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Remove Background Quick Look
This is my 7th year removing/replacing background on a daily basis. Hence, a quick and accurate background removal software is important to me. In the early years, I looked at specialized background removal software but non of them seems to work properly or can remove without flaw. So I ended up using Photoshop exclusively for background removal. 

Photos targeted for background removal were normally taken using green or blue screen. Some suggested that gray screen should be used. I tried green, blue, gray and white. They all have their drawbacks and there is no ideal solution as the background colour normally bleed onto the object which you wanted to cut it out. But with care, eg, lighting control and distance from the background, the problem of colour bleed can be minimised.

I was excited to find background removal in PortraitPro and did a quick evaluation on one of my "standard" photos to see how good it is. So, I attached a picture of the comparisons between Photoshop and PortraitPro V17!

PortraitPro provide a set of tools which removed the blue background effectively, without too much softening or losing of details. Colour bleed was effectively removed and leaves no trace of it. To do this, I found that the "Smart Background" is indeed smart! The slight jagged edges were quickly removed using the "Soften Mask Edge". (Note that I didn't apply the tool "Soften Mask edge" to the image attached and hence you can see the slight jagged edge on the skin).

I wish the toggling of "-" and "+"  tools are using "Alt" instead of "Shift" key.
There is no "Tone Curves" live view.
Other than the above, I can't find fault at the moment using my standard photo.

Without "Color Decontaminate" switched on, a blue edge is clearly visible. To remove this, "Color Decontaminate" should be switched on but it introduces softening which may not be acceptable.

What I like to see improvement in PortraitPro so that it can integrate into my workflow effectively:
1. Allow transparent background transfer (ideally with mask or less ideally without mask) of image back to Photoshop. This is because there are still much works to be done on the image before it is finalised and also allows flexibility of changing to a new background should customer changes his/her mind.
2. Perhaps allows saving in PNG format with no background.

As of now, the PortraitPro new background removal feature still can't be part of my workflow without altering my workflow. I shall see how this can be handled. On the other hand, i wish PortraitPro can implement the above quickly.

My next test is to see how well it perform in an image which is challenging to have the background removed.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

You are much more versed in it than I am, but I am also playing around with the background feature in PP. I was playing with this photo last night (dropbox link), having a bear of a time with the chair - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w1dxjae6zsk4r...UQQHa?dl=0

Ava260b is the original/pre-masked photo

PP crashed on me numerous times while I was trying to select/edit etc. I had saved a 'session' so I wouldn't have to first do the face again and could go directly into background masking. I will play around with 'soften mask edge' as I hadn't used that yet. Original photo was taken on dimly lit stage during live performance, 8000ISO. I found a beach background just to see what I could do with it and the dancer.

I am also having PP getting confused - sometimes it apparently thinks I am in Photoshop and it won't give me the option to 'save as' etc., only to 'return from plugin' even though I was not using PP as a plugin, Photoshop wasn't even running. iMac running Yosemite, 14 gigs of ram.
Hi Franklin,

You are doing fine. My suggestion, you need to adjust the brush size and strength to give you a more desirable result, especially the hair. Also, I noticed that better results can be achieved by using the masking tools in a certain sequence. I didn't record the sequence just now but I would like you to experiment with it.

You surely need to try out the following tools: Soften mask edge and Find Details. You may also like to try out the Blur/Sharpen, Grow/Shrink and Shift Edge tools to see the effects.

After experimenting with your picture, PP needs to add in Lasso tool (especially free hand tracing and line tracing). With lasso tool, those areas with less distinction between background and foreground can easily be resolved.

On my Windows PC, I don't have any crash.

The other day you were asking whether there is an easy way to jump straight to background editing. Since the main purpose of PP is for facial editing, I think you could set up your own preset which automatically disable all the other tools and left with only "Background". This should save you a few extra clicks. You may also experiment with "PP setting (File->Setting) and disable Automatically detect face and gender. This is just a workaround. When PP starts up, you just go straight to "Skin Editing". In skin editing, do a "Back" and enable your own preset (I think this can can be done automatically) which will bring you to Background Removal. This is not a win-all solution but just a workaround. I hope PP will add in an extra option for "Background" at startup.

Hope the above helps.
Thank you William for the advice. I will dabble with some of your suggestions as I find time. The hair is my main concern as I want it to look natural and I struggle with that.

Then again I am fighting some complex backgrounds in the photos I have been editing. In the samples shown by PP they usually have a very plain background with good contrast as a start, and then in their video tutorials just drag down the hair in one move making it look super easy to edit photos. Well it is lots easier when having a photo that is easy to edit. My impression was that I could get acceptable results without spending so much time touching things up. Perhaps as I get more experience with the program I'll shave some time off.

I posted another background photo replacement in the photo critique section if you want to give that a look.

I am pushing boundaries and not necessarily using PP background as intended.

If I go directly into PP without using it as a plugin, I can save sessions which helps shortcut things a bit, or as snapshots.
Hi Franklin,

I did a quick background removal (see attached file) yesterday and because the image is of low resolution, I won't be able to do a better work on the hair. However, with my suggestion, I think you could improve.

Best of luck.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)
I rarely upload my photos high resolution online. A local photographer in my home state in the US just found out a photographer in Australia was using her photos to promote a photo business in Australia. The photographer in the US is taking legal action.
Fully agree with you. Someone did that to me also even with low resolution images.

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