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How to quickly mask and replace the background in your photos

How to create stunning composite photos

Replacing the background of an image to create a composite photograph can result in stunning, creative works of art. Whether you want to completely replace the sky to change the mood of your photo, or totally isolate objects for your graphic design projects, your first step will be to create a mask.

What is an image mask?

A mask simply helps you select a portion of your image. After masking your image, you can can easily change background colors, make transparent images, or replace portions of your image without ever deleting a pixel from your original photo. Masking can require a lot of precision skill and effort to carefully refine complicated selections, like hair and fur.

Masking in Adobe Photoshop

If you’ve ever tried to replace the background of an image in Photoshop, you know how tedious this process can be. Even with Photoshop’s magic wand and quick mask tools, you’ll still find yourself zooming in at 1200% and carefully clicking away pixel-by-pixel to get a perfect mask.

The problem with masking in Photoshop is that isolating fine objects is time-consuming. You’ll need to switch through a variety of brushes and ideally use a digital drawing tablet to perfectly fade your brush strokes.

In the image above, you can see what you have to work with when you mask an image in Photoshop. Attempting to isolate the background from the model’s individual strands of hair could take hours to get just right.

Masking with Mask AI by Topaz Labs

Mask AI solves the problem of complicated image masks. Using the power of sophisticated neural networks, Mask AI can identify the content of your photo and make the most accurate masks in mere seconds. Finally, you can let your computer do all the complicated masking work for you, so you can complete your project in less time.

All it takes is a quick application of the trimap to compute a mask. Paint a blue line where you’d like the application to “compute” the mask, and drop a red paint bucket on the area you’d like removed. It’s that simple.

It only takes a moment for Mask AI to compute your mask, and just like that, your background is removed and details are preserved.

If necessary, you can tidy up the brush strokes, or refine the mask using sliders like Edge Strength and Foreground Recovery to get your mask just how you want it.

Mask AI has background replacement built-in, so you can finish your project without ever leaving the app. You can easily apply a solid color background, blur the existing background, or import a new background altogether.

Try Mask AI by Topaz Labs totally free

Try Mask AI totally free for 30-days, no credit card or commitment required. Mask AI works as a standalone application for Mac or PC, or as a Photoshop plugin to help keep your workflow running smoothly.

Buy Mask AI today and get 15% off with coupon code MASKBETTER

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The Beginner’s Guide to Topaz Studio 2

Want a fresh look for your photos? Topaz Labs, the leader in AI technology for your photography post-processing workflow, has launched Topaz Studio 2Whether you’re looking to edit photos or make stunning digital art, Topaz Studio 2 will help you achieve infinite photo effects that are as unique as your photography.

Read on for an overview of Studio 2 or check out our complete Studio 2 User Guide

Topaz Studio 2

Effect Filters Will Make Your Photos Pop

From basic adjustments to intelligent AI-powered effects, filters help make your photos pop by adjusting color, adding styles, and implementing a variety of fixes.

Topaz Studio 2 Filter Effects Panel

Getting started with photo filters is as easy as clicking the “Add Filter” button and browsing the different options. 

Looks Can Help You Achieve Anything

Within the Looks panel, you can choose from a variety of creative looks. You’ll find effects for artistic, grungy, abstract, vintage, dramatic looks and more. 

Topaz Studio 2 Looks Panel

Simply click any Look to preview and apply to your image.

Layers Let You Control Everything

Looks and effects appear in layers which you can stack and rearrange with blending modes and opacities to achieve the aesthetic that works for your image. 

Working with layers in Topaz Studio 2

You can stack and blend multiple looks and effect filters. The results are infinite and limited only by your imagination.

Topaz Studio 2 Looks

 

Download Topaz Studio 2 today and try it free for 30 days.

Be sure to check out the Studio 2 Guide to help you get started!

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Getting Started with Topaz Gigapixel AI

This article is to introduce you to and provide you with some helpful resources to using Topaz Gigapixel AI, the industry’s most advanced upscaling and photo enlargement solution powered by artificial intelligence!

Why You’d Want to Use Topaz Gigapixel AI

Gigapixel AI breathes new life into images that you may have previously considered impossible to enlarge. Whether it’s a photo from vacation 10 years ago in your low-res image library, smartphone photos, a cropped image you’d like to add resolution to, a full-size image you want to turn into an even larger print, scanned photos that leave something to be desired, or a high-quality video still, Gigapixel AI allows you to upscale your photos by up to 600% while preserving image quality.

No matter why you’re enlarging your photos, you always want the best possible quality for your results. So, let’s get into Gigapixel AI!

When to Use Topaz Gigapixel AI in Your Workflow

We recommend using Gigapixel AI at the end of your photo editing workflow to finish an image that has been edited in Topaz Studio, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or other image editing software. This will minimize the amount of work needed to fine-tune the image post-upsampling!

How Topaz Gigapixel AI Works

Traditional up-scale methods use “interpolation” (bi-cubic, Lanczos, fractal, etc.) to create higher resolution images, but exhibit limitations such as loss of detail and sharpness, which causes very pixelated and blurry upsampled images. Gigapixel AI, however, analyzes the image and recognizes details and structures and “completes” the image with AI models that we have trained in our lab!

Our AI models are trained with thousands of images with different resolutions to learn how to distinguish poorly upsampled images from high-quality upsampled images. During this training period, our models not only learn to distinguish quality, but also learn to recognize certain structures within the image. This information is committed to memory and used later as a reference to complete and achieve high-quality upsampled images.

Installation Tips

Here’s a quick rundown to get you up and running with Topaz Gigapixel AI!

BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD, Gigapixel AI has higher requirements than some of our other applications, so please check out the requirements below and see what kind of performance to expect:

After meeting the requirements, simply follow the directions below:

  • Download Gigapixel AI from the Topaz Labs Downloads Page.
  • Log in with your Topaz Labs account or the email address that you used to purchase.

To start a free, 30-day trial, please follow the directions below:

Extra Tip: Started a trial, bought the product, and still seeing “trial” on the application? No worries. Simply click “Help” in the top toolbar and then click “Update Product Ownership.” And with just those few clicks, your product will be updated.

Using Gigapixel AI

Ready for a crash course in Gigapixel AI to get started? Check out our 5 minute walkthrough for a quick tutorial!

Other Resources for Gigapixel AI

We’re fortunate to have several Topaz product educators that help us out with live, instructional webinars! Greg Rostami started working with Topaz Labs over 10 years ago as a product evangelist at trade shows. In this recorded webinar, Greg showcases several examples of how Gigapixel AI can fine-tune all of the missing details when enlarging photos.

Still have some questions on Gigapixel AI? No worries. We’ve gathered up some frequently asked questions and our knowledge base of Gigapixel articles.