Removing the backgrounds from your images shouldn’t have to be difficult or expensive, but the fact of the matter is, even a DIY approach will cost you.
Adobe Photoshop supposedly makes removing backgrounds easy and many people find it fun to do, but it comes with some caveats. It’s certainly a great skill to have, and once you establish a workflow that works for you, you will be able to take control of your image formatting needs. However, what many people don’t realize is that there is a significant learning curve involved and the software is neither free nor cheap.
Everything is easier when you are speaking the same language
Photoshop is the gold standard for the design industry. With it, you should be assured of a professional-quality result.
If you need to do some background removal and want to do it yourself, you need a professional tool and Photoshop is the one. You shouldn’t even bother with Photoshop Elements, or any free or “lite” versions of any other photo editing software because they simply don’t do what Photoshop does at the level of quality it allows you to output, plain and simple.
The reason Adobe Photoshop is so popular is that it is absolutely indispensable for photo editing. You can access image editing tools to do just about anything you can imagine. There are so many tools, in fact, that the vast majority of Photoshop users don’t ever use the app to its fullest advantage. It’s an entire universe of image editing at your fingertips and if you are in the business of graphic design, it’s the only way to go.
Photoshop is available through Adobe as a subscription. It can be purchased on its own or as part of Creative Cloud, but if you aren’t using it on a daily basis, if you don’t do graphics for a living or if you’re just going to use it once or twice, it may not be worth it. Most Adobe plans start with a free trial, then they want you to commit to a year’s worth of access, which you won’t be able to cancel without paying.
Still interested in what Photoshop can do for your background removal? Read on!
Background Removal Part I: The Tools
Photoshop offers several tools to help you with your background removal tasks. Here is an overview of the most useful ones along with some typical use cases:
1. The Lasso Tool
The lasso tool helps you to isolate objects to keep before you can knock out the background. It wraps around the objects you want to keep so that you can effectively eliminate the rest.
Typical use case for the lasso tool
Use the lasso tool for cutting out objects or isolating objects in preparation for background removal. The best use case for the lasso tool is if the object to be knocked out is angular and has a lot of straight lines.
Pros and Cons
Unfortunately, the paths you create with the lasso tool are not editable. Also, they are not the most precise for cutting out images and creating clipping paths as they can’t produce smooth curves.
On the plus side, the lasso tool is easy to use, and it totally does the job, given the right raw materials. The simpler the object is, however, the better. When you get into working with more complex objects, however, you may need a different tool.
2. The Pen Tool
The pen tool in Photoshop is used in a very similar way to the lasso tool, but instead of relying on straight lines in order to isolate your object, you are physically drawing around it, either with your mouse or with a tablet pen. This allows you to be more precise.
Typical use case
If the object is complex or has a lot of curves, the pen tool is the way to go to get great smooth edges. Some examples might be earrings, complex curved product or anything that has irregular, straight and curved without the need to selectively feather edges.
Pros and cons
On the plus side, the results you can expect from the pen tool can be very precise. Additionally, all the lines you create are editable, which makes it easy to fix or refine your work.
On the negative side, you will need to spend A LOT more time and effort on making your outlines. This time that you might not want to devote when editing numerous images. At its very best, tedious and mind-numbing repetitive work.
3. Magic Wand Tool
Many Photoshop newbies use the magic wand tool with abandon because it just seems too easy … keep in mind that if it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. In theory, all you have to do is click on the area you want to select and Photoshop will create the outlines. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that easily or painlessly and doesn’t always deliver the quality you are after with broken selections and edges that are not smooth and clean.
Typical use case for the magic wand tool
If you have super-clean, high-resolution photos that are already isolated on a white background, the magic wand tool just might work. However, if you’re reading this, you probably need to have a more complex background removal selection as an end result, not as a starting point.
Pros and cons
Plus if you have an ideal image situation, such as we mentioned above, the magic wand tool will probably work just fine.
Negative If you don’t have an optimum image, your results are not going to be great and you’ll either have to settle for less than what you need or start from scratch with another tool.
