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Say I have a still background image. And I have a number of images where a hand comes into the foreground infront of that background image and moves around.

If I wanted to mask that hand out of the image and turn the background to alpha is there an easier way to do this than traditional masking using bezier curves/magic wands?

In other words can I set a background image to alpha like I can a static colour (i.e. white background with image moving around).

I don't have access to Photoshop, I use Gimp and other freeware programs. Preferably a method that use one of these, but if there is a method using a pay-per-use program please let me know the name and other keywords so I can use it when searching for an alternative.

  • Yeah it is known as difference keying, you will find that a video post production tool software may provide you much much more bang for the buck than standard still editors. (which dont usually give you lot of keying tools in the first place, since they dont actually need to). Note: difference keying is really the last tool in the toolbox when all else fails, It has several problems. – joojaa May 26 at 12:52
  • Okay good, I was able to search for it with those keywords. In gimp its just "Filters - Animation - Optimize (Difference)". graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/27484/… – kite May 26 at 13:38
  • GIMP has very basic background removal automation, i.e. the "Foreground Select Tool" which can be used to create a layer mask. But it doesn't always work well. Same goes for Photoshop using it's Select and Mask technology - it's a bit more clomplex and capable, but again it doesn't always work well. Success will really depend on what the background is. If it's a complex background, all bets are probably off. – Billy Kerr May 26 at 15:31

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