Where should background removal be in my workflow?

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Where should background removal be in my workflow?

Unsure where extraction should be in your workflow? 36Pix can help! We’ve seen a lot of images over the years, and have come up with some advice that can help you get the best results.

Background extraction should happen as early as possible in your workflow. Most of the editing done on JPG files is considered destructive. This means that each time you make a change, the quality of the pixels is degraded a little bit. This is cumulative, so the more editing you do, the more degraded your pixels will be. Normally this is not a problem, modern digital images have a lot of pixels. However, ChromaStar AI (our newest algorithm) is a “pixel peeper,” meaning it looks at the very fine details of your image to make extraction decisions. Any time there's degradation, you risk your results being less than perfect.

Should I crop before background extraction?

The answer is yes! Cropping is a crucial step in any photography workflow. It should be done early, preferably one of the first things you do with an image in post production. This is especially important for 36Pix's Verified Full Service. By uploading the images already cropped the way you intend to use them, you can avoid your images unnecessarily falling into a speciality pricing category.

Should I color correct before or after removing the background?

Color correction is a more complicated issue. The goal should be to get your JPGs as close to balanced in-camera as possible. The nature of JPG files makes changing things like white balance after the file is saved challenging. That’s why we recommend setting up a custom white balance in your camera prior to shooting using a grey card. If the light on your set changes, update your white balance accordingly. If your white balance does need to be corrected in your post-production workflow, we recommend doing it after extracting the background.

Where does sharpening fit in?

Sharpening is not your friend when it comes to background removal. It’s one of the worst offenders we see for causing poor extraction results. All sharpening should happen after removing the background. Is your camera adding sharpening as it saves the JPG files? If you’re unsure, the answer is probably yes. Most modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras will do this automatically when saving a JPG, so for the best results make sure your camera is set to not apply sharpening. You can make up for this by adding a little more sharpening later in your workflow. If you’re interested in why sharpening is problematic for background extractions, we’ll cover that in a future blog post!

To sum up...

To get the best background removal results from CloudKO and Verified Full Service, the only thing you should do before uploading your image is cropping. Color correction and sharpening should be done after background removal whenever possible.

When in doubt, submit an image to get a full Image Analyzer report.