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Removing the Background
Paint Shop Pro Smart Edge Lasso Tool

Removing the Background > Paint Shop Pro

Paint Shop Pro's freehand selection tool offers an alternate selection type called Smart Edge. The smart edge tool works quite well for this image which has a very distinct edge, despite the uneven edge and multicolored background.


To use the Smart Ege selection tool, you select the lasso tool, then choose Smart Edge as the selection type in the tool options palette.

Start by clicking once on the edge of the object you want to select, then drag around the edges of the object, keeping the edges of the object within the bounding box, and clicking every so often to place the selection.

Don't worry about making a perfect selection... you're getting it close, and that's what's important. As you can see below, my selection isn't perfect, especially around the stem of the leaf. We can fix this later.

When you get back around to your starting point, double click the tool and you'll see a selection marquee around the object as shown below.

I'll show you how to refine the selection next. Go to Masks > New > Show selection. Next choose Selections > Select None. Here's what you should see:

From the Masks menu, choose Edit and View Mask. In the layers palette, click on the Mask tab, then click the mask icon to toggle the mask off.

This allows us to see our image with the mask displayed as a ruby overlay.

Now we can paint in the mask with shades of gray to edit the mask. Painting with pure black adds to the mask, and painting with white erases it. For more on masks, see my previous article, All About Grayscale Masks.

Zoom into your mage and use the painting tools to refine the edge of the mask. While you're zoomed into the image you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to pan around the image:
[Home] - pans to the left
[End] - pans to the right
[Page Up] - pans up
[Page Down] - pans down
The arrow keys will also pan the image in one pixel increments.

You'll want to use a fairly small brush, alternating between white and black paint to refine the edges of the mask. Here's how the mask looked around the stem area before correcting it with the painting tools:

And here it is after some correction with the paintbrush:

It may seem like a tedious task, but I think you'll find it only takes a few minutes with a bit of practice. Here's the image after refining the edges of the mask:

Any image editing filters you can apply to an image can also be applied to the mask when you are in mask edit mode. We can soften the edges of this mask by using Gaussian blur. Go to Image > Blur > Gaussian blur and use a radius of about 0.50.

Now remove the X from the Mask icon in the layers palette. Go to the Masks menu and deselect Edit and View Mask. The background is hidden.

Here's the image after adding a new background layer.

As long as the mask is still linked to the image, you can return to edit mode and modify it at any time. If you see any areas that need to be touched up, go back to edit mode and use the painting tools or filters to fix them. For instance, if you used too much Gaussian Blur in the previous step, you can go to mask edit mode and use Image > Edge > Enhance as a quick fix.

Removing the Background > Paint Shop Pro > Example 1 2 3

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Some images from Nova Development's Art Explosion 600,000.

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