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Trying to learn how to make advanced Alpha Masks

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Hello my fellow paint.net enthusiasts. :)
I'm trying to learn how to make Alpha Masks of things like people and animals, which is tricky since people have hair and animals are furry. Thanks to video tutorials for other photo editing software, I have learned that the key is to duplicate the original image, then make the person/animal have high contrast against the background, and then through various techniques turn the person/animal all white and have the background all black.
For what I saw with the other editors, one of the common ways of making alpha masks was to view the red, green, and blue channels, and then choose the one with the best contrast between the person and the background, and then copy/duplicate that channel as a new layer to use it as a starting point for making the alpha mask. Then depending on the video, the image was made solid black and white through a combination of using two or three methods, such as something called calculations, levels, something called threshold, the paintbrush, blending modes, etc.
Paint.net is a little different than other image editors though. So, for making alpha masks in paint.net, does anyone have any tips or know any good plugins that could be useful?
Thanks. :)

(edited. clarified my word use, changed masks to alpha masks.)

Edited by Cc4FuzzyHuggles
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I'm sorry, I should have clarified, I meant Alpha Mask. I see so many places calling alpha masks just masks that I left out the alpha. oops. :P

An alpha mask is like this :

You can see more alpha mask examples by doing internet image searches : https://www.google.com/search?q=Alpha+Mask&client=firefox-a&hs=yqh&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&biw=1536&bih=764&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ME1VVJfnJdSnyATQjoCwDw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg



Very funny pictures you shared though. :lol:

Edited by Cc4FuzzyHuggles
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I am not to savvy on art terms and took the meaning of the word literally. I thought a mask was a way of hiding another image or part of one to change the appearance. Those images you linked to look more like a half tone or threshold effect to me and I wouldn't have a clue that they were called masks also. Masks have always baffled me because so many things are called masks which make it very confusing for this old guy.


My images kind of fit with Halloween masks,lol.    :)



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I do something similar to that when i mess with icons. As long as you don't mind slight shadows making it into your alpha map, it should be simple for any images that have a transparent background. Otherwise, you may have to use the magic wand to cut parts out afaik.


Take the picture, crank up the brightness and contrast to make it completely white, make a new layer below it, paint it black. Done.


I'm no expert, so don't take my word for perfect success :P

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Yes, brightness/contrast is a good adjustment. :)
Working with images that have white backgrounds, or subjects that already have good contrast against their backgrounds, are sometimes very easy to turn solid black and white with paint.net's brightness/contrast, and then the image can be used as an alpha mask.

Here is more info on what I'm looking for :
Learning how to make advanced alpha masks will hopefully help me separate complicated objects out from tricky backgrounds, make my own custom brushes from complex shapes, and will give me more ways to play with the Alpha Mask plugin.
Here is a video tutorial that shows how to make an alpha mask in paintshop pro, and several tutorials for how to make masks in photoshop.
paint shop pro x mask tutorial
Photoshop Introduction to Alpha Channels and Layer Masks
A Photoshop Tutorial part 1 ( here are parts 2 & 3 for referance, but I already know how to do what's shown in those parts.)
How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop part 1 part 2

I can't follow some of the steps in the vidoes with paint.net, but if you guys know of workarounds or plugins for trying to make advanced alpha masks in paint.net, I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Edited by Cc4FuzzyHuggles
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  • 4 months later...



I haven't used it much, but I think this one might help:



Go through the plugin index, and snag anything and everything mentioning Alpha.  I still have tools I haven't tried yet. 




Ego svm post mortem.

Ego svm vltra.

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