Doing it right the first time is always best, so before you begin, make sure you are using the right approach.
4. Quick Selection Tool
The quick selection tool is a step up from the magic wand. It is slightly more controllable, and the results can be better, but it’s still a quick-and-dirty method that doesn’t always deliver the goods. It also incorporates Sensei Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence? Meet Sensei
With the advances in artificial intelligence (AI), it was only a matter of time before it made its way into our creative tools. Adobe is introducing AI into its workflows in the form of Sensei, an advanced, intelligent tool that leverages machine learning to help us tackle mind-numbing and repetitive tasks with elegance and ease.
Sensei can recreate fonts, fill in areas of your images that didn’t exist with information from neighboring pixels, and it can identify people, places, and things in your photos that allow you to manipulate images in ways you have never dreamed possible.
As a tool for background removal, Sensei should make light work of your most complex tasks. If you have similar tasks that you tend to repeat on a regular basis, it will remember, learn, anticipate your needs and generally make your job easier each and every time you use it. For instance, if you are working on a series of images that are similar, it will remember the actions you used and apply them to the successive images.
Basically, Sensei analyzes your images and applies a set of editing actions to it, based either on previous editing you have done to other photos or based on a range of tools that can be accessed, much like a photo filter, on Instagram. Sensei was developed for people who have trouble working with Photoshop tools, or for people who simply don’t have hours, days, or months of time to devote to learning them.
The quick selection tool is a step up from the magic wand with object and edges sensing technologies. It is more controllable, and the results can be better, but it’s still a quick-and-dirty method that doesn’t always deliver the goods needing human guidance and selections.
Here are some options you can check within the quick selection tool that may give you better results:
Select subject in the quick selection tool
Select subject is another quick tool you can access in quick selection mode. It is useful if you want to isolate a specific component of an image. Examples of ways you could use select subject could be removing people, objects, animals, cars, or any other specific object from your image.
For instance, if your subject is a person and you want to remove their necklace or a logo from their clothing, select subject could work well. It doesn’t always do what you’d like it to do, but when it works, it’s pretty great. Unfortunately, solid use cases are few and far between.
Auto-Enhance option in the quick selection tool
Auto-enhance is an option you can use with quick selection. It will help give you better-quality images with sharper edges, allowing you to refine the edges or the boundaries of a selected object.
Refine Edge tool in the Select and Mask section of Quick Select tool
The edge detection tool is found in the select and mask part of the selection tool it will help refine to bring back hair or to feather edges if needed. Refinement of edge can cause unwanted artifacts, human judgement will be needed.
5. Magic Eraser/Background Eraser/Eraser Tool
The background eraser tool is a handy way to rid yourself of large areas of background in your images. However, it is color-aware, and if you are using it on its own, you may also lose portions of your image that you want to keep.
For best results, use the background eraser in tandem with all of the above tools. Select the parts of your image you want to keep with the tool of your choice (lasso tool, pen tool, magic wand tool) and then use the background eraser tool or the magic eraser tool to eliminate everything else.
The eraser tool is fully adjustable for size, shape, and opacity. You can adjust the sampling and limits to give it better accuracy. To finish up, it is an easy tool to use to help with spot-erasing and cleaning up the final image.
As for the cons, it doesn’t always work on its own so you will still need to spend time with the other tools to get a great result.
Part 2: When tools are not enough
Doing your own background removal can be fun, but granted, it’s not for everybody. You might be too busy to devote enough time to it, or you may feel like it is too much of a learning curve. You simply might not have the patience to do the finely detailed design work that background removal requires.
If any of these scenarios apply to you, you might find it difficult to get the results you need. If background removal is essential to your venture, you might still need to outsource this work to an expert.
The good news is – it’s easy to outsource your background removal jobs. Outsourcing allows you to access top design talent who will work with you to deliver the quality results you need on a timeline that makes sense to you. It will be like having your own design team right at your fingertips.
