Introduction: Pure White Background Photography Using Smartphone
A moving picture is worth a g words, only not without some effort on your part. My first instructable was then ugly with night and unfocused images that I never published it. I decided to go for quality over quantity and setting randofo’s instructable quality as benchmark, I started exploring how to get photographs that can do about of the explaining for me.
Dissimilar most guides out there which assumed a lot of equipment, I had a few constraints:
- No DSLR camera: The only camera I had was the one in my smartphone.
- No lite tent: I but desire good images without much investment.
- No dedicated light source setup: I cannot plough off room lights as well in utilize by others, or place a directional calorie-free.
- No Photoshop: It’s pretty costly. So had to go with GIMP.
- No patience: When in period during a build, it’south very hard to stop at every step, setup the scene and try taking that perfect photo. The process needs to be quick and effortless.
To overcome these constraints, I have read and improved upon information from the net and discovered a few tip-n-tricks, which are provided in detail in this instructable, along with instructional GIFs in every editing pace. Believe it or not, every epitome I’ve taken for every instructable(except Speed Control for Hand Drill Printing for which I borrowed a friend’s DSLR) is taken using my old simply trusty Samsung S3’s camera. Then professional looking photographs practise not necessarily require costly professional equipment.
*All the images used for examples(except for the pear ones) are from my previous instructables.
** These steps are for Windows, Linux or Mac based GIMP. The mobile versions for Android and iOS are a pain. Will update the instructable with good mobile apps for getting the same results soon.
Step one: The Question Is, Why?
Q: Why go for a pure white background?
A: Because it looks super cool.
Q: Why does it look super absurd?
- A white background bring the main object in sharper focus. In that location are no groundwork items to distract the viewer’s attending.
- Colors pop out! Everything looks more than vibrant in dissimilarity to white.
- Saves the hassle of choosing a groundwork. Instructables like cooking recipes tin can easily use the kitchen counter every bit a background but non all fields are so lucky. The all-time background for an electronics project is a workbench. Unfortunately, during a project, there won’t be a square inch of it devoid of clutter. So good luck getting a clean background. A white background eliminates the need for setting up the background and then images tin be taken quickly.
Q: Where tin these steps be used?
A: It tin can exist used for showcasing products with cracking looking images on ebay, etsy, amazon etc. I apply it for making my images beautiful for projects on instructables. Basically whatsoever place you want professional looking images for objects, this instructable tin can be used.
Attribution: Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/21496790@N06/5065834…
Pace 2: Stuff Needed
- A photographic camera. Annihilation from your smartphone camera to a DSLR will exercise.
- A white sheet of paper. Size depends on the size of object to exist photographed. A small-scale object tin can make practise with an A4 sheet but a larger object may need a larger canvass.
- A calorie-free source. You tin can borrow the sun.
- A PC or Mac with GIMP installed. GIMP is a gratuitous open-source alternative to photoshop. It is bachelor for all major Os platforms. Download hither.
- A pinch of perspective and inventiveness.
Step 3: Taking Pic: Choosing a Spot
The most of import attribute of taking a good photograph is lighting. I’ve found natural light to exist the best source. Not directly sunlight(as shown in 2nd image) but a shaded area with enough diffused low-cal from mostly single direction. If not all the images, I make sure to take at to the lowest degree the finished product images outside in natural low-cal. The main epitome should be nothing less than the best.
Since most projects become on in workshop and taking the production outside every time is a hassle, I take nearly all images indoors. Most of the time I do non have command over the lighting. The source is nearly always a wall affixed tubelight, so instead of adjusting the low-cal source, we must suit the object and ourselves according to the light source.
- Choose a well lit spot. I’ve chosen a neglected corner of my balcony.
- There should be no objects casting shadow on it. In the prototype, notice in that location is a shadow on the right side simply I’ve kept the sheet away from it.
- Cull a identify where the wall meets the floor or tabular array-top. We simply need some vertical surface to prop the sheet confronting and walls work well. Alternatively, you tin place an object of some height on a flat surface to provide back up to sheet.
- As shown in image, place the white sheet of paper on the surface such that it curves gently and provides backdrop in both horizontal and vertical planes.
