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Using the Magic Extractor in Photoshop Elements 4.0

Extracting an object to create a new image By John Virata

The Magic Extractor in Photoshop Elements 4.0 enables you to extract out certain parts of an image while retaining only that part of the image that you need. The tool enables you to perform the extraction in three steps. Within this quick tip, we'll perform an extraction of a dog. 

First we'll go over the Magic Extractor's toolset, starting with the Foreground Brush tool. You select the object you wish to extract with this tool. You can change the brush size in Tool Options, as well as the foreground and background color. For this tip we selected yellow as the foreground color and blue as the background color.

Foreground Brush tool color is yellow


With the Foreground brush tool, click the areas of the image that you wish to extract. With the dog, the yellow dots mark the areas of the dog that will be extracted. The red collar as well as the non white portions of the dog are also marked to ensure the complete dog is removed from the scene.

Background brush tool color is blue



Click the Background Brush tool and continue marking the areas of the image that you wish to remove. I concentrated on the areas closest to the dog without actually touching the dog. For areas between the dog's legs, I reduced the pixel size of the brush from 20 pixels to 5 pixels. That way I don't contaminate the colors and can remove just the green portion between the dog's legs. If I need to remove parts of the background brush tool, I use the point eraser tool which will remove just the areas that I wish to remove. It works just like an eraser tool in Photoshop Elements 4.0.


The Preview button will give you a look at how your selection will look when removed from the image. Your preview should look something like the image above.


After you preview, use the Smoothing brush to remove unwanted portions that remain. The brush size can further be tweaked accordingly. Now that you've smoothed out the image, removing any extra unwanted pixels, you are ready to save the image as a new image.

The image above represents the image when saved out from Magic Extractor. Because I didn't get all the unwanted pixels, I used the eraser tool to remove the extra pixels. The final image is below. That is it. If you wish to practice on the doggie image, you can download the image file here doggie.jpg. A tryout version of Photoshop Elements is available at the Adobe website or by clicking here.

Final image all cleaned up


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
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