Highlighting Object in Photo

Not everyone own or carry digital SLR camera all the time and most of the time the camera we have is the either point and shoot camera or our phone camera. As long as you are not shooting for any kind of photography competition, these point and shoot cameras work just fine. However due to the limited features and capabilities you will have to do a little extra work on the images taken by your cell phone camera. Here is an example of this image:

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This image was taken by me using my phone. The object (jeep) in the middle of this picture was or sale by my friend who deals in scrap business and wanted to sell one of his jeep. He is a fan of jeeps and due to the nature of his business he often spots some restorable jeeps in scrap yard which he restores and sells it. Anyway that’s another story, here what he wanted from me to take a good picture of the jeep for posting on online classifieds. Since the jeep was standing in a not so good looking background and being in a hurry I did not wanted to drive this jeep to a good location. I took the picture and told him that I’ll email him after editing it. Apart from usual brightness and contrast correction that most of us do, you can do something more if you want to highlight any object in picture. Here the main object to be highlighted was the jeep and rest of the not so good looking was not at all important. Here’s what we need to do.

1. pst1.jpgOpen the image to edit in Adobe Photoshop and view the image in 100% zoom level which means viewing it in its original size. Always take the higher resolution picture, almost double the size of picture actually needed. For example for online catalogue, 640×480 pixels is good size so for editing use at least 1280×960 pixels image. We need to work on large size image so that for final use we can resize the image to required size and thus hide minor flaws in editing.

2. pst2.jpgNow from tool box select the Lasso Tool. I used Polygonal Lasso Tool; you may use other 2 lasso tools if your image allows them. Basically the simple Lasso Tool is for very fine image with lots of irregular edges and it’s hard to use. The Polygonal Lasso tool is for those images which have lots of straight line edges like the image I am working on is a Jeep with lots of straight edges. The last one is Magnetic Lasso Tool which requires least effort but works only on simpler images with not much irregular edges and cleaner background.

3. Using your Lasso Tool, select the object to be highlighted. No need to select with too much precision but, still don’t do a lousy work here in selecting either!pst3.jpg
4. Now click Select and then click on Inverse. This will select the outer region which we actually need to work on.

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5. Now click on Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Slide the radius until the background turns blur to desired value. The background should be blurred to that extent that it should still give the hint about the background but not completely.

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6. All Done! Resize the image to smaller size to hide flaws if occurred during selecting. If you selected very precisely then you might not need any resizing at all. Save the finished image. Isn’t it looking cool now?

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Mohd. Hashim Khan

I work as a freelance web designer and developer and enjoys fiddling with machines and electronics stuff. I am also working as a part time computer teacher at Aligarh Muslim University. I share my knowledge on various topics here so that others can make use of it and take benefit from my experiences.

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