Freebie download: A masking plug-in; cross-platform

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greenmorpher
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Freebie download: A masking plug-in; cross-platform

Post by greenmorpher » Thu 25 Oct 2007 14:54

Verus Fluid Mask. In seemed to install with PL32 all right, it is recognized in the PL32 filters menu, but instead of opening, it comes up with an error message:

--

This image is not suitable for Vertus Fluid Mask.

Image data must be present in a non-masked layer to be processed by Vertus Fluid Mask.

--

Dang!

You can download it by going to http://www.vertustech.com/futurepublishing.htm

It was a free offer in a Mac mag -- but the download offers it for either Mac or Windows.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Koyaanis
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Post by Koyaanis » Thu 25 Oct 2007 16:03

I played with Fluid Mask v2.0 in the past. It won't load into PL32 nor Paint Shop Pro, but runs okay in PhotoShop.

I just loaded it again to remind myself how it works.

Here's the kicker ... :-) It divvies up the image into regions by applying vector regions to similar luminosities and color hues. Guess what? PL32 already does that with its remarkable Layer > Convert Layer Type > To: Vector Graphic. But with more precision than Fluid Mask does. The option of lowest quality "Drawing Quick" seems to have about the same or better resolution than the regions defined by Fluid Mask.

Perhaps you can learn to use one of the 6 different kinds of vector layer creation options, along with Layout > Vector > Optimize Vector Layer if there's too many fiddly-bits in the region defined.

You can then use something like the Layer > Layer Mask > Create by selecting the layer or layers that best define the regions you want masked in your original image.

Mind you, even I've not played with layer masks and vector graphics in this manner yet. So I can't help you other than offering how it MIGHT be done. :-)

I'm not saying it's a pretty way to do it, maybe not even a lot of fun either. But the Fluid Mask appears to be a PhotoShop ONLY thing. (Don't those makers realize just how much of the editing market they are cutting off from buying their stuff? Their major loss. The world, the majority of it, does NOT revolve around PhotoShop any longer, nor for many years now.)

If you come up with a simple work-flow for the steps in PL32 to emulate their FluidMask (and it appears that PL32 could even do a better job at it), you might want to share how you did it. And think of how much you'll have learned in the process, as well as finding a way to emulate an expensive plugin -- for free! It might even be recorded and saved as a couple of "action" files that could be shared so you wouldn't even have to explain it.

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Gerhard Huber
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Re: Freebie download: A masking plug-in; cross-platform

Post by Gerhard Huber » Thu 25 Oct 2007 16:27

greenmorpher wrote:This image is not suitable for Vertus Fluid Mask.
Image data must be present in a non-masked layer to be processed by Vertus Fluid Mask.
I know about this plugin. In the past I contacted Vertustech about the problem. The only answer I got was an auto responder.

Gerhard

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greenmorpher
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Post by greenmorpher » Fri 26 Oct 2007 14:36

Koyaanis wrote:Here's the kicker ... :-) It divvies up the image into regions by applying vector regions to similar luminosities and color hues. Guess what? PL32 already does that with its remarkable Layer > Convert Layer Type > To: Vector Graphic. But with more precision than Fluid Mask does. The option of lowest quality "Drawing Quick" seems to have about the same or better resolution than the regions defined by Fluid Mask.

Perhaps you can learn to use one of the 6 different kinds of vector layer creation options, along with Layout > Vector > Optimize Vector Layer if there's too many fiddly-bits in the region defined.

You can then use something like the Layer > Layer Mask > Create by selecting the layer or layers that best define the regions you want masked in your original image.
Layer > Convert Layer Type > To: Vector Graphic certainly is a remarkable tool -- but what to do with what is produced? There are, say, a dozen layers of vector shapes, but how do you ungroup those shapes so you can delete some and not others?