Here’southward an instructable to make a DIY photography properties.
Step 4: Taking Pic: Identify Object
- Place the object in the heart of the white sheet. The face you want to capture should be towards yous and should be getting direct lite.
- Go on light above and behind you so the shadow of the item doesn’t autumn towards the camera(every bit shown in 2d image), else you’ll have the dark face towards yous and an unappealing shadow. The best is a shadow that falls behind the object and slightly towards left or correct. If yous can’t move the light source(especially if it’s the sun), you need to move or rotate your spot.
Make sure the shadow of the item completely lies on the white area. If the shadow falls outside the canvas, you need to adjust the object’s position on the canvass or become a bigger canvas.
- Try non to take multiple shadows. Plow off actress lights in the room if y’all’re getting unwanted shadows.
Stride 5: Taking Pic: FOCUS!
on this effect enough, and then I made a whole step for this. Keep the object in frame and tap on it to bring it in focus. Aye, your smartphone will slap-up you with it’s amazing cutting-edge auto-focus technology, peculiarly when trying macro shots, but proceed it in perfect focus no affair what. If the auto-focus refuses to cooperate, try endeavour try until you succeed. But don’t accept fifty-fifty a slightly blurry out of focus shot.
No thing how much of a great angle you got, if it is blurry, it is of no use. I’ve wasted countless beautiful shots to this demon. Y’all find a nifty shot you took or discover a need for afterward(sometimes this is a unmarried shot taken by mistake) only on opening the thumbnail, it comes out to be out of focus. And so even if y’all recall the shot you are taking is not the best, still keep information technology in focus. Information technology might turn out of dandy utilise afterward on.
It’south better to take a farther but in-focus shot, than to take upwards a shut-upwards blurry shot. You tin can ingather it later to become a digital zoom. The Raspberry/Arduino IR Instructable had really tiny components and whenever I tried taking a close-upwardly, the camera wouldn’t focus on it. I backed abroad a bit and then the auto-focus can lock in properly then cropped it to the area I wanted.
Stride 6: Taking Pic: Camera Placement
Time to go to the interesting part: actually taking the pic. Just where should your photographic camera be? It tin exist anywhere as long as information technology takes care of a few things:
- Earlier you lot outset shooting, try out one thing right at present. Selection upwardly your telephone and look at its camera. I’m pretty certain you’ll see fingerprints on it. Then clean those oily prints and dust with a clean cloth(i.e. your shirt) before picking upward the telephone to have a photograph. It obviously causes visible deterioration in your photograph quality.
- Brand sure your camera’s or your own shadow doesn’t autumn over the object or its shadow, as shown in the 2d image. If y’all are taking a shut upward, and the light is backside you and so the lighted confront of objct is towards you, move the object and yourself closer to the light source so it is somewhat above and slightly behind yous. That style your shadow volition fall short of the object.
- Keep the object in front end of white expanse in the picture. No part of information technology should beetle out of the white area in the image, as shown in image-3, else y’all’ll take a hard time removing the groundwork while keeping the outline of item in shape.
- Accept multiple images from all the interesting angles and even from not-interesting angles and keep them in focus. Sometimes the items in the step are impossible to bring to the verbal electric current country once nosotros move on with the project(east.yard. a piece of carved wood which gets cut in side by side step). Then it might non be possible to get images for this step once past it. So take every bit many images every bit possible. Sometimes the shots I thought would be tedious came out the best afterwards editing(the latest example is the summit view shot of Rainbow Roller. I didn’t like it while taking it so but took a single paradigm and moved to other angles. After editing, it came out looking so good that I fabricated information technology the thumbnail for the video). And you’ll curse yourself if information technology is out of focus, and so KEEP Information technology IN FOCUS!
That’s information technology for taking the photograph. On to epitome editing. If you’re making a cooking project, you can devour the effeminateness now before editing, particularly if hot. The pear was juicy sweetness past the way… ;P
Step 7: Editing: Whiten
- Install GIMP. Open up the image in it.
- Right click on the image layer in the panel on correct and indistinguishable it(for condom-keeping).
