How to cut things out • 23 November 2006 • The SnowBlog

How to cut things out

          So I'm often talking to people about how we work at Snowbooks, and I say 'and the team does all their own cover design and illustrations,' and the person nods, and later in the conversation the person says 'so who does your cover design?' and I say that the team does it, the same person who's the editor and the typesetter and the marketeer and the production manager. And the person looks a bit confused, and then says 'that's impossible.' It seems a very hard thing for people to grasp. So here is the first in an occasional series of how to do things in Photoshop and Indesign, so that you can see HowBloodyEasy™ it is. 

How to cut something out of its background in photoshop. 

Here is our image. 

Original image 1) Select the rough area you want to cut away using the Magic Wand tool

Rough selection

2) Switch to Quick Mask mode by pressing Q. The red area masks (denotes) the selected area. 

Red mask

3) Open the channel palette, deselect the RGB channel. This hides all colour filters so the image appears black and white. It's easier to spot what's selected and what's not when all the colour is stripped away. 


4) If you like, run the Dust and Scratches filter at 2px. This tidies up a lot of the stray bits of 'dust'. 

5) Clean up image using a large brush to remove any remaining bits of black in the background area. 

Cleaned up image

6) Return to normal mode by pressing Q

7) Feather the edges of the selection by pressing ctrl-alt-D, 1, enter


8) Delete the selected background area. 


9) You're done - and over the course of about a year you've saved yourself a couple of grand. 

****ignore this next bit****
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