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Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Removing Objects from an Image's Background

Ever feel the urge to pluck an object out of your photo's background? For example, maybe you want to take an amazing shot you got of the moon and stick it in another photo. The traditional procedure is to make your selection, invert it (Changing and Moving Selections), and then delete the rest of the image. But Elements streamlines this process with yet another "magic" tool—the Magic Extractor. It works much like the Quick Selection tool in that you just give Elements a few hints and let the program do the rest. When the Magic Extractor's done, your selection is isolated in all its lonely glory, surrounded by transparency and ready for use on its own. Like the Quick Selection tool, this tool does a surprisingly good job—most of the time. To conduct your own experiments, download the practice photo (coralbean.jpg) from the "Missing CD" page at www.missingmanuals.com.

Tip

In Elements 6 you may find it faster to use the Quick Selection tool (Selecting with a Brush), followed by inverting and deleting the background area as explained on Changing and Moving Selections. If that doesn't work, then it's time to try the Magic Extractor.

The Magic Extractor has an elaborate dialog box with tools not found elsewhere in Elements. To see it, go to Image → Magic Extractor (see Figure 5-14). You see a full-screen dialog box, including a Toolbox on the left side, instructions across the top, a preview of your image, and a set of controls at right. It looks ...

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