Background Removal Tools
Product Photography Background Removal Tools
Shutter Stream Product Photography Software is designed to automate product photography workflows while enabling users of any skill level to create better quality results. Typically, customers requirements involve product photography with transparent or pure white backgrounds – for use in a variety of applications from eCommerce and Amazon to print and catalog. Shutter Stream employs a range of tools that will allow users to easily and effectively remove product images from backgrounds in an automated manner. These include:
Automated Tools (can be applied to a single image or in a batch process):
- Magic Wand Tool: Select background pixel color and define using a tolerance to remove similar color pixels from the image
- Background Removal Using Reference Image: Uses image recognition to understand product vs. background and will auto cut the background
- Dual Shot Background Removal: Capture images at two different exposures and use the underexposed image as the mask image to auto cut product from background
- Auto Apply Edits: While not a traditional background removal tool, users can create and auto apply and editing profile to image(s) to achieve pure white backgrounds
- Chroma Key Background Removal: Select a chroma key color (red, green or blue) to be auto-cut from an image
Manual Tools (can be applied to a single image or in a batch process):
- Polygon Lasso: Click and cut to add/remove parts of an image
- Magnetic Lasso: Click and drag around product to remove product from background
- Free Hand Lasso:
For a better understanding of how each product photography background removal tool works, please see below:
Automated Product Photography Background Removal Tools
Automated product photography background removal tools in Shutter Stream Product Photography Software have the ability to be applied to a single or set of images in a single click – offering users a more streamlined product photography process. These tools are available through a few different options
Background Removal using Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand tool is a favorite of Shutter Stream Product Photography Software users. This tool is designed to allow for easy and efficient background extraction from product images when background pixels tone and color are consistent. By clicking a background pixel, the Magic Wand tool will select all other pixels that share the same color and brightness values within a user defined Tolerance range. The Magic Wand tool can be applied to a single or set of images in a batch process using a single click. it can also be auto-applied to an image immediately after capture (utilizing the previous set settings).
In addition to tolerance, users can define additional mask selection and mask processing settings when using the Magic Wand tool including: Constrain or Unconstrain Selection, Edge Sensitivity, Hole Fill, Speck Removal, Mask Grow Radius and Edge Blending.
Background Removal using Reference Image
By being able to control camera capture and relevant variables, Shutter Stream Product Photography Software includes background removal using a reference image. This functionality uses image recognition to understand product vs. background and can automatically detect a product from its background. The process involves taking a product images (or series of product images) then taking a picture of the background only. Users set the background image as the reference image which is used to compare individual pixels against the product image(s) – discarding pixels that share the same color and brightness values within a user defined Tolerance range.
Background Removal using a Reference Image can be applied to a single or set of images in a batch process using a single click. This feature can also be auto-applied to an image immediately after capture (utilizing previously set settings). In addition to tolerance, users can define additional mask selection and mask processing settings when using the Magic Wand tool including: Constrain or Unconstrain Selection, Edge Sensitivity, Hole Fill, Speck Removal, Mask Grow Radius and Edge Blending.
Dual Shot Background Removal
The newest of our product photography background removal tools, Dual Shot Background Removal combines image capture with editing to automate the creation of a mask and background extraction. Users are required to set two camera setting profiles – one for the correct, color accurate exposure and the other for an under exposed image. Users then enable ‘Dual Shot Mode’ and set the camera settings profiles to be used for the first and second capture. Shutter Stream Product Photography Software automates the image capture process, capturing both images then uploading to the software where uses can then enter the image editing mode to use the underexposed image to create a mask selection.
Auto Apply Edits
Shutter Stream Product Photography Software includes a vast image editing suite with many features that allow users to easily enhance (sharpness, levels, curves), color correct (color temperature, tint, hue) and adjust background colors (levels, curves, exposure) to pure white. These features differ from the automated background removal tool as backgrounds are not actually removed to transparent but simply adjusted. After adjusting edits on a single image, these can then be applied to a set of images in a batch process using a single click.
Users are able to create and save ‘Editing Profiles’ – that is a set of edits that will be retained for future use. Editing Profiles can then be automatically applied to an image after capture and/or auto applied to an image(s) during the save and output process through the Dynamic Save tool.
