Design party: cutting objects from their background
I love doing tiny little things in Photoshop that most people probably find tedious and boring. One of those things is cutting objects out of their backgrounds. It's probably the equivalent to crocheting or sweeping or washing dishes, as it's kind of monotonous and let's my brain breathe for a bit. It's nice to have little breathers like that in your work day!
If you're not familiar with some of the cool things you can do with this technique you should click here, here and here to see some examples.
I'll be walking you through how I added in the pink circle above. So here's what we do:
Step 1: open image. Resave as a psd/xcf file so that you can preserve the layers.
Step 2: duplicate your layer.
Step 3: turn visibility off of bottom layer.
Step 4: zoom in to 300-400% and start erasing around the focal point of the top layer. I use a small sized brush (4-6px). A technique I use is to erase just a small dot, hold shift, then hit the next point. It will erase everything between your first and 2nd points. It's like magic.
Step 5: once you get the edges erased you can make your eraser size bigger and start going to town on the background!
Step 6: when your background is erased you can turn your bottom layer back on then add a new layer above it.
Step 7: in the new layer you can add in whatever shape you want! I chose a pink circle (obvs).
Step 8: if there are still some obvious edges along your main image (like you can see in mine below--the image on the left) zoom back in and start erasing again, but keep the shape behind it so that you can see better.
Step 9: Add any styling you want to finish out the design. I faded my circle to about 50%, added a second circle with a stroke around it (at 0% fill), then played around with a quote and some lettering. BAM, done!
I suggest playing around a whole bunch and looking all over for inspiration on what you can do with this technique. It really adds more dimensionality and interest to an image!
I'll leave you with these tips:
Tip 1: it's going to be easier to cut out an image if it contrasts well from it's background (white on black, black on white, etc).
Tip 2: save constantly ! CONSTANTLY.
Tip 3: it's not always necessary to cut out the entire image. Save time and only cut out the portion that will have something behind it.
Tip 4: ctrl-z to easily erase something if you messed up (my favorite thing about graphic design!).
Tip 5: you may need to go in with a teeeeeeny tiny eraser (1-2 px) and clean up sharp edges. The details aren't the details, people. They're everything.