Automatic Isolation action pack


Do you spend a lot of time on product images because you have to replace the original background with pure white? That’s what a lot of people do, but it can be easy and fast. You can speed up your workflow by using the automatic isolation actions.

A free test version is available (LINK)!

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Photoshop CC 2017, 2018 or 2019 (English version) is required for this product to be used.

Replacing the original background with white is finally made easy. No more boring repetitive clicking around, no more struggling with unpredictable tools or complicated masks.

If you haven't seen the respective chapter of my product image retouching course, please, visit it HERE (LINK).

It's really important that you read the article and watch the videos, as the actions are tricky to use without understanding how they work. Even after that, but before you consider purchasing the action set, TRY A FREE TEST VERSION (LINK) to see if it works on your particular images – not every image can be isolated automatically, as there's no magic.

As the process of automatic isolation requires significant selection modifying, it can only be applied to high-res images and to objects with smooth edges, not those made of fur. All the auto-isolating actions should only be used once on the same image. If something goes wrong, revert to the original state and use different settings or another action from the set.

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In this video, I'll briefly explain all the actions contained in the AUTO_ISOLATE set. You should already be familiar with the principles of automatic isolation that I've introduced during the course, but practice makes perfect, and there are two actions that are new in the set. I've created them just recently and added as a little nice bonus.

Once again, the automatic isolation is basically clicking around the image with the Magic Wand, but not around the original image, but an enhanced one, where the edges are more definite thanks to the algorithm utilized by the script. You can use automatic isolation on any images you are theoretically able to isolate with the Magic Wand. It means that if the object is really blending with the background or is made of fur, it won't work. But in product image retouching we mostly deal with smooth objects, so why not speeding up the whole process of isolation instead of clicking manually with the Magic Wand.

The first action in the set, which is called “Auto_isolation” is the most basic. It clicks twice, once in the upper left corner, once in the lower right. You should use it on objects surrounded with the background. It doesn't require anything to run, just make sure the image is open and run the action. It will select the background and fill it with white. All you have to do after that is either restore the shadow or cut it out completely if you're going for the total white isolation. Actually, if you don't need a shadow, the image should not have any shadows in the first place, because no action will let you eliminate all the shadows flawlessly.

If the image is very big, like this one, the action might take a while to work, so cropping it would reduce the time required for the action to run. If you don't want to crop, at least make a rectangular selection around the object, it will also speed things up. Just like this: select with the Marquee Tool and run the action.

The action only clicks around the image, so if you want to isolate something inside, you'll have to do it manually. And here's how you have to do it if you want to use the same action. Just like before: select the whole thing with the Marquee Tool, and then use the Magic Wand while holding Alt to subtract from the selection. Now everything is selected but the space within the handle. Run the action and it will be properly isolated around and inside.

The next action in the set is called “Auto_isolation_colorcheck_200”. Unlike the first action, this action checks before clicking with the Magic Wand, and it checks for the color of the pixels where it is going to click. And if the color is darker than 200 on average in RGB, it will not click there and it will proceed to the next clicking spot. This object is not surrounded with the background, and if I run the basic “auto_isolation” action, it will make a hole in the upper left corner and isolate the area in the lower right corner. That's no good. But if I run the “colorcheck” action, it will isolate all the background-filled areas properly, and it won't click on the object. However, if the background is too dark, that is, lower than 200 on average, the action won't click at all after trying to click 8 times, in each corner and in the middle of each side around the image.

The next action in the set, which is called “Auto_isolation_threshold” is useful when the object's edge is not smooth and well-defined for the normal action to work properly. It happens in two cases. The first case is when the edge is barely visible. These boots are very tricky to isolate with the Magic Wand or with the normal action. But when you run the third action, you get a Threshold prompt, and you need to get a closed contour of the object by increasing the Threshold Level. Try 251 and you'll see that the isolation is pretty decent for something that took only a couple of seconds to happen. However, don't expect any magic, and if you need to go higher than 253 in the Threshold prompt, the background will be too messed up to be isolated properly. Use the Pen Tool when your objects are blending with the background, don't waste your time.

