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Discussion in 'Design Discussion' started by Angola!, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I e-mailed one person about this, but since he might not have time, I'll post it to the masses.

    Can anyone direct me to a step-by-step breakdown on how to do cutouts in Photoshop?

    I'm a full-time designer/copy editor now and my paper never does cutouts, except as teases. The reason for this is because the people who tone the photos and print the pages are the ones who do cutouts and generally, they suck.

    I did some cutouts in my younger days, but it's been 4 or 5 years ago and I don't have much recollection.

    Anywhoo, I'd like to do some practice runs so we can add cutouts to our main packages in the future.

    Oh, and I have also learned the value of HELMETS! I don't understand how someone could hate them, when they add a much needed art element to a tight space now and again.
  2. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    Check your PMs, Gola.
  3. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Dickens, not sure what you PM'd to 'Gola, but if it's some kind of instruction on how to do cutouts, it might be useful to the board if you post it here instead of in PMs.

    If it was about plans to go see High School Musical 3 together, then I apologize. :D
  4. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member



    It's been discussed on this board a couple times over the years. My way to do it is on the first link, but everybody has their own method. Find one that works for you and perfect it.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Good man. ;)

    re cutouts: I don't know what info you've received, so I'll just add my quickie directions here.

    1. Make sure that the photo you choose will WORK as a cutout. If you have a second person's arm reaching over your subject's body, you picked the wrong photo to try this with. If ANY part of a second person's body intrudes over your subject's body, forget using that photo. In other words, it's not always going to work, so don't force it.

    On the other hand, understand that you CAN use a photo with an arm or leg of your subject cut off -- AS LONG AS the cut-off part runs off the corner of the page. You don't leave half an arm or half a leg hanging in the middle of the page. It must run off the edge.

    2. Look for self-contained open spaces inside the body, like between the arm and the body, where an arm might meet the head, etc. Using the X-acto tool, clip a path around that open area. Save the path when it's complete. Feather it. And CLEAR (making sure that your primary fill color is white; if it's purple, CLEAR will fill that area in purple).

    3. Once you've cleared "inside" spaces, do the X-acto thing around the outside of the body. Save the path when it's complete. Feather it. INVERSE, and save THAT path; you now have the outside of the photo defined. Feather that path. CLEAR. You should have a ready-to-use cutout.

    If that's hard to understand, tell me. I probably can explain some of it better. And I'll repeat what someone else said on an earlier thread about cutouts -- do not do this with live art. Use it only in feature/breakout packages.

    And this is going to sound simplistic, but take it to heart. If you do it fast and clip large paths at a time, it's going to be a half-assed cutout. If you do it slow, blow up the photo huge and clip off little bits, you will have a quality cutout.
  6. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I'm still unclear on how to "clip a path" and what, exactly, that means.

    Also, there are ways around it if someone else's arm ends up across the body of the subject of your photo. The clone stamp tool can be great for getting of obstructions like that. It still needs to be just right, but it can be done. I've eliminated entire people from a photograph using the clone stamp tool. It really depends on whether whatever is behind the obstruction is non-descript enough that when you clone areas around it, it's not noticeable.
  7. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Here's an example of how you can get rid of an obstruction from a bball player I recently did a cutout of:


    This is blown up quite a bit, so you can tell what I did there, but when viewed at normal size, it looks great.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  8. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    I'm still trying to figure out how to get shadows on cutouts. I posted in a different thread that Gomer helped me with, but when I tried to do what he had suggested, it didn't work. I've got Photoshop 7 if that helps anybody.

    Thanks for the help.
  9. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Yeah, I'm lousy at explaining clipping. I'm betting that you know clipping and just call it something else.

    You need to use the tool that looks like an Xacto blade. Then, you click a precise, point-by-point path around your subject.
  10. TenFour

    TenFour Member

    For me, this is the easiest method:

    Once you've made your path, selected inverse, delete the background, select inverse again.

    Duplicate the layer with the selection still made.

    In your layer order box, click on the bottom layer.

    Make sure your foreground color is black. (The squares of colors in your toolbox? Black on top, usually white behind it.)

    Hit alt + delete. That fills the layer with your foreground color. (If that is confusing, dump black inside the selection with your paint bucket.)

    Now you have two identical layers, but the one in back is black.

    You can undo your selection at this point.

    With the black layer still highlighted in the layer order box, go to Filters --> Gaussian Blur.

    A dialog box pops up, and I can't remember exactly what it asks for, maybe tolerance, but you can drag the image around in the box until you find an edge. For a 48 picaish-wide image, I usually type in 8.0. Play around with how hard of an edge you want. Click OK.

    In the layer order box, change the opacity of the black layer to 50% or whatever you want.

    Then, move that layer down a few clicks and then to the left or right, or where ever you want the shadow.

    At this point, I add a new layer, fill it with white and move it to the back to get a clear image of what I have done.

    Adjust accordingly. Flaten image. Done.
  11. And now we have to have the discussion about the ethics of altering a photo.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  12. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Yeah ... I don't have a problem with that at all. But that's just me.
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