- Select the topmost layer(should exist selected past default later on duplication).
- Go to
- Drag the rightmost triangle under the graph towards left slowly. As information technology is dragged, the image becomes whiter.
- Drag till the area surrounding the object becomes perfect white.
Pace 8: Editing: Clean Background
- Select the paintbrush tool or just press P.
- Make sure Opacity is 100%.
- Select the hard circular brush.
- Increase size to something comfy.
- Start cleaning the area around the object till everything is white in the background.
Step nine: Editing: Resize and Export
If y’all have a lot of white space left almost, like in the pear image, crop it to size and export the image to the format of your option.
- Go to
- Reduce the pinnacle and width according to taste.
- Move the ingather window to become the object within the window(lookout man GIF for detailed info).
- Go to
- Select the folder to export the file.
- Give a file name y’all similar. The extension at the terminate decides the type of file. Use .jpg, .png, .gif etc.
- You’re Done!
Step 10: Editing: Shrinking Paradigm Size for Web
If y’all require a smaller image for uploading to the net, there are 2 options:
1. Go to
Image. Reduce the width or height and the pixel width and height will modify. Keep the link icon to the right of width-tiptop textboxes linked(should be linked by default). This ensures the width and peak scaling maintains their ratio and the image doesn’t shrink in merely a unmarried dimension. The concluding paradigm will accept lesser pixels and and so lesser size. But reducing it too much will reduce moving-picture show quality as fewer pixels can only hold lesser image information.
ii. While exporting the image to .jpg format, the next image format window lets you change the terminal epitome quality. Change the value to a lower one to become a smaller image size. The pixels size of the image will remain the same, only the image volition get kinda blurrier as you reduce quality.
You lot tin employ a combination of these 2 steps also.
Step 11: Editing: Transparent Objects
This is a slightly circuitous technique. When photographing transparent objects such as acrylic or drinking glass, whitening the epitome besides makes parts of the object invisible. This tin exist more or less stock-still by using masking:
- Start by the duplicating the image equally usual. The mystery behind image duplication will be revealed hither.
- Go about the usual steps for whitening the image. You’ll notice that when you try whitening the surface area around the transparent object, some of its areas fade to white and turn invisible. Don’t fret nigh it.
- Click on the middle icon on the current top layer to hide it from view. Yous will see the original darker image.
- Select the other original layer then edits will be made to that layer instead of the new hidden 1.
- Now whiten this layer too. But choose to go along information technology slightly nighttime by opting for a slightly greater whitening value. I chose 170 for the first layer and 188 for this one. Make sure the previously invisible surface area is now visible.
- Unhide the height layer and select it.
- Right click on the top layer and select
Add together Layer Mask. A new white box appears adjacent to the layer’due south thumbnail and is selected past default.
- In the window that pops up, select
White (total opacity). Click on Add button.
- Click on the
- Select the softest round brush.
- Keep the castor size to a small-scale value so you do non darken the expanse around the intended i past mistake.
- Set opacity to a value below fifty%. 25% is a skillful condom value.
- Set foreground color to black.
- Zoom in to the invisible area you desire to gear up.
- Laissez passer over the area to exist fixed a few times with the brush. The hidden parts of the image volition slowly appear.
- Zoom out and repeat for any other areas you lot wish to fix. I darkened the shadow a flake likewise.
- Now select the layer thumbnail for the whiter upper layer. You volition at present switch from editing the layer mask to the image.
- Whiten the useless background areas as shown in Make clean Groundwork step. Remember to set the foreground color dorsum to white, opacity to 100%, gear up the brush blazon to hardest round brush and increase brush size.
- We’re Washed!
Explanation is in lodge for the steps above. Layer masking is the technique of turning parts of a layer transparent. The layer mask will crusade selected parts of the upper image to get transparent and reveal the darker layer underneath. Just like masking in physical world, you cut away(or plough transparent) parts of a layer to reveal the layer underneath. But you also have the option of setting the corporeality of transparency to add by setting the opacity of the brush.
