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White background to transparent - getting a really clean edge?


NeilC

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Please could someone explain the steps to get a really clean transparent background to my logo?

I've tried selecting the foreground and making the background transparent but I end up with a jagged edge around the logo.

I've seen this method:

1. copy the image to a new layer and delete the background layer
2. copy the image to a new layer again and INVERT it
3. copy the inverted layer into the clipboard, and switch off its visibilty for now
4. go back the the +ve image and create a layer mask
5. press ALT whilst clicking on the mask thumbnail
6. paste the inverted image, then click back to the image thumbnail in the layer palette
7. duplicate this new layer until necessary (5 times?) and delete the inverted layer you created at the start
8. merge down the layers one by one (Ctrl-E) choosing to "apply mask" each time

but I don't understand how to perform all the steps, especially step 4.

Is this the right method and if so, exactly how do I do it?

Thanks
 

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RTContent

Power User
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The process that you've explained works well for cancelling out a white background, only to a certain degree though. Since the logo itself contains a lot of white you can see that it would turn a lesser shade (in the example below, a light pink). Another problem would be that you have a lot of 'off white' pixels on the edges of the logo which is difficult to select using an automated method. The resolution of the logo is pretty poor so you'll always get a harsh pixelated image.

logo.jpg

What I would suggest is that you recreate this logo from scratch. It shouldn't take too long if you have some experience with the pen tool and are able to find a similar font online. This way you can have the exact resolution that you require and the transparency will be perfect no matter what background you choose.

I hope all of that makes sense, let me know if you need further help.
 

ibclare

Queen Bee
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I would definitely recreate the optima text. One other thing you might try before redesiging the logo (and RTC is right that recreating it is the best way) would be to use either the magic wand or quick select tool, zoom in and check the edges, go to select>refine edges, contract, maybe smooth edges the tiniest bit (or you'll get hazy outlines) then mask it. Or you might simply try select>contract to bring the edge inside some. However, you may lose some of the contour and it is likely you won't have a perfect edge, the reason for using smooth edges. Probably as RTC said, your best bet is to zoom in on the logo so it is as big as you can get it without losing sight of the curves, and use the pen tool to outline it.

The pen is an absolutely vital tool if you intend to do more extractions. It may take a bit to learn to use it, but there are good tutorials, here on the forum and on the web. The more you use it, the better you get as you learn your own tricks to make it go faster and more efficiently.
 

NeilC

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Thanks for that. You're right all counts. The logo was too fuzzy to do anything with. I managed to get an Illustrator file off the company and I've used that to change the colours and then rendered it to a png of the right size. Now looks lovely and sharp.

You're also right I need to spend some time learning the tools. Trouble is I'm also trying to learn more CSS and PHP whilst I'm at it so it's all a lot to take on in short time! Of all the languages and apps I use, Photoshop makes me feel the most stupid. I sit down and realise I can't even do ultra simple things with it.
 

ibclare

Queen Bee
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Take your time. Learn your other programs so you're not overwhelmed. With PS, start with the basics. Learn what all the tools are and the hidden ones, hold your cursor on a tool and you'll see. Learn the selection tools first I would say. You already understand layers, so learn layer adjustments, layer masks, and layer effects/fx. Leave filters for last unless you just want to play with them for fun while you learn. Whenever you use a tool, pay attention to the menu. You may not need to use all of it, but knowing the changes you can make will come in handy later. A big one I would say is noticing that the stamp/clone tool has a drop down for choosing how you will use the layers. So you can use a blank layer and clone non-destructively. Anyway, you'll see. Practice, patience, and playfulness!
 

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