammunition in order to keep highlights from burning out yet keep contrast.

 tom60634's gear list:tom60634's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Patsy Murphy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,077
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

Allen Gerdes wrote:

Patsy, I think the OP wanted the background to be pure white and unless my monitor has suddenly changed, which I doubt, your whites are far from pure white. Did you perhaps post the wrong image?

Regards....Allen

Your right Allen , posted wrong Image. Not even sure if this is pure white. Thanks for letting me know.

Regards Patsym

Allen Gerdes Veteran Member • Posts: 5,638
Re: Any tricks to make this background true white?

There you go Patsy....that looks more like pure white.  I figured you must have accidently posted wrong image,as I have been guilty of that little trick myself a few times.

Regards....Allen

GCam Veteran Member • Posts: 8,388
Old Trick
1

Just remembered a trick I discovered several years ago, but I don't use it much anymore.  It's a great tool for opening up shadows too, depending on the blending of the dupe layer.

Open file

create dupe layer

Filter>blur>smart blur>OK

From drop down window

radius 3

threshold 25

quality High

mode Edge Only

OK

Image>Adjustments

Invert

Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur

Radius 30

OK

Change blend mode to Overlay

taste.  You will definitely have a white background.

Flatten

Dupe Layer

Click Magic wand on the white background

Select

Inverse

Change blend mode to Multiply, Linear Burn or Color Burn.

You can keep opacity or reduce to taste.

It's a quickie, and not perfect, but close.  gc

GHwell Senior Member • Posts: 2,009
Re: no extractions needed
1

no way to prove it takes under a min.  I did not touch any of the darker portions of the picture except a little spot on the trigger and two bullets.  you paint over the white areas only.  adjust the brush size if nessarary.   Been doing products and people for years this way.  I am sorry I stated the time.  I should have remembered everyone has different skill levels.   I never worry about having a pure white background on a portrait except right behind the hair.  I just grab a big brush and set it to dodge,  ( highlights in the mode window)  and wash over the gray areas at 50%   At 50% you should not effect any of the darker areas of the guns even if you do get your brush on them

Port Royal Dad
Port Royal Dad Senior Member • Posts: 2,719
A little Dodge and Burn
1

Took me longer than 1 minute...more like 5 minutes.  But I love the Dodge and Burn Tools.

Best Regards, Mike

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