Freeing up objects for the photo book – that’s how it works

Cut out objects – ornaments for photo books

Adorn your photo books but once with small objects such as a photographed ticket from the holiday or the favorite stuffed animal of the child. These ornaments look even better when they are free. We’ll show you how to do it in this tutorial.

A popular effect in photo books are exempted objects. With “released“Means that instead of the usual square shape of the photo you can see the contour of the object and the background around it as in the example of the shell:

Such freestanding can be used very nicely as a complement to a page – such as a sand cake mold for pictures of the beach holiday or a road sign for holiday pictures. Often, corresponding pictures are called “clipart“Already provided in the photo book programs. However one does not always like the given ones and own cutouts have a better relation to the further photos on the side.

Since image files are always rectangular in principle, the effect can only be realized by the fact that parts of the image are not visible, ie made transparent. This is possible with certain image types, such as PNG, but not with the popular JPEG format. If you want to use croppers in the book, the selected print service provider must support the use of an image format that contains such transparency information. The best way to ask for support support or look at the help pages. It may happen that the transparent objects are displayed correctly in the book preview, but still not (yet) fully supported.

However, Feisteller can handle our tests after, for example, CEWE, Pixum, Saal Digital and (more see list at the end of this article). Who wants to make it easy, can place in his photo books at one of these providers also downloaded on the Internet freestanding.

To prepare your own photo as a blank, you have to take an image editing program to help. Unfortunately, photobook providers usually do not allow this effect to be implemented directly in their own programs. Conveniently, there are also free software such as Paint.NET for Windows (not to be confused with MS Paint) or GIMP, with which the effect can be quite easily realized.

Tip: As an alternative, you can also have your pictures cropped by providers like doopic.

We will now show you the process using the example of the free Paint.NET. But it works in a similar way in other image editing programs. First of all, open your photo with the image element to be released. The best are motifs with clear edges, which are in front of a uniform background. It becomes difficult with very small-part motives such as hair or with very similar colors of motive and background as with brown hair in front of a brick-colored wall. Better suited is for example a red sandpit in front of a white background or a bright sign against a dark blue sky.

Then select the magic wand tool and click in the (uniform) background. Ideally, this should be completely marked.

This does not work right away, depending on the background. You can use the wand’s tolerance to control how uniform the color space must be. Sometimes it takes some variation of the tolerance setting until the edges of the object are hit as well as possible. If the background is not a solid surface, you’ll need several steps in Paint.NET (with professional programs like Photoshop, you can add multiple highlighting while holding down the Shift key).

Just start with the largest contiguous area. Then delete the background with the delete key. The fact that you were successful can be recognized by the crenellated background. If there are other original background areas available, follow the same procedure as described above.

If the background is completely boxed, you can save the picture. Select PNG as the picture format and enter the desired picture name. Confusingly, the other transparency settings in Paint.NET only appear after clicking the Save button:

The transparency threshold usually automatically preselects the correct setting. This is crucial for transparency.

For other programs like Photoshop, saving a file with transparency may be hidden in the options or under its own menu item. For Photoshop, see “Save for Web. “. In the dialog box that opens, select the PNG format and then set the transparency:

Incidentally, it should also be noted in Photoshop that the background fixation activated by default is canceled. It can be recognized by the lock symbol in the layer overview and can be solved by clicking on it:

The successful saved file can be inserted as usual in your book. For some programs, such as those of CEWE and Pixum, the transparent background in the preview window of the image selection appears black, in in gray. Do not let that irritate you. If you drag the photo into the book, the transparency will be displayed correctly.

For other providers such as Blurb, the image also appears in the layout overview with a gray background. The decisive factor is whether the image is subsequently displayed correctly in the preview – which is the case for all the providers mentioned above. If you do not see it transparent in the preview, you should contact the support before you order the book. With a high probability then something did not work when saving the transparency and the image would not appear exempted in print.

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Christina Cherry
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