Virgo Web Design Blog

Tutorial: How to Photoshop e-commerce product photos in 3 simple steps (Isolating on white background)

Tutorial: How to Photoshop e-commerce product photos in 3 simple steps (Isolating on white background)

EDITING PROGRAM USED: Adobe Photoshop CC (Note: All of the steps used in this tutorial can be accomplished in Photoshop CS3 and up)

After spending a few years in production art, I've become pretty familiar with the art of retouching. I've come across several different methods for prepping product images to be used for both stand-alone presentation and as part of a larger layout. Whatever the end goal is, I've found that starting with these 3 steps is the quickest way to get professional results using Photoshop.

To start, I've chosen an image I shot with my Samsung GS3, a white backdrop and an amateur lighting setup as an example. The biggest challenges are the lighting issues and the conflicting background. You may have a product shot professionally in a studio or you may have a low-res photo taken off the shelf with someone's smart phone. Either way, we'll start with the same steps.

NOTE: As soon as you open your file in Photoshop, consider what the end application will be and select your color mode via the "Image" drop down menu at the top of your screen:

change-color-mode-photoshop

If this is for web/e-commerce, you'll want to have the RGB Color mode checked. If this is for print, make sure you change your mode to CMYK color before moving forward

This is one of those things that I do as a rule, along with saving my file often to avoid losing my work. Adding this to your checklist on every project will make your life a lot easier. If you forget and need to change your mode later in the process, you may lose some of your editing layers and the quality of your work will be compromised! 

oink-product-image

STEP 1: ISOLATE YOUR PRODUCT IMAGE IN PHOTOSHOP

Unlock your layer and name it "Original" to get started.

isolate-image-photoshop

You'll also want to create a new path in your "Paths" palette so you don't lose track of your path later on. I name mine "OINK!" since that's what I'll be clipping.

new-path-photoshop

Now you're ready to clip! Using your Pen tool, zoom in close to any edge of your product and begin to clip around it.

NOTE: For a clean clipping, make sure you draw your path slightly inside the outer edge of your product. This will ensure that no white pixels show up around your image when you're finished.

pen-tool-photoshop

TIP: to get rid of imperfections, use your discretion to clip out "messy" edges that you come across. Since my product is handmade with paper, there are a few spots where I opt for a smoother edge and cut out any stray pieces I come across.

curves-photoshop

TIP: Never used bezier curves with the pen tool before? Clipping paths around an object is the best way to test it out! Just click and drag your mouse in the direction of the path in order to get the desired curve. If you want to create a new curve without the previous one in place, Option+Click (ALT+Click for PC) on your last anchor. You'll get a small arrow tool you can use to essentially cancel the curve on one side of the anchor while leaving the other side intact. When you come to a corner or sharp edge, simply click without dragging to end your curve. It may take some experimenting to get the hang of it, but I have found this to be an indispensable tool in retouching.

When you've fully drawn around the product with your pen tool, finish your path by clicking on your beginning point in the path. You should get a small circle next to your pen arrow to indicate that you're closing the path.

finish-path-photoshop

If you have any negative spaces within your product, make sure to select those with your pen tool as well. Keep them within the same path to allow for subtraction when you make your selection.

negative-space-photoshop

Now right-click on your path in the Paths palette and hit "Make Selection." Hit "OK" on the pop-up box.

make-selection-photoshop

TIP: Especially if my photo is of decent quality, I like to Contract my selection by 1 or 2 pixels to further ensure I've cut out all unwanted bits of background.

modify-selection-photoshop

To finish Isolating the product, simply add this selection as a layer mask on your "Original" layer by clicking on the mask icon at the bottom of your Layers palette.

The result should look something like this:

add-to-layer-mask-photoshop

TIP: Test your isolated product out by adding a layer underneath with a contrasting background. Since my product is a light color, I try it against a black background. *If you see any rough edges, you can go in with your pen tool or brush tool and black them out in the layer mask you've just created before moving to STEP 2.

test-layer-mask-photoshop

STEP 2: TRANSFORM YOUR PHOTO TO PERFECTION

These days, "professional" often means "perfect" when it comes to retouching or photo editing. The product I chose is a good example because it's a straight on shot and should be even on both sides, for the most part, but due to a slight angle and product imperfections, there are some obvious flaws. These can be easily fixed using both the Transform tool and the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop.

NOTE: Before beginning to edit, copy your "Original" layer and name the copy "RETOUCHED". Then turn off your "Original" layer. This way, you can always go back to your original if you decide that you aren't happy with the adjustments you've made.

IF your image is shot at a sloppy angle (as mine is), you may need to Transform it first. I noticed that Oink was lopsided, so I drew in some guides and used the Transform tool (Command/Ctrl+T) to even it out.

BEFORE:

transform-before-photoshop

AFTER:

transform-after-photoshop

Once you've resolved any shape issues, select your "Clone Stamp" tool.

clone-stamp-photoshop

The clone stamp tool is very useful for editing small problem areas. For instance, I've decided I no longer want the negative space in my piggy's ear. (NOTE: If you're removing negative space, you'll need to make the space white in your layer mask to edit it.) Make sure your brush is set to a soft edge if you want your cloned area to blend in.

