Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.



Windows 7: The Magic of Background Removal

19 Oct 2009   #1

 
The Magic of Background Removal

Quote:
Hi, Iím Tucker Hatfield and Iím a Program Manager on the Office Graphics team.

Pictures are great Ė worth 1,000 words they say Ė so itís a great idea to use them to spice up a document or add some flair to a presentation. The problem is that they usually end up being self-contained rectangles in the middle of things, and they donít really flow into the content. You can put borders or effects on them to make them look more artistic, but up until now the only way to isolate part of the picture was to go into an expensive photo editing package and learn the cumbersome process of selecting and removing portions of the image.

Background Removal is a new feature in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook that makes this process quick and easy for any picture. Unlike similar tools, the Office Background Removal tool doesnít just select color ranges or trim to a border you draw. Background Removal uses new capabilities and algorithms from the Microsoft Research and Development team in Cambridge, UK to achieve better results automatically with very little effort or fine tuning from the user.

So, how does it work?

Even though I canít explain the deepest secrets of how the code works, I can show you how to use it effectively. Letís start with this picture and assume that we want to remove the background and keep only the flower.



Clicking the Remove Background button in Picture Tools will start the process. First off, Background Removal tries to figure out what portion of your picture is the foreground, the portion to keep, and which is the background, the portion to remove. The first step in this process is the marquee selection area that gets drawn when you first start Background Removal. When you first start the tool, youíll see the marquee and portions of the image are overlaid with magenta. Everything marked with magenta is what Background Removal has marked as the background. The normally colored portions are foreground, and will be kept.



Youíll probably notice that the marquee is inset slightly by default. Why is that? Well, itís rare that the subject of a photo fills the picture completely, and insetting the marquee slightly makes it easier for Background removal to figure out what is the foreground and what is the background. In general, the less background included inside the marquee the more accurate Background Removal will be.

As you can see above, if the goal is to isolate the flower, the default marquee size doesnít really get the desired result. As it stands, the result would look like this:



To further refine what we get, weíll need to adjust the shape and size of the marquee. The important rule to remember is that you want the marquee to contain everything you want to keep. Itís okay if there are portions of whatís in the marquee that you donít want to keep Ė the magic will do its best to figure out what to keep and what to ignore Ė but nothing that sticks very far outside of the marquee will be kept, so itís important to make sure everything you want is inside. Letís size the marquee so that it is just slightly bigger than the flower. The marquee is sized just the same as any shape or image, by grabbing the handles and resizing or dragging the whole shape to a new location.



Background removal figures out what you wanted and isolates the flower, which results in everything but the flower being removed.



Since the system Background Removal uses to isolate foreground objects from the background isnít simply based on color choices or contrast values, it can extract even similarly-colored objects from the background.



Or you can even choose to keep something other than the obviousÖ



Of course, no matter how good the logic is thatís trying to figure out what the foreground of the picture is, there will always be some cases where simply adjusting the marquee canít figure out what should be kept and what should be discarded. For those cases Background Removal has some simple tools to mark up and refine your selection. Weíll talk about how to use those tools remove the background from an image that presents a problem in a future post. For now, let me close with a couple of quick illustrations of how you might use that flower we removed in the first example.





More...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Oct 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9
 
 

Awesome. May have to try this out....
You would think they would put it in paint though...

~Lordbob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2009   #3

Win7 Build 7600 x86
 
 

If it is really as good as this article suggests, it is absolutely brilliant.

Would have saved me a couple of thousand hrs fine tuning selections in the past.

Great find.

I'm going to look for an Office 2010 trial right away.

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


19 Oct 2009   #4

XP / 7
 
 

This is rather useful. This will probably put off my Photoshop installation by a month or so..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #5

Windows 7 RTM x86
 
 

This is what I have been waiting for for years. Now I won't need any expensive Masking tool to remove image backgrounds. I love Microsoft and I love Bill Gates. And of course I love seven forums too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #6

windows 7 HP 64bit
 
 

It looks great but those pics above look very easy for this sort of thing. Lets see how it works with more complicated pics.
Hope im proved wrong but i think it wont be as fantastic as the PR makes it look.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Would be nice to have this feature in Live Gallery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

Have just been playing with this and it does seem quite impressive, and the actual masking is retained in files opened in Office 2007, which is nice.

2010testPresentation1.zip

This is a quick test PPtx presentation that shows a masked image if anyone wants to actually try a practical example.

just open the file in office 2007 and run the slideshow (needs a click to start animation)

the file took less time to create and upload than to write this post so is basic


My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #9

Win7 Build 7600 x86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
Have just been playing with this and it does seem quite impressive, and the actual masking is retained in files opened in Office 2007, which is nice.

Attachment 32300

This is a quick test PPtx presentation that shows a masked image if anyone wants to actually try a practical example.

just open the file in office 2007 and run the slideshow (needs a click to start animation)

the file took less time to create and upload than to write this post so is basic
Thanks Barman,

If MS incorporates this algorithm in a new photo-editor, or sell it as a plug-in, they have a real winner.

Extracting backgrounds is one of the most time consuming tasks,
and especially for web graphic editors one of the most common tasks.

Even with Photoshop CS4 it is still a lot of work getting it right.

Adobe will be drooling over this.

and
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Oct 2009   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

That is REALLY cool! I may need to get Office 2010 now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 The Magic of Background Removal





Thread Tools



Similar help and support threads for2: The Magic of Background Removal
Thread Forum
Solved desktop background return to previous background after changed it. Customization
Microsoft Office Starter 2010 reinstall after removal plus ctr removal Microsoft Office
Parted Magic 5.7 Software
Magic jack Hardware & Devices
Network Magic Network & Sharing
Partition Magic Software
More About Background Removal in Office 2010 Microsoft Office

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:30 PM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33