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Editing on white background

I recently purchased a white muslin background and have by trial and error tried to get a few images up on my PF but a huge amount were rejected because of poor background removal.

My question however is this.

Must the lines of your model/subject be sharp and clear against the white or should it be feathered for a softer edge?

f3.5-5.6 Sigma 17-50 f2.8 Canon 24-70L f2.8 Canon 70-200L f4 43...
Posted: 09/17/2013, 09:58:17 AM
Are you trying to create a clipping mask, or is your background simply not coming out a pure white?
Tamron 60mm F2; Tamron AF 28-300mm F3.5; Canon Speedlite 430EX II; ...
Posted: 09/18/2013, 08:34:33 AM
The edges of the model should be sharp, but not aliased.
Nikon D70, standard lens
Posted: 09/18/2013, 09:24:08 AM
Background is not coming out pure white around some edges of the model.
f3.5-5.6 Sigma 17-50 f2.8 Canon 24-70L f2.8 Canon 70-200L f4 43...
Posted: 09/18/2013, 12:18:56 PM
Your background needs a ton of light on it. Two stops overexposed from the subject. Keep the subject away from the background so you don't get light coming onto the subject.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Posted: 09/18/2013, 14:39:42 PM
This is what I use.

Freaky Big Softbox

Two cheap strobes pop in from the sides and the whole 6x7 softbox lights up. Meter it for two stops over your subject exposure. Put the subject three feet away from it and bam! Great pure white background with just a bit of adjustment brushing in Lightroom.
lens. Alien bees studio lights....
Edited: 09/18/2013, 14:47:51 PM
When u place a subject in front of the white BG and illuminate the BG with light (2 stops higher than the subject), the light reflects from the BG and falls on the subject from behind. This creates a feathered and whiter edges of the subject you are clicking.
This also creates a dull image because your camera is looking directly at the light.

How to mitigate?
Well, I am still experimenting.
- Keeping the subject much away from the BG.
- Using cutters for the BG light etc.

Yet to achieve perfection. Not yet there.
Any suggestions will be welcome.
f/2.8 L IS II USM 50mm, f/1.4...
Posted: 09/18/2013, 22:34:47 PM
I guess a setup of this sort requires access to a studio. Is there a DIY alternative to this?
Sony NEX 6
Posted: 09/19/2013, 07:22:29 AM
Some generic advice... What was different in your approach for the shots that were accepted vs those that weren't? You're setting up a controlled environment so it should be possible to pretty much replicate the successful approach every time.
Vue 7, Daz 3, Wings 3D and the odd photo.
Posted: 09/19/2013, 09:32:23 AM
I manually erase the edges as needed.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 09/19/2013, 13:18:13 PM
Like Peanutroaster said, a TON of light on the background and it will help greatly. Also, (not sure if this is what he meant) I have shot using my large softbox as a background. I've used this for portraits as well as various still lifes. It allows the light to gently wrap around your subject and gives you a very clean, bright white background.

This image was shot that way and the background is perfectly white. Softbox as backdrop and one light directly in front of subject from above.
   Image not available or id is incorrect.   
Tamron 60mm F2; Tamron AF 28-300mm F3.5; Canon Speedlite 430EX II; ...
Posted: 09/19/2013, 15:03:08 PM
Thanks all. ... my obvious problem them was lack of enough light on the background. I was using speedlites for the whole series. Might need to look into another speedlite to help with background. Not keen on large strobes at the moment as my main thing is mobility. Thanks again
f3.5-5.6 Sigma 17-50 f2.8 Canon 24-70L f2.8 Canon 70-200L f4 43...
Posted: 09/19/2013, 23:54:37 PM
I do most of my on white in my garage or when I take over my wife's dining room with a mix of studio strobes (2 AB 1600s, 1 AB 800) and two speedlights.

I have two strobes that point at the white back drop with two bi-fold closet doors wrapped around them to block the light from coming back at me too much. I position the model/item forward (closer to me) of the doors to reduce the amount of reflected light from falling on them.

In the dining room, we have a glass table top, so I roll the white paper over it and position a light under the table to make sure the entire table top remains white. This method helps with harsh shadows too. ;)

The biggest issue when using the garage setup, due to the height, is making sure the corners of the photos don't have too much falloff and turn grey.
Posted: 10/12/2013, 17:59:13 PM
Please look at my portfolio at isolated people against white background. The setup is: a white wall as background, 3 meters width and 2.5 height. At about 2 meters of this wall i put a speedlight on the flour. This one will be pointed to the wall at about 45 degrees and will burn it making a circle of white. Next, at about 1 meter from speedlight is the model. In the front of the model and at about 45 degrees up and 20 degrees to the right there is another speedlight with an reflective umbrella on a stativ. That is all. I use f8 and 1/125 or 1/180 in manual mode. Before shooting I make some test and set the two speedlights to proper expose the model skin and to burn the background. After this, you can shoot all night long. The only rule is to put a mark on the floor and be careful the model to stay at that position. Check your histogram often and set the flash accordingly if your model change the posture.

Step 2 is very important too. In lightroom 4 and 5 please move the White slider above 50 because LR try tu un-burn the wall. This will not affect your model. With these settings you will need only some brush exposure to correct the corners of the frame. Around the model will be pure white and no work to do.

If you need help please send me a raw file and I will give more tips about settings and lights positioning/power. I am here to help. Use my fb account or my blog address.
Posted: 10/13/2013, 11:32:52 AM
Use the pen tool for isolation and the edges will be great!
Canon EOS 60D, Canon 70-200 L, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 50mm, Fisheye 8mm
Posted: 10/14/2013, 00:59:09 AM

Originally posted by Wildcat123:
Quoted Message: Use the pen tool for isolation and the edges will be great!

...and try this on hair and tell us if your eyes still working after this lol :)
Posted: 10/14/2013, 01:56:06 AM
1) The best way is that suggested by Alvera. To use a white background over exposed by 2 stops.

2) Second best way is to use a plugin called "Vertus Fluid mask".

3) Third best way is use Refine Edge Tool in Photoshop.

Using the Pen-tool is not even an option after all these big development in photoshop. It works, but is too laborious. It was however the most prevalent tool till CS3/CS4. But now we have better and easier tools.

Its the over exposed BG that works best. But not every one has got a provision to set up such a BG at home.
f/2.8 L IS II USM 50mm, f/1.4...
Posted: 10/14/2013, 02:52:27 AM