With your Clone Stamp tool selected, hit Option (ALT for PC) and click on the area you'd like to mimic. For my image, I Option/ALT+Click on the area just to the left of the negative space on the ear and then brush it onto the negative space. The result is much less distracting:

clone-stamp2-photoshop

Other imbalances can be fixed using your Transform tool and a simple technique I like to call selective mirroring.

Since I like my retouched ear so much, I decide that I'd like the other ear to look the same.

To accomplish this, I select the ear that I've retouched and Command/Ctrl+J to copy the selection to another layer. Then Command/Ctrl+T to transform and "Flip Horizontal" to mirror it, and drag it in place on the opposite side. 

flip-horizontal-photoshop

TIP: To blend in a copied layer, create a layer mask on the copied layer and go in with your Brush tool, set to black and with a soft edge, and brush out any hard edges that may have copied over.

After a few more Transforming and Cloning moves, I'm happy with the overall balance of my product.

finished-product-image-photoshop

TIP: Keep your layers organized for better workflow! You can name each layer by parts and stick them in a folder to clean up your layers palette.

organize-layers-photoshop

STEP 3: COLOR CORRECT YOUR PHOTO

This step is quite simple, and mostly requires color and lighting correction via the Adjustment Layers available at the bottom of your Layers Palette.

correct-color-photoshop

My go-to adjustment layer is Curves, mainly because it covers elements of other adjustment layers such as Levels, Brightness, and Hue/Saturation all within one tool. Curves comes up as a pull-out tab and allows you to add points and drag them to lighten and darken and/or increase and decrease color contrast. To adjust a certain color group specifically, you can go into the dropdown menu indicated by your color mode (RGB or CMYK – the example below shows "RGB") and adjust the input and output of each color group individually. You'll want to play with the points until you're happy with your adjustments.

adjust-curves-photoshop

AFTER CURVES:

product-after-curves

Congratulations! Your product photo is now ISOLATED, TRANSFORMED and COLOR CORRECTED

BONUS TIP! If your application of this product is just to have it floating, what you have now is fine, but otherwise you'll likely need to ground it by adding a shadow.

Photoshop's Brush Tool is perfect for this. I like to use a hard brush with Shape Dynamics, Smoothing and *Transfer turned on. You can see the brush settings I used below. (*If you have Photoshop CS3 or earlier, you can substitute using Transfer by having your brush at a lower opacity to build the density of your shadow manually.)

adding-shadow-photoshop

Make a layer underneath your product in the Layers Palette and using black, create a lose shape at the base of your product using the Brush Tool.

product-pre-shadow

NOTE: If you have a product with a simple silhouette, such as a ball or a cylindrical bottle, it's easiest to use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to create an ellipse at the base. Fill with black and Deselect (Command/Ctrl+D).

elliptical-tool-photoshop

Next, you'll want to Blur your shadow using Motion Blur

blur-shadow-photoshop

If the product is on a flat surface, keep your Angle at 0° and adjust the distance depending on the size of your product.

blur-shadow-angle

The result is something like this:

product-angle-result-shadow

Next, add a Gaussian Blur:

add-gaussian-blur-photoshop

Keep the Radius low. You just want to soften any rough edges with this move.

Now decrease the Opacity of the layer to about 35% and set the Layer Mode to Multiply in your Layers Palette. Name this layer SHADOW.

lower-opacity

To give some depth to the shadow, I add another layer called "SET SHADOW" that "sets" Oink on the ground. This is just a layer of black once again, but this time it's just barely coming out under the product.

set-shadow

Do the same Blur moves as with the previous Shadows layer, but set each to lower amounts of blur. This time leave the opacity at 100%.

This is my final result with Oink!

oink-final

How did yours turn out?

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and can use these Steps and Tips to boost the success of your product retouching and editing for e-commerce, print and more! 

Thanks for reading! :)

Creating a website design requirements gathering f...
Joomla E-commerce Components overview: Hikashop vs...
 

Comments 1

Guest - Anne Doher on Sunday, 12 November 2017 12:39

Thank you Jerry, have watched many videos but they don't tell or show the actual menues needed and used. Very well done, what we newbies need - step by step.

Thank you Jerry, have watched many videos but they don't tell or show the actual menues needed and used. Very well done, what we newbies need - step by step.
Guest
Monday, 21 January 2019

LATEST ON OUR BLOG

OUR YELP REVIEWS

  • Virgo Web Design recently completed my website MeetPeopleChicago.com. Jerry was easy to work with, was attentive to my questions and was on top of things from start to finish. In addition he was very knowledgable and up to date on the latest technologies. I am very pleased with the final product and I will surely use him again for future enhancements. Thank you Jerry for the great work you have done!

    PETER S.

