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Please remove image background.


dbosserman

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Would anyone be so kind as to please attempt to remove the gray background texture from this gif image? All I want are clean black lines on a clean white background (although a transparent background would be even nicer). I've tried to do this myself but I've found it really quite difficult! I've looked everywhere I could think of for the cleaner source image that was utilized in creating this gif back in 1995, but it seems that it's vanished from the internet.

newbirds6.gif

Not that it matters, but to anyone who is interested, this is an old alchemical emblem, a version of which dates back to a document first printed in 1582.

www.photoshopgurus.com.jpg

Also (though by no means is it a requirement!), if you are successful and have a little extra time, could you please explain to me how you actually accomplished removing that background?

Thanks in advance to anyone who even attempts the effort.
 
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Tom Mann

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a) Do u have a copy with larger pixel dimensions (i.e., higher resolution)?

b) Have u tried tools such as the Blend-If sliders or the image trace tool in Illustrator?

Cheers,

Tom M
 

Tom Mann

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There are two basic ways one can approach a problem like this:

1. The best way is by tracing the original art using Photoshop's (or Illustrator's) pen tool. This will, by far, give the best results, and probably in the least time, assuming you are already know how to use the pen tool. However, if you are not familiar with it, many people find learning to use the pen tool difficult.

2. The other way to approach this problem is to use tools more familiar to photography-oriented Photoshop users with the goal of simplifying the textured area of the image (eg, reducing the contrast and increasing the brightness) so that you can apply automatic edge or path-finding tools to what remains. From your first post, it sounds like this is the approach you already tried. In truth, you probably will never be able to achieve the degree of simplification necessary for the edge / path finding tools to work perfectly. The result of this is, like-it-or-not, you are going to wind up using the pen tool, if only to fill in a relatively small number of missing or erroneous line segments.

Since you didn't mention the pen tool in your first post, I assume that you are not facile with it, therefore I asked about your familiarity with a more conventional tool (the BlendIf sliders) and an automated path tracing tool (ie, the one in Adobe Illustrator).

I'll wait to hear back from you about your preferences / familiarity with the various tools.

Cheers,

Tom M

PS - Once again: Do you have a higher resolution version of this image? It would help greatly.
 
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Tom Mann

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To add further encouragement to learning to use the Pen tool in Photoshop, here's the best I could do using the second approach I outlined in my previous post, ie, simplifying and increasing the contrast, but not following up by using either an automated edge tracing tool, or manually using the pen tool.

newbirds6_gif-acr-ps01a-3x-01_33pct.jpg

Enough said, LOL.

Cheers,

Tom M
 

MrToM

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Turn to greyscale, upscale, sharpen, de-noise, levels & curves god knows how many times, turned round three times, spat on the floor and whistled God Save The Queen backwards...

alchemy_MT_01.png

Its rough and ready but with the image provided.......and I left it with a transparent background too. (Although that may not show it IS transparent)

Regards.
MrToM.
 

dbosserman

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You are exactly right, Tom. Just as you said, first I tried reducing the contrast and increasing the brightness. Then I actually tried zooming in very very close to manually tweak what was selected by the automatic edge tracing tool--which is probably similar to just using the pen tool, only much less precise (particularly with all that disruptive background noise). And you're right, I'm not at all facile with the pen tool, though I did glance at a tutorial which recommended to use the pen tool when the background of an image is complex.

I only wish that I did have a better resolution version of this image to work with! That would change everything. I should probably just commission someone to recreate the image from scratch over in the paid area at this point, don't you think? I can't imagine it would take any less energy to trace the whole thing with the pen tool than it would to just redraw it from scratch. At least I've got some good reference images for an artist to work with.

Still, if you think it's worth the effort, maybe I will try the pen tool. Do you have a favorite tutorial on how to wield it?
 

dbosserman

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Well, this is a little better than I was able to do myself, Tom. But, I imagine you processed it a little more than I did, as I was discouraged by the loss of clarity. It's amazing how we can perceive edges so clearly, even against a noisy background, but the algorithms in software are just not able to isolate the images we see. Thank you, though. I appreciate your efforts.
 

dbosserman

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Paul, thank you for giving it a go. You've done a nice job. However, just to clarify, it's actually the first image that I was seeking to clean up. While it is very similar to the second (it was ultimately derived from it) the first image's style is more sleek and balanced (it might have actually been composed on a computer). It's just that it's nearly impossible to extract the first image with all of the gray texture background noise. Still, I do appreciate your work and I may resolve to use this cleaned up version of the second image if the first image cannot be fixed.
 

dbosserman

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Mr. Tom, this looks really nice! Even if it's actually the first image (with the noisy gray background) that I wanted cleaned up, this is a very crisp version of the second image, which I'd honestly feel pretty good about using.
 

Paul

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Paul, thank you for giving it a go. You've done a nice job. However, just to clarify, it's actually the first image that I was seeking to clean up. While it is very similar to the second (it was ultimately derived from it) the first image's style is more sleek and balanced (it might have actually been composed on a computer). It's just that it's nearly impossible to extract the first image with all of the gray texture background noise. Still, I do appreciate your work and I may resolve to use this cleaned up version of the second image if the first image cannot be fixed.
Will this do - the wonders of Ai

byrdbomb.png
 

dbosserman

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Paul, thanks again. Now, what you've provided here is still the second image from my original post, albeit nicely cleaned up, and larger than your first offering. But as no one has been able to clean up the first image (which would be a bit of a nightmare to do, due to the gray textured background), this is really not half bad. Thanks again. Still, I think the best thing I've seen thus far is Mr. Tom's version of the second image--he retained a bit more of the detail in his clean-up process.
 

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