Working With The Extract Filter and Using The History Brush Tool
Many people donít use the extract filter for extracting images because it can a little tricky to work with. But it can be great for things that are whispy and fuzzy and furry. The extract filter, along with the history brush tool, can be a really useful tool in your design or scrapping arsenal. Especially when youíre trying to add whisps of hair back into an image. This is just a basic tutorial to get you comfortable playing around with this filter and with using the history brush tool.
Iím going to be using a picture of some buildings with a cloudy background. Iím removing the cloudy background and replacing it with a blue sky.
You can grab both of these images HERE and follow along with me.
You can see in the top image we have a clearly defined skyline but that may not always be the case (as Iím sure you all know). Iím using this image to give you a general idea.
The first thing Iíll do is open my image files. Image 1 is the picture of the city. Image 2 is the picture of sky. Weíll be working with the image of the city for most of this tutorial. The sky image weíll be using later.
In the history palette, <Window + History>, click on the empty space to set the source of your history brush tool. We will need this for later after weíve extracted our image. Setting this tells photoshop to ďrememberĒ what the image looks like even though pixels may be removed.
Next letís open the extract filter. <Filter + Extract>
Leave the brush size at about 20. Check the Smart Highlighting. This is a handy tool. Using this allows photoshop to change up the size of the brush depending on whatís going on with the image. It will also help you stay on the edge youíre painting without straying to much.
Using the edge highlighting tool (green is the default color) go around the edge of the buildings. The smart highlighter will decide what size the brush needs to be.
*Letís say youíre extracting a child with blonde hair, you can select Force Foreground, use the dropper tool and select an area on the childís hair. Photoshop will pay extra close attention to retaining all pixels that are that color family.*
After you have your edges highlighted, use the fill tool (blue is the default color) to fill in the city. Please see the images below.
All The Different Tools At your Disposal
Edge Highlighting Tool
Edge Highlighting and Fill Tool
While in the extract filter menu, and after youíve used your edge highlighter and fill tools, if youíre having a hard time seeing things, you can change the background image to black (or another color of your choice) and hit preview so you can see things better. You can use the eraser tool, along with the other tools to fix the image to your liking.
Now weíre getting ready to use the history brush tool.
Hold down the <CTRL> button and click on the new layers icon in the layer palette menu and make new layer under the image layer.
Select a background color and fill in that layer by pressing <Alt + Backspace>. Iím using red so I can see.
Youíll see there may be spots where the buildings are a little smudged or are mixing pixels. You can use the history brush tool to paint the missing parts back into the image. With your image layer selected, select the history brush tool and paint back in the missing areas. Iím just using a simple hard round brush at about 10-20 pixels.
*Letís say you were painting back in someoneís hair, you can use a whispy hair like brush and paint back in the strands of hair that were removed during your extraction process*
Once youíre done, and youíre happy with your image, you can delete your colored layer and then drag it over to your blue sky image.
And here's what I did after playing around with photoshop's settings. Don't you just LOVE Photoshop ♥!!
I hope this is easy to understand and if you all have questions please ask away!!