Level: Intermediate (useful for advanced users)
Have you ever tried to cut an image out of it’s background using Photoshop only to be dissapointed in the fact that it does no look good in its new background?
This is one way to do photoshop masking.
Here I go over 3 simple steps to make your cutout more realistic. This lesson was created for lower level users as well as advanced users. The technique used here to make the first selection is only used to keep the learning gradient easy. Advanced users would replace the selection steps shown below with what they know of with regard to making a selection.
Photoshop Version: CS2 (Can apply to Earlier versions up to Photoshop 7)
First select the polygonal lasso tool. Click and drag around the outside of the image you want to cutout.
Next use the lasso tool to cutout the inside parts of the image. You do this by holding [Alt/Option] and click with the lasso, then continue until you have covered the part you want to cutout. For this image you will need to cutout 2 places — the hole for the top ring and the hole for the bottom ring.
Next go to [Select->Modify->Smooth] and enter in a radius of 2 pixels. The radius is how much to smooth the selection. If the selection you made earlier is very jagged you might want to experiment with higher radius levels to smooth out the selection.
Next go to [Select->Feather] and enter in a radius of 1. This will blur the edges of the selection a bit and give it a more real look.
Next go to [Select->Modify->Contract] and enter in an amount of one pixel. This makes the selection a little tighter which also helps in making a nice cutout.
After you have done these steps, just copy and paste the part of the image you have now cutout.
The final image cutout looks like this:
Note: The grid you see in the back is used to denote transparency (Or Seethroughness) in Photoshop.