Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Using Photoshop to Cut Out Backgrounds

This week I am glued to my computer, doing the Photoshop work on the 2nd DVD of scans of my Swap! artwork, cutting away the pink paper backgrounds, as you can see on the illustration below, and also creating text overlays where needed. I know, it's AGES since I worked on it last - I bet you thought it was all done and dusted.

Raw scan before any work

You might recall, there was a rush to get my book mocked up for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October so, in early September, I sent about 2/3rds of my pastel artwork away to be scanned, then carried on, rushing to finish the rest in time for my publisher to take that to the fair as well.

A DVD of scans from that first batch of artwork came back to me with just a few days to do all the Photoshop work by the deadline, ready for the publisher to create the mock-up. It was all very last minute, as is often the case around the big book fairs. 

Finished illustration: pink paper replaced by yellow ground

But - DISASTER - there was something wrong with the scans! They were very dingy and I wasn't happy, but I had no chance to even tell anyone, as it was the weekend and I had to work on them straight away or I would miss the deadline. 
So I did all the usual computer work then also used Photoshop to fiddle around with various settings, until I thought they looked better.

It all went to Frankfurt OK and I explained about the duff scans. My publisher said they would talk to the repro people, but were happy for batch 1 to use my tinkered-with versions. So, I was expecting to get a DVD with the 2nd batch of scans sometime in November, once the fuss of the show was over. But nothing arrived. It turned out the delay was to do with worries about the dingy problem. Christmas came and went. Then my publisher had a bit of trouble and went down to a skeleton staff, which delayed things further.

So, here we are in March. Actually, the new DVD arrived a few weeks ago, but I had to get all my school visits out of the way before I could do anything about it. Apart from whitening-up the children's shirts a bit, I haven't tinkered with the values in the image above and I think it looks OK, so they seem to have got the problem sorted.

If you want to read more detail about how I cut away the pink paper background, check out this post from when I was doing Baby Goes Baaaaa!


Mechelle said...

These illustrations are awesome!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Mechelle :-)

Paulo Gonçalves said...

I visited your blog.
Congratulations for your work!!These illustrations are awesome!
Good luck with your blog!
Greetings from Algarve, Portugal
Paulo Gonçalves

I invite you to visit my blog

Anonymous said...

So fan of your work! :)
Does fixing spray affect the richness of the colours? How do you protect your finals?
Best regards,

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes, unfortunately it does play havoc with the colour, so I fix them only lightly and then often have to touch up highlights.

I mount each piece onto card with masking tape and then cut a paper overlay which I attach to the top of the mount. That generally does the trick. I rarely get more than the odd small smudge, which I can correct in Photoshop, if I spot it in time!

Kimberly said...

Thank you so much for sharing what you do as well as how you do it. I am an aspiring writer/illustrator, and your blogs are so helpful! I look forward to each and everyone. Best wishes for your newest book Swap!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks Kimberley - I'm so glad you are finding them useful. Good luck with your work!

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