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Koyaanis
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Post by Koyaanis » Fri 26 Oct 2007 15:16

greenmorpher wrote:Layer > Convert Layer Type > To: Vector Graphic certainly is a remarkable tool -- but what to do with what is produced? There are, say, a dozen layers of vector shapes, but how do you ungroup those shapes so you can delete some and not others?
Do you have your Layers/Channels dialog panel visible? Good. Now highlight the new vectors layer group. RIGHT-click anywhere on that layer except on top of the little eyeball, or the selection check-box. From the right-click menu select "Dissolve Group". OOops, now you have dozens or maybe hundreds of layers. Well, you're going to have to just deal with it. :-)

Go back to your image. See all those squares all over the place, all those layers? Choose your layer selection tool (the little arrow one). Click on one of the (now posterized) areas that define a region you want to use for a mask. It is now marked as selected in your Layer/Channel dialog. Don't worry about that, just know it put a check-mark there for you. Now hold down your Shift Key, and click on another color region on your image. How about that! It just added that layer/area too to your selected layers! Click on some more colored regions defined in those vector layers. Select as many as you want. Be aware though that if you click on an area that is being overlapped by another layer, you will have to "click through" the full range of them to select the right one that you want. You can verify that you selected the right ones by checking your Layers/Channels dialog thumbnail to see if that's the right region selected or not. (I didn't say this was going to be simple, nor easy, did I? :-) )

Now go back to your Layers/Channels dialog. Careful to not click on anything. Scroll up and down. You should see all the layers you selected and added with a Shift Click layer-selection tool (arrow), now having a check-mark in the selection boxes. Right click on one of those layers.

Choose "Group Marked Layers". Ooooo, looky, you now have a layer of a few to dozens of regions that define exactly what you want for your new mask! Hmm.... I wonder how we can make a selection mask from that new grouped layer ....

:-)

On the other hand, I would just learn how to use PL32's auto-mask, auto-transparency, and other mask editing tools. It's what they are there for.

I just thought you might like to know that you COULD build your own Fluid Mask feature using PL32, if you were so inclined, and determined. Since it's a PhotoShop ONLY plugin it's always fun to outsmart and outdo that group of henchmen. :-)

Ignore the below, I forgot you are on Mac. (leaving the info for others that might find it intersting)

On the other hand, you might like to try this instead:

GML GrowCut to create masks. And GML Matting to do the process all in one.

It pretty much does exactly what you want, in an easy to use interface. But I can't get it to work with PL32. It works fine in IrfanView though. (I have some spurious DLL on my system that prevents some plugins with working with PL32, so my platform is not the best for testing these.) So I can use Irfanview to make the mask, then save it and load it from there into PL32. Hmm.. downloading GML Matting v0.21 now, it's been updated, maybe it'll work with PL32 now. They fixed it for backward compatibility to earlier PSP7 formats. That might be the fix needed for PL32 also.

(time passes ...) SWEET, it works just fine now. I tend to like this method. Or similar ones. There's another type where you just draw around the outside, then another tool for the inside of the region and it tries to detect where the cut point is from the sampled values on those two lines. But this one works just as nice in some ways.

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greenmorpher
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Post by greenmorpher » Sat 27 Oct 2007 03:14

Koyaanis wrote:
greenmorpher wrote:Layer > Convert Layer Type > To: Vector Graphic certainly is a remarkable tool -- but what to do with what is produced? There are, say, a dozen layers of vector shapes, but how do you ungroup those shapes so you can delete some and not others?
Do you have your Layers/Channels dialog panel visible? Good. Now highlight the new vectors layer group. RIGHT-click anywhere on that layer except on top of the little eyeball, or the selection check-box. From the right-click menu select "Dissolve Group". ...
Ha! I got this far, that's why I said
There are, say, a dozen layers of vector shapes
But there needs to be a next step. There are a number of vector shapes WITHIN each layer. Some are included in the area we want to retain, some are in the area we wnat to remove and some overlap.

This is what I just did:

(a) Select a layer and have it showing with the background image.

(b) Double click on the layer to activate all the vector points.

(c) Select points and delete them to get rid of what we don't want.

(d) Replicate on each of the colour layers.