The Threshold action can be also used to eliminate shadows around when the objects are dark and well-defined – when you need a total white isolation without any shadows. The gloves here cannot be properly isolated with the regular action, because there are nasty shadows and the background is very dirty. But if I run the Threshold action and put 230 in the Threshold prompt, it will be much better.

Now, on to the Manual mode actions. There are two of them, part 1 and part 2. What they do is very simple.

This flat lay looks pretty normal, but the regular action eats it away, and the Threshold action doesn't work so well either. If I go as high as 253, the background won't be isolated perfectly. Time to try the manual mode. I'll run the “Manual_mode_part_1” action and it will give me the same Threshold prompt, only it will stay after I press OK. Now it's time for me to find the gaps and fill them manually. I'll use a black brush for that. Now the Magic Wand won't be able to click through and the action won't fill the flat lay with white. As for the background trash, that much will be handled by the action. I'll run the “Manual_mode_part_2” and get decent isolation. That's it.

The last action in the set doesn't fill anything with white, it just clicks around and gets your image selected. You get a selection instead of isolation. After that, you can run an isolating action or do anything else you need. The selection is not modified, that's basically what you get when clicking around with the Magic Wand.

If there's some stuff on the background that gets in the way, you can make a rectangular selection around your object, and everything that's out will be filled with white automatically. Personally, I prefer the “auto_isolation_threshold” action, because it lets me isolate images in a nick of time, especially when the objects are dark and solid, and when the background is far from perfect. A few seconds is all it takes. If you think I could have done faster with the Quick Selection Tool, well, think twice. The side of the bottle blends with the background and it cannot be selected properly, at least not with this tool. Getting the hang of the Threshold, of what number to use in the prompt, might take time, but at least there's a preview and you know you need to get a closed outline of the object, and the action will take care of the rest.

The best thing about all the actions from the set is that they don't make a mess in the History. Every action is exactly one step, and you can undo the whole isolation by pressing Ctrl-Z if it didn't work so well. And try again.

Just beware, that the isolation is edge based, and if the edges of the object are barely visible, don't waste time and use the Pen Tool. There's no magic in Photoshop.

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A detailed description of the contents:

Action 1: auto_isolation
Type: Script, automatic
When to run: when you have an image of an object surrounded with a consistent smooth background
Requires to run: the "auto_isolate.jsxbin" script present in the Scripts folder of the Photoshop directory, RGB image. If there's a rectangular selection around the object, the rest of the image will be filled with white, and the action will use the selection boundaries to click around.
What it does: it adjusts the image to reveal the object's edges, clicks around the image (or the selection boundaries) with the Magic Wand, then modifies the selection to smooth edges and include all the small trash, then fills it with white. Can be used on a layer.
Output: the object isolated on white
User intervention: as the action only clicks around the object, you won't be able to fully isolate objects with a hole inside, like a bag with a handle. To isolate it, make a rectangular selection around the object or just Select All, and then use the Magic Wand with the Alt key pressed to Subtract the hole from the selection. The whole image will be isolated when you run the action
Possible alteration: none

Despite the loud name, the action doesn't do any magic. It saves you time on clicking with the Magic Wand yourself, but if the image cannot be isolated with its help (like when it's blending with the background), the action will fail to work properly. It can also select parts of the object and fill them with white. If that happens, the damage can be undone with the history brush.

Action 2: auto_isolation_colorcheck_200

I've written another action just recently and I didn't bother to describe it. The only difference from the “auto_isolation” action is that this new version performs a color check on the background it's about to select by clicking around with the Magic Wand. If the spot it's about to click is darker than 200 (on average RGB), the action will proceed to the next spot around the image. So if the background is light gray, this will avoid clicking on dirt spots or on the object if it's not surrounded with the background. The action will only click if the background is bright enough. Otherwise, it would give you an error message.

