This week, I learned some important new skills for Adobe Photoshop CS5. The Lynda.com tutorials were extremely helpful. The only difficulty I had was with the instructors use of keyboard shortcuts. I find shortcuts impossible to remember because they seem like random combinations of "option" and various letters. I prefer to use the drop down menus and my mouse. My focus for this tool was on using it to extract images. Because I do not have a photo studio and supplies, I take dance photos on the stage at school with regular stage lighting. I do not like the way the pictures look in that background, so I extract the images using photoshop and then put them on a white background and often include gradients. With the new version of photoshop, my job has gotten much easier.
Previously, I used the eraser tool and painstakingly drew around each image to remove the background. I had to have an extremely steady hand and spent a lot of time backtracking and refining. With CS5's new smart selection tool, the process is much easier. As I show in my Youtube video, the whole process takes me about 10 minutes and the results are much better.
I now want to take it to the next level and merge these extracted images with new backgrounds to create some more interesting shots. This year our school is going through a rebuild and has a really interesting construction zone. I want to take the extracted pictures of dancers and place them in the construction zone so that it looks like they are dancing in the rubble.
Here are a couple of examples of photos that were extracted using CS5.