thinking outside the box
Erasing Backgrounds and Combining Photos
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I shall now show you how to process a more complex photo such as this one that has a varied foreground and background. Open a new blank document by clicking the + tab at the end of the document tabs. A photo with a more varied background requires a little more care to mark the background and foreground Use the eraser tool as step 1 on the previous page. The background is more varied in color so you will need to cover more of the area including areas between the flowers and leaves. Tip: Use zoom (Ctrl+mouse wheel) to enlarge the photo so you can mask in more detail, especially in the areas between the leaves and the flower. I've erased more of the background to get the best results. Use the Mask Painter tool as step 2 on the previous page, being sure to zoom in to cover all the different colors and shades. In my photo I paid particular attention to the orange stamens and the small black stigma. I've masked more of the foreground to get the best results. Select the Eraser tool again and then click on 'Erase background' on the top InfoBar. Notice that my lilies have retained the orange stamens and the small black stigma. The result is a near perfect cut out of the flowers, ready to be placed on any background.

Post erase touch-up:

With complex images, especially where there's poor contrast between background and foreground, it may be that you need to do some tidying up of the result. Using the Eraser brush (you will be in the Eraser tool still), you can erase any unwanted remaining areas. In my image I have an uneven edge on the leaf so, using the eraser brush, I set the softness of the brush to be 50% using the softness slider on the InfoBar, (this softens the edge of the brush so that the edge of the erased background will blend in more) and the smoothing to be 55% (this adjusts how accurately the nib follows your mouse movement), which enabled me to clean up the edge of the leaf. Zoom in using the Ctrl+mouse wheel to allow erasing of the detail. Now that the image has a transparent background I shall place the cut-out images on top of another photo. I can simply copy the cut out photos and paste on top of any other image on another page. Or I can just drag a new image onto the existing page and place it 'under' using 'Arrange' and then 'Move to back'. And of course I can use the usual Selector tool to resize and rotate and the flip controls to position the cut out images in any required direction. In this case I have dragged a new image of a couple onto a new page, then copy and paste my lilies onto the new image and position them (I flipped the lilies to align the straight edge to the right of the picture). What a happy couple! Xara Photo & Graphic Designer is the most flexible and time-saving all-in-one creative tool that provides a range of photo, graphic design and DTP functions. At an unbeatable value for money cost, it's ideal for private and professional use: at home, in clubs, in academic institutions, and at work. For more tutorials by Xara and third parties, check out our Resource index, which offers a searchable and browsable list of movies and tutorials created by Xara and third parties.
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