Action 3: auto_isolation_threshold
Type: Script, semi-automatic
When to run: when the regular “auto_isolate” action fails to work properly
Requires to run: the "auto_isolate_threshold.jsxbin" script present in the Scripts folder of the Photoshop directory, RGB image. Can be used on a layer.
What it does: the only difference with the “auto_isolate” action is the Threshold prompt.
Output: the object isolated on white
User intervention: By adjusting the Threshold level you can make the action do two things. If the regular “auto_isolate” action eats the object, you can increase the number from 250 to 251, 252, maximum 253. If that doesn't help, abandon all hope. If, on the contrary, if you decrease the Threshold level, it will help to eliminate shadows around the objects and other background irregularities. In both situations, you have to control the object outline in the Threshold mode. It should be a closed contour, otherwise, the automatic isolation will fail
Possible alteration: none

Warning! The “auto_isolate_threshold” action is able to handle selections just the way the original action does, meaning you can make a rectangular selection around the object to speed things up. However, this is not advisable in cases when you have to increase the Threshold level, as the action might act unexpectedly and fail to select the background properly. It happens because it sometimes turns the selection into a border and the script clicks on this border instead of the background. Just crop your image instead of selecting the object if that happens.

Action 3: manual_mode_part_1
Type: Script, semi-automatic
When to run: when you can almost get a closed contour of the object with the previously described “auto_isolation_threshold” action, but a little hole or two spoil your plans
Requires to run: the “auto_iso_thresh_part1.jsxbin” script present in the Scripts folder of the Photoshop directory, RGB image. Can be used on a layer.
What it does: it's basically a first half of the aforementioned action. You pick a Threshold level, and then it leaves you with a Threshold sketchy image, and then you have to fix it manually, and then run the “manual_mode_part_2” action to finish
Output: a black and white sketch of the original image
User intervention: you have to use a black brush to fill the gaps in the object's contour, and you can also erase big chunks of dirt from the background if there are any. If that's time-consuming, it might be wise to use the Pen Tool for the whole process of isolation
Possible alteration: none

Action 4: manual_mode_part_2
Type: Script, automatic
When to run:
Requires to run: the “auto_iso_thresh_part2.jsxbin” script present in the Scripts folder of the Photoshop directory, RGB image turned black and white after the work of the action number 1. There should be no gaps in the object's contour and no huge chunks of dirt on the background. Can be used on a layer.
What it does: it clicks around the object with the Magic Wand and finishes the isolation by reverting the object to the original, but surrounded with a white background
Output: an object isolated on white
User intervention: none
Possible alteration: none

Action 5: auto_select
Type: Script, automatic
When to run: when you don't need to isolate the object, just select it
Requires to run: RGB image. Can be used on a layer.
What it does: it works exactly the same as “auto_isolate”, but this action doesn't isolate anything leaving you with a selection of the background around the object
Output: a selection of the background around the object
User intervention: you can make a rectangular selection, and whatever is not included, will be selected automatically
Possible alteration: none

BONUS! Free Isolation Check action set included in the pack:

Set: Isolation_check

The “Levels_pause_check” action can be used after any of the isolating action has finished its work. You will immediately see how well it went. All the white in the image will be shown as white, and the rest will be black. After a short pause, the image will revert to the original on its own.

Action: Levels_pause_check
Type: Script, automatic
When to run: on an isolated image right after isolation
Requires to run: the "sleep_check.jsx" script present in the Scripts folder of the Photoshop directory
What it does: it makes the image fit the screen, then, by adjusting the Levels, it shows all the white pixels in the image as white, and the rest as black. After a short pause, the script reverts the image to its original state.
Output: no permanent changes to the image, just a temporary visual change
User intervention: none
Possible alteration: you can open the "sleep_check.jsx" script in any text editor and change the pause time if it's too short or too long for you. The $.sleep(300); means a 300 milliseconds long pause. You can change this number. You can also remove the Fit to screen command if you don't need it.

The script is open source, you can edit it by yourself. If the pause is too short, you can change is from 300 milliseconds to something else, like one second. However, if you want to edit the script, make sure you move it from the Photoshop Scripts folder. Last time I tried the ExtendScript Toolkit didn't let me save it as the contents of the folder are probably read-only. Copy the script somewhere else, edit and then put it back, overwriting the previous version.



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