Easy Peasy Extractions With Photoshop Elements

Extracting items from your photos with Photoshop Elements can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, so I decided to share a quick tutorial on one way to do it easily.

If you have regular Photoshop, the best option is to use the pen tool to draw an outline around your object. Unfortunately, PSE does not include a pen tool, but there is a way to still do it without too much frustration!

Here are step by step instructions on how to do it:

Step 1: Open Your Photo in Photoshop Elements: It’s best to choose a photograph that already has a natural strong contrast of colors. For example, a dark item on a light background, or an orange item with a green background as used in our example. If there is not a strong contrast of colors, that does not mean this technique is impossible – just a little more difficult to do.

Step 2: Choose the Magnetic Lasso Tool & Adjust Feather Settings

Once you select the magnetic lasso tool, you can adjust the settings in the top bar below the menu:

Feathering your item will help you get smoother edges. I usually stick to a feather setting of 2-4 px depending on the item I am extracting and whether it will be blended into a background or not.

Step 3: Draw an outline around your photograph. This takes a little practice, but with more practice it becomes much easier. Clicking as you go will help keep the cursor closer to the edge of the element, but if you choose a picture with a good contrast the magnetic lasso usually will stick to the edge pretty well on its own. The outline does not have to be perfect, so if the lasso tool gets too far away from the edge of the item don’t panic – I’ll show you how to fix that in the next step!

Step 4: Use the Quick Selection Brush to Make Adjustments

Once your item is selected, you can then use the quick selection brush to move the marching ants line closer or farther away from the edge. In places you want to be selected, just click on it – for places where you don’t want it to be selected, press the “alt” key while clicking. You can also adjust the brush sizes and settings in the same place you found the feathering options. (There are also other settings there you can play around with once you have more practice!)

Step 5: Time to Extract!

There are a couple of different ways to do this, but the easiest way is once your object is selected, Go to Layer -> New Layer -> New Layer via Copy. Hide your original layer and you now have an extracted flower!

Step 6: Make Adjustments as Necessary With Magic Wand Tool & Clone Stamp

My flower was not perfectly orange all around (some of the green background was showing through) so I used the technique in our tutorial on how to clone stamp in Photoshop Elements so the edges match the colors of the flower better.

Step 7: Ta-Da!

Here is my finished flower:

Now, this tutorial was done very quickly so my flower is not as perfect as it would be if I spent more than 5 minutes on this – but it definitely explains the basics to extract items easily with Photoshop Elements for your digital scrapbooking pages and layouts.

Have any questions about this technique or tips to add? Everyone is always welcome to join our free digital scrapbooking forum.