Some of the reasons you might consider outsourcing include:
- You have a need for a high-volume of background removal work to be done
- Your quality brand requires a certain level of consistency and quality
- You want reliable results
- You need your quality results to be repeated throughout your site or store
- You have no time to do the work yourself
- You don’t want to purchase Adobe Photoshop
- You don’t have the inclination to learn the background removal tools in Photoshop
- You have better things to do with your time
For all intents and purposes, hiring an expert to do your background removal will actually save you time and money in the end. Think about it: all of the hours spent on the computer doing your own background removal versus putting your energy into higher-value tasks that might generate more business for you or your company. In the end, it is for you to decide, but at least you have options!
Outsourcing to Picsera
If you have decided that outsourcing is the best option for you, Picsera is at the ready. Once your order is placed, one of our background removal experts will dive in and become your design department. We do a lot of things at Picsera, but background removal is one of our specialties, so you can trust that the results you get are going to be reliable, consistent, and top-quality, every time.
Some other benefits to working with Picsera include:
- On-demand professional service
- Fast turnaround times
- Consistently high-quality results
- High-volume quotes available
- All work is guaranteed
- Easy-to-use uploading platform and dashboard
- Manage your jobs 100 percent online
- Photo retouching and enhancement services available
If you would like to learn more about Picsera background removal or any of our other photo editing services, call today to request a quote for your job.
The iPhone is without a doubt the most popular camera sold today. With so many people shooting on iPhones we receive requests for iPhone images to be retouched quite frequently. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for us to work on the standard JPGs that come from the iPhone as they are highly compressed 8 bit JPGs and a lot of data is missing from the files. Don’t get me wrong, iPhone pictures are usually really good in terms of color, contrast, and exposure because Apple has invested hundreds of millions of dollars perfecting their JPG rendering engine. However, there are times when an iPhone image needs to be edited to create a different artistic style or simply to retouch blemishes or retouch certain areas of the image. Well, we no longer have to say no to people who want us to retouch their iPhone images because in February of 2017 Apple made it possible to capture RAW images on the iPhone.
RAW is a file format that contains all the information captured by the camera’s sensor. Think of a RAW file as a film negative. When you shoot film, you capture information onto the negative, but you can’t see the image until the film is processed with chemicals. As the name implies, a RAW file contains unprocessed “raw” information. Raw files are much bigger than JPGs because they are not compressed . In addition, RAW files typically look flat and and dull straight out of the camera because they haven’t had any processing done to them.
The benefits of RAW images are increased dynamic range and the flexibility to process an image on a computer as many times as you want creating different styles and looks without ever damaging the file. On the other hand, JPGS are already processed and a lot of the data captured by the sensor is discarded when the camera’s processor generates the JPG making it much more difficult to edit the file. Yes, it’s possible to edit a JPG, but the results are never quite as good as editing a RAW file. Watch this video to help you understand the benefits of RAW vs JPG capture.
How to get RAW files from the iphone
Apple made it possible for 3rd party app developers to interact through code with the iPhone to pull the RAW files. Each camera company has their own proprietary RAW format, but Apple has adopted Adobe’s RAW format called the DNG which stands for Digital Negative. If you want to shoot in RAW format you will need to download a special app from the App Store. There are several apps available but three worth trying are Lightroom Mobile, Halide, and ProCamera.
The tool we have tested at Picsera is Lightroom Mobile. The quick video below explains how to use Lightroom Mobile to export a RAW file from your iPhone. For a more in depth article on how to get started with Lightroom Mobile for Lightroom Classic, please go to the Adobe website for details.
Today’s photography tip teaches how to get the money shot! Watch this short video to find out the secret that the world’s top photographers have known for years.
This post by Jill Kocher of Practical eCommerce teaches 7 tips that make an eCommerce blog interesting for your readers while valuable for your Search Engine Marketing strategy. In a nutshell, the seven tips range from keeping your content interesting, including topics shoppers care about, interlinking with product pages, maximizing navigation, and hosting the blog on your ecommerce domain. If you’ve been struggling to get started on your blog or if you aren’t getting enough ROI (Return on Investment) from your blog, this short article will make it easy for you to get an effective blog.
