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Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 11-30-2004, 07:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'll be doing a shoot soon where we cant get to a location we wanted so I would like to use a chroma key backdrop and put the background in photoshop. Any suggestions on doing this? Im purchasing a backdrop for the shoot. Ive never tried this with Photoshop before. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 11-30-2004, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First of all, don't expect miracle "dropout" like you're used to with video. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]The "green screen/blue screen" concept doesn't work the same with still photography, at least not yet, or at least by any means I've been privy to. You will need to make sure your backdrops are well lit, well ironed, and that you keep your model at least 8 to 10 feet in front of the drop. Then, in Photoshop, you will use your "extract" brush to draw around the image, click the fill tool, clean up the "residual" with your erase tool, and then drop the image on your digital backdrop. Fine hair is troublesome, and so is lacy detail, so avoid them both when shooting. Honestly, if you're working on multi-image photosets, you'll probably find the process cumbersome and very unproductive. GOOD LUCK!
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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 11-30-2004, 10:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You may even think about shooting her on white.
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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 11-30-2004, 12:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well I'll give a few details. My model will be dressed as a sexy nurse but I couldnt shoot her in a doctors office. I do have a friend thats a doctor and Ill shoot some shots of his office.

The model will be wearing a white outfit with white stockings so that would clash with the white background.

I wont do a whole set of these photos, just 3 or 4. So if there is alot of work it wont be so bad. Im anxious to see the results. Ill post the photos here when they are done.

Thanks for the advice!!

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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 11-30-2004, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You may still want to consider white or maybe dark grey or black. I agree that you can't expect a quick dropout in PS with chroma-key... in fact, you could have a problem with blue or green fringing from light bouncing off the backdrop. With a white outfit and the model standing on and/or fairly close to the paper I'm thinking the fringing would be pretty severe.

I cost myself a lot of time once shooting a guy on Chroma-key blue thinking exactly what you're thinking. I had light blue fringing in all kinds of places... between fingers, inside jacket cuffs, shoe tassles... 21 images, short deadline. It was murder.

After hundreds of background removals (did 71 cheerleaders once, I'll never see them the same way again), I like white paper lit one stop brighter than the subject. At two stops over, fringing starts to cause soft edges even with white.


I don't use the extract tool anymore but it's a good place to start. The pen (path) tool is the way to go once you get used to it but it's not exactly intuitive. You have to know it well to work quickly but it's very precise and you can do all kinds of tricks to shape and apply the selection once you have a path to work from. Plus, you can extract from practically any background without regard to color or complexity.

In this image, every component with color is bounded by a path... they get to be fun once you practice with 'em.

Chip

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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 12-03-2004, 01:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you shoot her on a white or black bacground, and then use the pen tool to draw a path around her, the fine hair is not a problem. Draw your path on the inside of her hair(just enough inside to eliminate the hair with background showing in between it.) then make another selection outside her head with the oval tool, and subtract your path from it. Make it its own layer by presing crtl j and then use the "blend if" option in the layer styles box. move the left most triangle (its white) on the upmost of the two bars----it says this layer above it. move the triangle until her hair starts to break up. then hold the option/alt key and drag the right side of the triangle back to the right, her hair will begin to reapear. this has always worked the best for me when dealing with fine hair and fringe. If you can afford it i would recomend going out and getting Photoshop CS, the art of photographing women by Kevin Ames. it is a phenomenal book.
 
 
Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 12-03-2004, 01:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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sorry, i forgot one thing, if you shoot on a white background, use the steps from above, if its a black background, everything is the same, but use the right most triangle(its black) instead of the white one.
 
 
Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 12-03-2004, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Dropping out Chroma Key in Photoshop is though the "Select>Color" menu. I did an evenly lit chroma key green background, and it was fine. I had the same challenge with a little white slip dress -- it would have never worked on white, and the second model's dark hair would never have worked on black.

Bob

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Re: Chroma Key in Photoshop
Old 12-04-2004, 02:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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make sure the green backdrop is bright and evenly lit; "evenly lit" is critical to a good key. keep the model at least ten feet in front of the backdrop. make sure there are no wrinkles in the backdrop. use backlighting to separate the model from the background and, hopefully, key in a background image where the lighting sources seem to match the lighting sources on the model.

if you do all this correctly, it's still sometimes a bitch to realistically key your model and the background together, i.e., it still might not look exactly like you shot her at the location of the image you're going to put behind her.

good luck! would like to see the results.
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