    Meet People Chicago

  • As a marketing communications person who knew my company needed an up-to-date website built in Joomla, I was very happy we found [Virgo Web Design]. I understood things from a content perspective, but when it came to back-end design and architecture, my hands were tied. [Virgo Web Design] was so knowledgeable and easy to work with, and was always available to answer questions, make tweaks, walk me through front-end editing tasks...you name it. [Virgo Web Design]'s accessibility and can-do attitude made such a difference to our entire team, and I hope I always thanked [them] enough for helping me through the client-side part of the web redesign process.

    CORRIE M.

    Aptude

  • "[Virgo Web Design] did an amazing job on my non-profit's website, ghhaven.org. [They] put our site together quickly and with all of the elements we requested - plus, [they] had a lot of great recommendations for things that we hadn't even considered for the site. [They were] very helpful throughout the process of getting our site launched and I found [them] to be quick in responding to all of my questions/requests as well. [They] even helped us get our business emails set up!

    I would definitely recommend Virgo Web Design as a go-to for all of your web design/development needs. I will definitely be using [them] again in the near future!"

    FRITZIE S.

    Genesis Hopeful Haven

  • [Virgo Web Design] has developed and designed multiple websites for me over the years. [Their] team are exceptionally skilled technicians. Their communication is easy to understand, and they are very proficient - even when near-end deadlines are demanding. Hiring Jerry Virgo and his team is one of the best decisions I have made for my company.

    Michael W

    One Chicago Realty

  • I've used Yahoo sitebuilder for several years and my e-commerce website was due for an overhaul. I asked around & received several recommendations from friends & other small businesses.

    Many of the other referrals came from Web design firms & had significantly higher overheads/billing rates...We had a tight timeline & [they were] very diligent at following up to avoid production delays at time when I was extremely busy. [They] did a nice all around job improving my SEO optimization, creating a polished final product, and documenting the back end with an easy to use manual.

    After the site when live, [they] stood by & helped me troubleshoot unanticipated events & helped me create work arounds.

    Chris H.

    City Tree Delivery

  • [Virgo Web Design] knocked out a full rebuild of our site in a few weeks, guided us through things we didn't understand with ease and calm and gave great advice, training and follow up service

    Nicholle D.

    DANK Haus

5000 characters left

LATEST ON OUR BLOG

OUR YELP REVIEWS

  • Virgo Web Design recently completed my website MeetPeopleChicago.com. Jerry was easy to work with, was attentive to my questions and was on top of things from start to finish. In addition he was very knowledgable and up to date on the latest technologies. I am very pleased with the final product and I will surely use him again for future enhancements. Thank you Jerry for the great work you have done!

    PETER S.

    Meet People Chicago

  • As a marketing communications person who knew my company needed an up-to-date website built in Joomla, I was very happy we found [Virgo Web Design]. I understood things from a content perspective, but when it came to back-end design and architecture, my hands were tied. [Virgo Web Design] was so knowledgeable and easy to work with, and was always available to answer questions, make tweaks, walk me through front-end editing tasks...you name it. [Virgo Web Design]'s accessibility and can-do attitude made such a difference to our entire team, and I hope I always thanked [them] enough for helping me through the client-side part of the web redesign process.

    CORRIE M.

    Aptude

  • "[Virgo Web Design] did an amazing job on my non-profit's website, ghhaven.org. [They] put our site together quickly and with all of the elements we requested - plus, [they] had a lot of great recommendations for things that we hadn't even considered for the site. [They were] very helpful throughout the process of getting our site launched and I found [them] to be quick in responding to all of my questions/requests as well. [They] even helped us get our business emails set up!

    I would definitely recommend Virgo Web Design as a go-to for all of your web design/development needs. I will definitely be using [them] again in the near future!"

    FRITZIE S.

    Genesis Hopeful Haven

  • [Virgo Web Design] has developed and designed multiple websites for me over the years. [Their] team are exceptionally skilled technicians. Their communication is easy to understand, and they are very proficient - even when near-end deadlines are demanding. Hiring Jerry Virgo and his team is one of the best decisions I have made for my company.

    Michael W

    One Chicago Realty

  • I've used Yahoo sitebuilder for several years and my e-commerce website was due for an overhaul. I asked around & received several recommendations from friends & other small businesses.

    Many of the other referrals came from Web design firms & had significantly higher overheads/billing rates...We had a tight timeline & [they were] very diligent at following up to avoid production delays at time when I was extremely busy. [They] did a nice all around job improving my SEO optimization, creating a polished final product, and documenting the back end with an easy to use manual.

    After the site when live, [they] stood by & helped me troubleshoot unanticipated events & helped me create work arounds.

    Chris H.

    City Tree Delivery

  • [Virgo Web Design] knocked out a full rebuild of our site in a few weeks, guided us through things we didn't understand with ease and calm and gave great advice, training and follow up service

    Nicholle D.

    DANK Haus

Contact

  • Phone:
    (224)388-0250
  • E-Mail:
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

© Copyright Virgo Web Design. All right reserved.

Signup for our newsletter!