Chroma Key Background Removal
The Chroma Key Background Removal tool in Shutter Stream Product Photography Software is designed primarily for use in Fashion & Apparel Photography. This feature works for users shooting on a solid, chroma color (red, green or blue) background and can auto extract chroma colors from the frame. Users have the ability to adjust smoothing, soft transparency and can also grow the mask radius to get rid of unwanted color bleed on products, models and apparel.
Automated Background Tool Limitations
1. Products that don’t contrast well with their background:
The Automated Background Removal Tool can have a difficult time with products that don’t contrast well with their background color. As Tolerance is increased, it will remove pixels that differ more from the reference image. This will often lead to pixels in the product being removed. See example below:
Solutions for Low Contrast Objects:
- Shoot products on a contrasting background. If shooting white products (as we do suggest to shoot on a consistent white seamless backdrop) users will want to ensure the background is lighter than the product. This can be achieved by using an Iconasys LumiPad 360 Lighting Kit as the background (LED lit white panel to sit behind the object) then using less light on the object to achieve an underexposed image. If shooting an underexposed image, Shutter Stream includes image editing tools that can be used for correcting colors after the background has been removed.
- Focus high wattage lights specifically on a white seamless background to blow it out. Then use a lower wattage lights on the product to ensure there is ample contrast between the product colors and the background colors.
Automated Background Removal Tool in Shutter Stream Product Photography Software can have difficulties removing shadows from the frame. The harsher the shadow (darker) the more the user is required to increase Tolerance to remove the shadows. This can typically cause parts of the product to be removed – especially in cases in which the product does not contrast well from the background.
Solutions to Minimize / Eliminating Shadows:
- Use a clear acrylic riser (or 360 acrylic riser if shooting 360 product photography) to eliminate shadows. Iconasys offers a variety of clear acrylic risers for still and 360 Product Photography.
- Bottom light the subject (using a bottom lighting panel or studio with bottom lighting).
- Use one of the Automated Background Removal Tools to cut out the majority of the background then use one of the Lasso Tools to manually cut out the rest of the shadow that was not removed. This solution will still be much more efficient than any 3rd party background removal tools.
Adding & Removing Additional Parts of Image
In the case the automated background removal tool doesnt provide a complete cut out (ex. shadows remain) or a part of the product is removed during the background removal process, users are able to use a Lasso tool to add or remove additional parts of a frame:
Removing Additional Parts of an Image
In the case the automated background removal tool doesn’t remove all parts of an image required, users are able to manually remove additional frame using if the Lasso tool in the Editing area within Shutter Stream Software.
The Lasso tools are available in 3 options and offer a quick and easy way for users to create a mask selection area that can be removed.
Removing Additional Parts of an Image
In the case the automated background removal tool removes part of a product during the automated process, Shutter Stream also includes the ability for users to add parts of the frame back in.
Using the Lasso tool in the Editing area, users can trace around the part of the frame they wish to add back in, then select the ‘Alpha Opaque’ option.
Manual Background Removal Tools
Polygon Lasso Tool
The Polygon Lasso in Shutter Stream Product Photography Software is a manual selection tool that allows users to draw freeform selection outlines using straight lines. This tool can be used stand-alone or in conjunction with any of the automated background removal tools (for ex. to help remove shadows).
In addition to providing the ability to remove product photography background removal, this Lasso tool can be used to add portions of a frame back after being removed (for example, if an automated background removal tool removes a part of the product, this can be easily added back in).
Magnetic Lasso Tool
The Magnetic Lasso tool is a freehand selection tool that allows users to draw a selection border around the subject or parts of the frame. This differs from the other Lasso tools by using edge detection (users are able to define ‘Magnetic Force’ which is essentially the tolerance of color used in edge detection) amongst other variables.
This tool can be more efficient than the Polygon Lasso tool and easier to use than the Free Hand Lasso tool.
Free Hand Lasso Tool
The Free Hand Lasso tool is a freehand selection tool that allows users to draw a selection border around the subject or parts of the frame. This tool is ideal for quick selections in which users are required to add or remove parts of a frame.
The Free Hand Lasso tool requires a steady hand if trying to manually cut out more complex products from their backgrounds – so its not as often used as the Polygonal Lasso Tool