This is a great time of year to collect leaves to use in future projects. Some people like to dry them in either the microwave or by pressing in a book. But I prefer to use them digitally. You never have to worry about the colors fading or the leaf crumbling with time, and as a bonus, you can use the same perfect leaf over and over!
My favorite technique with leaves is to scan them on a very bright white background. If you want to do a traditional collage with them, just print them out and cut away! You can even change the colors in your photo-editing software. If you’ve got Photoshop or another really good tool, you can also remove the background easily so that they can be dropped digitally into your work.
Photoshop’s what I use, so I’ll explain the basic steps that will allow you to remove the background quickly for digital collages.
1. Open the scanned image in Photoshop. Resize and tweak as you want.
2. Double click on the background layer in your layers palette. A box will open up called “New Layer”. Make sure that the layer is named “Layer 0″ and that “none” is checked under “Color”. Hit “OK”.
3. Select “Color Range”, and select the white background. Hit “OK”.
4. Hit the delete key, deselect, and you can now move your images into a digital collage. If the selection doesn’t come out clean enough, go back and feather your selection by a couple of pixels before deleting the background.
Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.
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