Issues with Isolation
I don't know about anyone else, but isolating images is one of my least favorite tasks in Photoshop.
I see that there was a blog on this topic in late December, but that was focused on shooting within a lightbox, or in other conditions that you can manipulate. Lots of times, I'm trying to isolate a large object that I found in natural conditions, rather than a small subject that I can get in a lightbox.
I have tried just about every method I can find to isolate my subject, and then create credible, realistic transitions between the image and the background. Magic Wand, Quick Select, Extraction, Calculations. . . None of these are easy, and few are satisfying. I end up spending hours on a single image, trying to get things just right.
What do other people do? I have seen many beautiful isolations on Dreamstime. Look at this image, for example:
Steve McSweeny (I don't know him--I just like his work) has done an incredible job with those feathers (and I doubt he was able to get that eagle to pose cooperatively against a neutral backdrop!).
Here's another seamless isolation, from Pumpa1:
this time with an amazing semi-reflection.
I'm not asking for trade secrets, but I would love to know how and where people learned to create such beautiful work.