BY THE WAY -- I simplified the number of layers by first going Menu Bar > Tool > Colors > Reduce Colors.

In this tool I would have liked one more capability -- you can LOOK at the number of colors to which you have reduced the picture, but so far as I can see, you cannot select one of those colors and remove it. If we could do that, it would be excellent.

FURTHER -- deleting the points in clumsy, there are too many points and you have to marquee select them (click and drag). So try Menu Bar > Layout > Vector > Optimize Vector Layer. This gives you fewer points to deal with BUT they are very hard to see against the background layer and you are more subject to errors which result in color washing over unwanted areas.

WHEN we had suitably modified the shapes in the layers that need to be modified, we would move on to the next step, which you set out as:
Koyaanis wrote:Choose your layer selection tool (the little arrow one). Click on one of the (now posterized) areas that define a region you want to use for a mask. ...

Choose "Group Marked Layers". Ooooo, looky, you now have a layer of a few to dozens of regions that define exactly what you want for your new mask! Hmm.... I wonder how we can make a selection mask from that new grouped layer ....
We can then go Menu Bar > Layers > Convert > RGB image.


I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED AT THE START: duplicate layer so that we have been working on a duplicated layer which gives us reference as we delete the points and the new RGB image is now sitting on top of the original image -- the background.

The next step is up to you, Koyaanis! :D

Personally, I find this impossibly complex and I don't want to do it! I want a plug-in!

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

"Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes" -- Revealed! The secrets of how you can use type and layout to turbocharge your messages in print. See the book at http://www.worsleypress.com

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Koyaanis
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Post by Koyaanis » Sat 27 Oct 2007 03:45

greenmorpher wrote: The next step is up to you, Koyaanis! :D

Personally, I find this impossibly complex and I don't want to do it! I want a plug-in!
To be fair, I did say it would be (kinda) didn't I? :-)

I just thought it would be a fun exercise to learn some new tools and stuff. Getting into some of the meat of PL32. So you see, it could be done. And as I said, if you found an easily reproducible method to divvy up an image into selectable mask regions (what FluidMask does), saved that as the first part of a pair of actions. The second action creating the mask from your chosen layers, it could be simplified.

To tell the truth though, I don't think you played enough with the auto-masking and auto-eraser tools that are already in PL32. I don't have to do "cut outs" often, but when I do I find that PL32's tools are already pretty good for most all purposes. There's so very many ways to approach this. You might even like the simplicity of using Tool > Color > Select Colors > with the options of "Destination: Mask or Alpha". You'd be surprised how accurate you can get using that as your auto-masking tool also. (While playing with that Select Colors tool, don't forget to use the + and - buttons too, to fine tune things, as well as adjusting the tolerance on a per clicked-color basis. Click on your image to select the colors you want to use for the mask or alpha transparency.)

There's SO many ways to do what you want already included in PL32 I think you just haven't found your favorite way to do it yet. Or ... you may just be a plug-in junkie. :-)

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Post by Hoogo » Sat 27 Oct 2007 10:05

My favourite tools for masking are "tool > color > select color" or the channel mixer. There I choose smooth and new image. It has not to be perfect everywhere, just take care of some "tidy", but not too sharp edges, not even all edges.
First you can later use curves on this new layer to add contrast to a tidy edge and turn it into a sharp one, and when you do that with a working layer you can blur it a little here and there to make it less harsh.
Second you can use groups as masks. So just stack different masks into a group, combine with multiply, negative multiply or anything else ant turn the group into a layer mask at the end.

... to similar luminosities and color hues...

These words above gave me an idea, and I just tried "Histogramm correction". I turned saturation to its max, moved the intensity output to medium and played a bit with the color type. Semmed to be another way to distinguish pixels for masking. That reminded me of an action I once made to split pictures into HSV-layers. With chnage channels and the clipboard you can create layers from hue and saturation of a picture. It's another way of finding some interesting layers to use them in a mask. The a/b-channels of Lab were another way, but I think that the cahnnel mixer does a better job there.