Conversion optimization is a science and there is an entire industry of user interaction consultants who command very high wages helping companies design their ecommerce sites. A conversion is anything from getting a user to register on your website, to adding a product to the shopping cart, to clicking the Buy Now button and ultimately clicking the Submit button after entering their credit card information. Before you spend the big bucks on a website conversion specialist, have a look at concise article. Pamela Hazelton from Practical eCommerce provides a very straightforward approach to designing web pages for high conversion.
If you’re selling a commodity like product or service that can be purchased just about anywhere online, the it can be really difficult to compete. Large internet retailer have recently started using technology such as bots, artificial intelligence, and robots to lower the cost of customer service and still offer a great customer experience. Smaller businesses don’t always have the budget to invest in these types of innovation, but Richard Adhikari from eComomerce Times offers some very practical tips on how to provide great customer service without breaking the bank account.
As more and more retailers continue to swap brick and mortar stores for ecommerce ones, product photography has become increasingly important. This has brought issues and bottlenecks to the selling process. Before, retailers just had to purchase products and place them in stores, now they have to prep, photograph, edit, and upload photos as fast as possible to sell and turnaround inventory fast. And all this workflow has to be completed while keeping product photography costs low and quality standards high.
I am passionate about photography this is one of the main reason why I decided to start Picsera. Vacations are always a time for me to really experiment and hone my skills. This past summer my family and I toured California and I spent some time experimenting with HDR and panoramas. Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip.
We are hiring a sales manager with experience selling software and/or services to eCommerce businesses. This position reports to the company founder and offers a base salary and commission commensurate with experience.
- Leverage personal contacts and set up appointments to make presentations
- Find new opportunities by researching and being resourceful
- Make cold phone calls and sending out emails
- Gain a clear understanding of customers’ businesses and requirements
- Listen to customer requirements and present appropriately to make a sale;
- Maintain and develop relationships with existing customers in person and via telephone calls and emails;
- Respond to incoming email and phone enquiries;
- Negotiate the terms of an agreement and close the sale;
- Gather market and customer information;
- Network at industry events and attend trade shows;
- Work with Production Manager to calculate price quotes;
- Create detailed proposals that command credibility and inspire confidence
- Think quickly on your feet and challenge customer objections with thoughtful responses
- Identify new opportunities to expand customer relationships
- Experience selling eCommerce technology to a variety of industries including apparel, jewelry, shoes, eyewear, pet supplies
- Minimum of 1 to 3 of sales experience required
- Proven track record of meeting sales quotas
- Excellent written and verbal communication in American English
- Capable of managing multiple opportunities in parallel
- Ability to cope in a high pressure environment
- Proficient with standard systems including CRM, eCommerce, online chat, social media, and email.
- Able to think independently and solve problems
- Able to persuade others
- Energetic, Meticulous, Detail Oriented, and Thoughtful
Interested candidates should email [email protected].
The primary goal of an e-commerce website is to convert visitors into customers. It entails engaging a visitor effectively from the minute they arrive on a site, and guiding them until they make a purchase. This requires an ongoing process of website optimization to ensure the best user experience.
Many e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, have enabled businesses to easily optimize their site without needing much coding or design knowledge. While this is a truly beneficial offering for small business owners, it can also lead to making mistakes that jeopardize conversions. Learn from these top 5 mistakes that could be costing your business revenue growth. (more…)
Photographing clothing is a little different from shooting other kinds of products. If you’re shooting necklaces or earrings, the required materials are fairly simple. These two items are much more sturdy and sometimes easier to set up. Prepping clothing for product photography requires some basic tools that will make the job easier. In fact photographing clothing can be quite difficult without these tools. So, without further ado here are our list of basic but oh so necessary tools for prepping clothing for a product photography session.
An ecommerce product page is a canvas of potential conversions depending on how you “paint” it. That seemingly small page offers a myriad of clever optimizations to get customers to push the “add to cart” button. Use these examples as a check list against your existing product page to make sure you are making use of every opportunity to convert. If you are setting up your first ecommerce site, these tips can help you shape an ideal ecommerce product page. (more…)