Newbie question from ex-Fireworks user

Discussion in 'Photoshop' started by Jeff G, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Jeff G

    Jeff G Guest

    I do a lot of work cutting out complex images of female models. I'm
    used to working in bitmaps and doing a lot of erasing. I see now that
    I'm going to be switching to vector graphics and paths. BTW, its Adobe
    Photoshop v 7.0 that I'm using.

    Before I start on a really complex tracing (my image is 1800 x 1200
    pixels), is there any limit to the number of points you can include on
    the path? I would really hate to use up 1499 points without having
    finished only to find I've reached the limit and can not add any more
    data to my path. I'd love any hints you may have. I'm using a "How to
    Use Adobe Photoshop 7.0" book by Giordan in addition to the Photoshop
    Help file for guidance. Knowing how to use Fireworks MX helps a little,
    but there are definitely a lot of differences.

    Thanks in advance for your time.
    Jeff G, Dec 28, 2004
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  2. Jeff G

    SpaceGirl Guest

    I've never hit a limit like that in PS7, or PS8. I suspect the limit is
    VERY high, as I've pasted some pretty complex vector paths into PS from
    Illustrator in the past without problems. We tend to work on images in
    excess of 3000x3000 pixels when retouching.


    x theSpaceGirl (miranda)

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    SpaceGirl, Dec 29, 2004
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  3. Jeff G

    Jeff G Guest

    BTW, if it helps to answer my question, here is the image I want to work
    on: . Its going to
    be a nuisance working where the sun is striking her skin and destroying
    the color data of those pixels.
    Jeff G, Dec 29, 2004
  4. Jeff G

    Peadge Guest

    If you can easily separate the subject from the background, you can make a
    selection of the deleted background, Select > Inverse to select the shape of
    the model and Make Work Path from your Paths palette (little triangle in
    the upper right corner.) Once the path has been defined, you can create a
    Custom Shape by going to Edit > Define Custom Shape. This will create a
    vector shape that is easily accessed through your Custom Shapes tool. It may
    be a bit of a time saver.

    If you have any influence on the photographers themselves, you may be able
    to get them to shoot high contrast silhouettes which would turn the task
    into mere seconds.

    Peadge :)
    Peadge, Dec 29, 2004
  5. Jeff G

    Jeff G Guest

    As I define the path with the pen tool, the area selected is filled with
    color. I need to make this transparent. I ma slightly more than
    halfway done with the selection, and now I can no longer see the border
    of the model to place points with the pen tool. Looking at my two
    reference sources and the available options I cannot figure out how to
    make the selected area transparent so I can see where to place points
    with the pen tool.

    What's the answer?
    Jeff G, Dec 29, 2004
  6. Jeff G

    Peadge Guest

    The answer you seek is ......AAAARRRGGG!

    Well not really, but you do have a couple choices You could reduce the
    opacity of the layer you're using for the paths by adjusting it at the top
    of the layers palette. Reducing Opacity would my first choice.

    On your next project, you might try clicking on another icon on the options
    bar for the pen tool, just below "Image" at the top of your screen (pen tool
    need to be selected). My guess is you have "Shape Layers" selected, when
    "Paths" would be a better option. Don't select Paths for this project yet as
    it will likely erase all your tedious work so far. So first, try reducing
    the opacity. In the future, you could switch to Paths. Once you've completed
    your task you can fill the path from the Path palette (tiny triangle at the

    A third option also uses the opacity tool but places the model layer on top
    at reduced opacity. Reducing below 50% will disable the "auto select layer"
    feature for the move tool for that layer.

    Peadge :)

    Peadge :)

    Peadge :)
    Peadge, Dec 29, 2004
  7. Jeff G

    MOP Guest

    I'm a bit confused as to what you are trying to do? I would have thought
    trying to use a vector based mask was a retrograde step, I build a mask
    using the quickmask function in PS7 and it works very well, the big problem
    is always the hair, I would have thought a vector mask would be much more
    difficult to use round hair!
    maybe i'm missing something? I would be very interested as nearly all the
    work I do involves cutting out models of various types and changing the
    backgrounds. maybe your way is better, just can't really understand how it
    MOP, Dec 29, 2004
  8. Jeff G

    Peadge Guest

    Jeff, the OP is using his Pen Tool to trace around high resolution photos of
    models. My guess is he has the "Shape Layers" option selected, since the
    paths are being filled with the Foreground color. This filling color is
    hiding some of the portions he wants to trace next with his Pen Tool. I
    suggested reducing the opacity of his layer so he could see through to the
    photo of the model. Check out the Jeff's link to the image and you will see
    that QuickMask probably wouldn't work, at least not without taking ample
    time to create a selection:

    Vector Masks don't depend on pixels and can maintain much more definition
    than Bitmap masks, especially on things like hair. Plus, a vector image, at
    least a vector shape, creates a much smaller sized file.

    Quick mask may work just fine if a rough selection is first made and then
    commence the tedious tweaking with paint and eraser.

    Peadge :)
    Peadge, Dec 30, 2004
  9. Jeff G

    MOP Guest

    Yes I did have a look, and this picture is typical of the ones we work with
    all day
    But by definition the highest resolution in any picture can't be any higher
    than a single pixel!
    and vectors rely on X Y coordinates, I don't know what the resolution of
    this is in PS maybe someone knows?
    but I suspect it's not much higher than the pixel size of a high definition
    image, if indeed it's even as fine. Anyway eventually the vector mask has to
    be applied to the bit map so even if there were any improvenent it would be
    lost at this stage.
    Just hold down the shift key and go round the image in exactly the same way
    as using the path pen.
    MOP, Dec 30, 2004
  10. Jeff G

    Peadge Guest

    Which tool are you talking about?

    Peadge :)
    Peadge, Dec 30, 2004
  11. Jeff G

    MOP Guest

    Holding down the shift key, works with nearly all the tools, it joins
    individual point,
    but in this case I was talking about the brush tool when using the quick
    mask, and the erase brush when doing an erase.
    MOP, Dec 31, 2004
  12. Jeff G

    Peadge Guest

    Oh yes. I use that a lot on my brush tool and eraser tool. I wasn't sure
    which tool or which prior post you were talking about.

    Good suggestion.

    Have a great New Year!

    Peadge :)
    Peadge, Dec 31, 2004
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