Dealing with Tricky Cut Outs / Selections in Photoshop

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: July 25, 2014

Category: General

Hi Everyone

Since posting my new LION – THE KING IS FREE picture I’ve had a few emails and questions posted online asking how I actually cut the Lion out from the background.

So today I thought I’d just give you an outline as to how this was done by pointing you to a few videos that I’ve previously recorded…

king_final-EditJust to give you a bit of a background first, the picture started it’s life from a trip to Woburn Safari Park in the UK where I saw this beautiful Lion in an enclosure which was within a large grassland area where all the Lionesses were roaming around. He was here so as they could all get used to seeing and smelling each other before he was eventually introduced amongst them.

_DSF1363Having seen him in there I knew straight away what it was I wanted to do with the picture so then it was just a case of taking other pictures that could be used to create the scene and also sourcing some I couldn’t take such as the vultures.

The large Acacia Tree trunk is from a picture given to me by my Buddy (Artist / Animator) Aaron Blaise [LINK] that he’d taken during one of his many trips in the past to Africa researching for movies he worked on such as The Lion King.

Here’s all the pictures that went into making the final image…

king_2Once I’d gathered all the assets I needed to put the picture together it was then a case of getting to work in Lightroom and Photoshop.

The first task was to remove the fence lines from the enclosure that were over the top of the Lion and here’s a video I recorded showing exactly how to do that:

Once the fence lines had been removed, the next task was to cut the Lion out from the original background:

cutoutDue to the contrast and colouring behind the Lion being fairly similar cutting him out wasn’t as straight forward as just using something like the Quick Selection Tool or Channels but rather a combination of several techniques. I may look at recording a video for this and sharing in my Weekly Podcast / Show if you think that would be helpful. Rest assured I’ll also be covering ‘tricky’ cut outs / selections in my first book that is due to be available at the end of this year [LINK]

Anyway once a cut out of the Lion had been made it then also meant having to create fur / hair and to show how I do that, here’s a video by Aaron showing the technique that I learned from him…

Finally when it came to the cut out of the Lion, there was a dark outline around the mane so to remove, or rather hide  that I used a Layer Style.

Now in the video below at 8 minutes in you’ll see what I mean; the only difference being that I sampled the colour of the mane and used the Screen Blend Mode:

Obviously there was a lot more that went into making this final picture but for today I wanted to give you an overview of how I approached the cut out of the Lion.

As I’ve already mentioned I’m busy with writing the book at the moment which is a priority but once that is all complete I’ll be recording new tutorials to add into the web store and as I’ve had requests for showing how the animal series of pictures are put together I’ll definitely be recording some of those.

Right that’s all from me for today so as always if you have any questions / comments feel free to drop me a line otherwise have a great weekend and I’ll catch you back here in a few days.


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  1. Julie Boyle

    Hi Glyn – In your tutorial (when you get to it) will you being showing how to make each layer the same colour tone (via blurring/average)? I am having trouble when I try to add 2 different images to one new document. I manage OK when I have 1 image to add but come to grief when I try to add another image. I will look forward to your new tutorial in anticipation. I really appreciate your method of teaching – so easy to follow along – Many thanks.

    • Glyn

      Sounds like a great idea for a tutorial…thanks Julie


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