White in the layer mask means full opacity, the bottom layer completely subconscious by top layer. Blackness pixels in layer mask will plow those very pixels in the upper layer transparent. As mentioned, grayness means fractional transparency and setting lighter or darker grey sets the amount of transparency. If you turn the darker layer invisible, you’ll see the checkered background representing transparency through the layer masking parts which y’all blackened.
Step 12: Tip: Quick White Backdrop
You lot’re in the middle of a project, need to take images of the current pace but your project has go bigger or you need an bending which requires a bigger sheet of paper. Just in that location’s none available and a trip to the store means a suspension in the catamenia. Asking someone to bring information technology for y’all ways waiting for them to return and til so unable to move to next step.
Hither’southward a trick I found out for such a state of affairs. Lay down multiple A4 sheets to create a bigger white properties. But there are a few things to keep in listen:
- the places where the sheets overlap, there will exist dark lines. Make certain these dark seams aren’t intersecting with your object. For that, keep the object in the middle of a single sail and then spread others around.
- No office of the shadow of the object should fall on the seam. Cleaning upwardly a line passing nether the object is much simpler than one passing through a shadow. The shadow is a dark expanse and the line makes it darker. I’ve tried lightening, blurring, smudging only have been unable to remove these from shadows.
The second prototype shows these dark lines passing through the shadow. Since this was the pic mentioned before which I took without much idea but establish appealing later, I didn’t really look at this aspect until I reached the editing phase. Every bit I but had 1 shot of this angle(the alternative being filling up roller with pigment over again and setting upwards the shot again), I tried slightly lightening the lines. But the lines in shadow are clearly visible.
badideasrus left a comment suggesting that the shadow area around the lines can exist copied and pasted over the lines on some other layer to remove them. You lot can and so mistiness the edges to merge the copied surface area with the original. Another alternative to blurring is to right click on the new layer with the copied portion, select
Add Alpha Channel, and and so apply the
with soft brush blazon and low opacity to gradually merge the edges with that of the original.
Footstep 13: Tips From Comments
The overwhelming comments I’ve received made me add together this stride for collecting all the great tips provided by other members and forestall them from being lost in the comments section. Here are some of the all-time tips and tricks shared in the comments:
Every bit discussed in comments, the edited images seem slightly over-exposed when compared with the original, simply look ok in isolation. So keep the try to whiten the background in the Step-7 Editing: Whitening while keeping the value to max to prevent over-exposing it.
Ben Finio provided a useful tip if you’re finding your image to be over exposed. In step-vii, in
window, increase the value of leftmost triangle to effectually x to reduce over-exposure. You can besides reduce the value of center triangle(aka gamma) to around 0.95 to become a better looking image. These values were used past him and I tested them to be working pretty well. The 3 images of greenish breadboard with wire cutter are as well provided past him.
He too helpfully suggests that some newer smartphones have a transmission way using which you lot can manually increase the exposure while taking the photo. That helps you get a whiter background to begin with instead of the grayish groundwork you’ll get if your lighting isn’t skillful.
badideasrus as well provided a few nice tips. For
Editing: Clean Background, you can use lasso tool so select the area around the object and then click on
Select->Capsize. This will select the area around the object which you can now delete using the delete key. If the deleted area turns transparent, paint information technology white using the
Bucket Fill Tool. This is quicker than using a big castor for cleaning surface area(but I like the dramatic effect of the background being wiped clean).
aRBemo explained file formats:
- GIF : utilise when pictures only use a few colours (like buttons or graphics) as information technology merely stores up to 256 colours. Also allows yous to brand animated images like the ones used in the Editing steps of this instructable.
- JPG or JPEG: utilise for photos if you tin afford to lose detail due to compression (i.e. for the web). Most widely used format and provides smallest size prototype with almost all detail.
- PNG: utilize when you want to continue all the detail and pin sharp lines with no pixellation. Images are larger than jpg.
Pace fourteen: Some Examples
Here are some finished images from my projects vs their originals.
I’m not a professional(or even a talented) lensman and these are my own views and methods developed over the years, which I observe extremely useful merely might be seem picayune or useless, just hopefully not incorrect, for knowledgeable experts.
Cheers for reading my instructable. Promise you notice it of some use.
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