Tutorial Archives - VertusTech

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Landscape Photography – creative sky replacement using the color picker

 

landscape-cutout

 

Mother nature’s rich color palette at this time of year is a gift for landscape photography, often accompanied by mellow light and artistic skies that further enhance an image.. but not always. If conditions aren’t totally perfect, don’t let that stop you getting the shot.

Photography, of course, is all about light, and no amount of post production can replace the magic that happens in camera. But, if you don’t have the luxury of time, the location on your doorstep, or any of the other factors that mean this is your only chance for an image, then take it! It’s easy to replace flat grey skies using Fluid Mask with just a few clicks. This example was done in less than 3 minutes, utilising the color workspace to pick out the background with just a few clicks. Here’s a step by step explanation:

01–  First up, I selected the color picker and set the resolution to it’s coarsest setting. The sky we’re looking to select is the lightest part of the image, so by selecting just the first band, furthest to the right on the histogram, that’s highlighted most of the sky areas for me.

I then assigned these to my delete mask, by clicking on the red bucket on the left hand side of the color picker pane.

With the blend mode set to ‘thick’, I then hit ‘create cutout’ for an initial first pass at this mask.

 

– That’s given me a pretty good cutout, but viewing in the Cut-out tab, by setting the background color to something ultra contrasty (black!), you can see that there’s still a few small areas of sky showing though the leaves.

So, going back to the color picker, I zoomed in and manually selected some of these areas sampling directly from the image. Holding down the shift key allowed me to add multiple areas to my selection.

See the image below where I’ve zoomed in even further to show this.

 

picker

– Using the coarsest setting the color picker offers to get to this point so quickly, I ended up with a few of the highlights in the leaves also added to my delete mask, so tabbing between the original and the workspace, using the keep brush I spent a minute adding these highlights back to my keep mask, keeping the blend mask width to ‘thick’ to avoid any unnatural hard edges.

And that’s the job done. Super easy, super fast!

You can of course work the other way around – use the color picker to select hues for your keep mask, and then use the autofill with delete option, instead of autofill with keep. It would depend on whether it’s your foreground or background that has the easier selection to pick out. For landscape photography, it’s often the sky that an easier selection to make.

Enjoy the magic of fall, whatever the weather, and work smarter with Fluid Mask.

Posted on: September 27, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, How to..., Trees & Lattices, Tutorial

Fluid Mask 3 Key Commands and Shortcuts sheet.

 

Here’s a handy download –   a Fluid Mask 3 shortcuts sheet listing key commands for Fluid Masks’s tools and commonly used actions. You can really speed up your workflow by getting to know and using these shortcuts. Please click on the image to view and download the .pdf version.  Work even smarter with Fluid Mask 3!!

Fluid Mask 3 Shortcuts Sheet

 

Posted on: September 8, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Further Tips, How to..., Tutorial

Fluid Mask Training: project file and video tutorial

Here’s a cutout tutorial along you can work along to by downloading a Fluid Mask training project file. After applying a patch to the whole image, you’ll be shown how to easily mask out the sky, without losing any of the fine detail. This utilises the color workspace, one of Fluid Mask’s key tools to help you achieve perfect masks, quickly and easily.

Fluid Mask Training - before/after image

Here’s the original image and the final mask, click for larger image to see the detail

..and here's our image with a new sky added

..and here’s our image with a new sky added.  A definite improvement!

Please download the .vfmp file here, and view the accompanying tutorial on YouTube.

The project (.vfmp) file will download automatically after accepting license conditions, and can then be opened in Fluid Mask, either by launching Fluid Mask, then in the menu bar going to ‘File’ -> ‘load project’ and selecting the downloaded file (FM3_Training_1.vfmp).
Or you can just double click the project file which will launch Fluid Mask and load the project.
Upon first opening, the project shows you how your completed mask will look. You can clear this and apply the mask again, working along to the cutout tutorial, by going to File -> ‘Revert Mask’. Remember when adding to your blend selection, that you must extend your blend by brushing all the way into your keep and your delete selections.. it’s leaving a selection out, however small, that confuses Fluid Mask and results in contamination.

As always, we welcome any feedback.

 

Posted on: December 1, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, How to..., Trees & Lattices, Tutorial

If all you want for Christmas is a perfect mask, fast.. here’s how:

Here’s a quick Christmas themed example utilising the patch tool & the color workspace. These are workaday elements of Fluid Mask that help you achieve fast, accurate masking. If you’re not yet familiar with them, it’s recommended that you view our online tutorials that cover these functions first.  Work smarter not harder with Fluid Mask.

Happy Holidays from all at Vertus!

XmasCutoutWP

Patch applied using the (polygon) patch tool

Patch applied using the (polygon) patch tool

First, I isolated the area to be masked using the patch tool to take advantage of the advanced blending options this offers. I’ve used the polygon option here, clicking for anchor points as I go, but you could also use the patch brush. However it’s applied, make sure your patch stays reasonably close to the area to be masked, to ensure there’s not too much bleed into the background area to be deleted.

The color workspace, with 'keep' areas selected

The color workspace, with ‘keep’ areas selected

Using the colour workspace, in this instance as a 2D colour map, I then selected the areas within the patch to keep. The colour map allows you to select areas by clicking and dragging a marquee over the area of interest or by sampling a color directly from the image (more about that below). The selection is highlighted yellow in the 2D colour map and also within the image. I then assigned the selection as a keep mask by clicking the green keep mask bucket icon to the left of the workspace. Having made my initial keep selection, I was able to see the results by clicking preview in the patch properties:

'Preview' enabled within Patch Properties

‘Preview’ enabled within Patch Properties

An impressive first pass. To make sure I’ve included all the pine needles and snow, I went back to the colour workspace to apply a blend to my keep selection (see below). It can be easier to see what you are doing by clicking the green eye in the colour workspace, turning off visibility of the keep selection, leaving visible the remaining unassigned pixels in the color map.

fig4

The color map with the green keep selection turned off

Using the colour sampler, I took selections directly from within the image, selecting areas to keep by sampling the colours from the tree’s needles, snow and the bauble. These selections will appear yellow in the color workspace, it was easy to then expand the selections by selecting similar colours from within the workspace. It’s a great way to fine tune your keep/delete/blend selections, you select colors either directly from your image (using the Color Sampler) or in the color workspace display itself. In both cases, the selected colors are highlighted yellow in the image and the color map.

Fig5

Keep mask with blend applied using the colour workspace. Notice there’s now no pixels showing in the workspace histogram, as both keep and blend selections are hidden.

As the whole of the keep area is fairly sharp, I’ve set the intelligent blending slider all the way over to ‘smart’ and set complex edge blending to ‘sharp’ for a perfect result:

Fig6

With one click I then applied delete mask to the rest of the image (the red delete local brush) and hit create cutout. Job done. Work smarter not harder with Fluid Mask!

MerryXmasFromVertus

Posted on: December 16, 2013 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, How to..., Trees & Lattices, Tutorial

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