Cutting Out Your Image In Photoshop – Step By Step Guide

I recently published a video tutorial where I show how to cut out an image using Photoshop and the tools I used.

After this video tutorial was posted I received a few emails asking if I could create a guide that would include screen shots of the entire process.

So, I listened and decided to create this post where I created screen shots with all the steps to use this technique for extracting your images.


If you want to see the video of this…Click Here!

I am using Photoshop CS5 and the pen tool for this lesson. It takes a little practice to get use to this tool, but once you do it will come in handy.

Before we get started you I would suggest that you bookmark this page, so you can come back to this post in the future.

Ok…let’s get started.

The very first step is to select the pen tool in the tool pallet.


Once you select the pen tool you will need to create your first point. Then continue around the subject to create additional points that will outline the area to be selected.


When you click on one of the handles you can bend and curve the point to create the proper shape.


Sometimes you may need to make a change or start a new point. You can delete a point by right clicking your mouse and choosing delete.


If you want to click one of the handles so you can create a straighter line you will need to click your Option or Alt key and click the point.


In areas that have many edges you want to make sure you create a variety of points to make the selection look natural.


Pay attention to your edges and make sure your points of the outline is on the subject. In the example below you will see the wrong way and the correct way so you will have the best selection possible.



It can take some practice using the handles to shape your selection areas. Play with the handles so you get a feel for how they react as you pull and move them around. After you practice and see how it works it will become much easier.



Once you have made it all the way around your subject to be cut out, you need to click the final point and complete the selection.


Now you are ready to create the path which can be found in your pallet tabs. If you don’t see it you may need to turn it on under your windows to display. The images below show how to find and make it visible.



This next step is very important so your edges are not to sharp. Adding just a slight feather will help give your subject a more natural look when blending with your Digital Background or Props.



Sometimes after you create the path it may not be exactly where you wanted it. It may need to be moved in slightly. You can do this by using the Contract option. You can also use the Expand option if you need to move the selection out a little.






If your layer is locked you will need to unlock it before cutting or copying. All you do is double click the layer and it will become unlocked. At this point you can also name it if you choose to.




If you notice the when you choose copy it removes your subject and leaves the background you ill need to inverse the layer.




If you are using a Digital Background and Prop you will need to open that file and then drag your cut out selection layer into the opened file.


This example is one of our Digital Creations from our club that we created called “Flower Cart Cottage”. You will notice is has more than just a background. It has a cover layer that makes it easier to insert a subject.


After you drag your subject into the Digital Background you will automatically create a layer with your new subject from your cut out.


If you are using a digital prop and it has a cover-up layer, (which ours do)¬† and you will need to make sure it is below the layer. This will allow the cover-up layer to do it’s job.


One of the most important steps to making the final portrait realistic is scaling it properly. You want to make the subject look as if it was photographed that way in the first place.


If you don’t see the transform bounding box, you need to locate the “Show Transform Controls” as shown in the image below. You can also scale your subject by clicking on===>edit===>transform===>scale.


Another mistake I see people making is skewing there subject when scaling. If you don’t hold your shift key when scaling it will skew the image and stretch the image.



Bookmark this page for future reference.

If you want to download and use our “Flower Cart Cottage” Digital Creation…see the links below.

Members Login Here To Download

Click Here To Join the Club

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