Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Photoshop Cutouts and Photo Artwork for Adobe Photoshop Beginners

Using Photoshop cutouts to make photo artwork is probably the most desired skill for Adobe Photoshop Beginners (and Adobe Photoshop Elements beginners). Beginners to the program or people who have never used Adobe Photoshop want to make photo artwork by combining multiple pictures together for graphic art, collages, or just for fun. Using Photoshop to cutout pictures is not only a desired skill, but required for most of this basic photo artwork.

If you are one of the Adobe Photoshop beginners, there is good news! Learning how to use Photoshop to cutout pictures is not very difficult to learn, and with a little practice it can be mastered to help you make amazing photo artwork. If you have tried your hand at photo cutouts, you may be wondering what the tips and tricks are to get rid of jagged corners and rough edges to your cutout images. Why do the images in all the professional photo artwork look so smooth?

For the Adobe Photoshop beginners (Photoshop Elements included), let us start with the basics - and there are certainly enough basic tips to get you going without any super advanced techniques. For Photoshop cutouts - such as a person - from an image, you will want to use the lasso tool. There is a basic lasso tool, a magnetic lasso tool, and a polygonal lasso tool. For precise photo artwork cutouts, we will disregard the basic lasso tool and focus just on the magnetic and polygonal lassos. I primarily use the polygonal lasso but the magnetic is great if your image has very defined borders (against the backdrop) and if you do not want to spend a lot of time for cutting out images. It will attract itself to what it can see as the edge of your preferred cutout image, based on contrasting colors and shapes.

So are you ready to make photo artwork with Photoshop cutout techniques? With your image selected, zoom in to a range of around 150-300% so you can clearly see the image to be cutout. Select the polygonal lasso tool and take your time to select points around the edges of your image. For example, on a person take extra time around the face, ears, fingers, etc. When you get all the way around the image, connect the last point with the first point until the cutout is selected. This is where many people are left with jagged edges in their artwork. Right-clicking will give you many different options and a "Layer via copy" will create a new Photoshop cutout layer with exactly what you cutout (often with a few rough corners.) Instead, an easy way to create a smooth photo cutout is by using the feathering technique.

Selecting the Feather option will bring up an option of how many pixels you want to feather - or blur - around your selection. How precise you want your photo cut out and the size of the image will determine how many pixels you want to choose, and experience will help you to know (remember you can undo any action quickly!). After you feather, you can then use the "Layer via copy" action. If you are Photoshop beginner, try this technique and use a feathering of about 2-10 pixels and look at the result. Chances are it will be a smooth cutout that can be part of your new collage, illustration, or photo artwork.

Feathering is an integral part of skills needed for Adobe Photoshop beginners and can be used for cutouts, blending images, and combining photos. This basic technique for mastering the essentials of Photoshop cutouts is very simple and can be added to by a variety of techniques that you can explore at your own leisure. Once you know the fundamentals behind photo cutouts and feathering, you will learn to have all sorts of fun creating photo artwork in Photoshop!

About the Author

Michael is the creator and owner of CustomPhotoCollage.com. A longtime Photoshop expert, Michael creates unique, personalized photo collages at http://www.CustomPhotoCollage.com.