A look at the tools: Clipping Magic

There’s a nifty new site from the folks who brought us Vector Magic (http://vectormagic.com/home), called Clipping Magic, which offers to quickly and easily remove the background from any image, outputting a png file with transparency. And for free!

It certainly sounds great, but I wanted to see how it would stack up against similar tools in Photoshop–especially since that program would likely be your very next stop as soon as a cutout was complete.

Note: I made the cutout comparisons in this post using only the comparable tools and settings in Photoshop; obviously PS has some additional tools, techniques, etc, but this is a fair comparison 😀

Desert in Clipping Magic
Cutout of a geographical feature with complex edges set against similar colors.
Clipping Magic comparison
Cutout of Tulips, including small regions between flowers and tricky depth of field blur.
Clipping Magic comparison
Cutout with many subjects.
Cutout comparison of Hydrangeas
Cutout with subtle hues and varying levels of contrast
Cutout comparison of a Koala bear
Cutout involving fine, detailed hairs and fur.
Cutout comparison of a jellyfish
Cutout requiring variable transparency, color-bleed, and fine, wispy details.

Thoughts: Clipping Magic is fast, easy, intuitive, and quite slick.

Pros: When it works well, it works incredibly well–as fast as Photoshop, but with better visual feedback. It’s immediately clear how well it’s going to work, and how to improve results thanks to the live preview and the live visual edge-finding.

Cons: The usual; Fine details like hairs (or jellyfish tentacles) are impossible to select, and small bits are somewhat difficult. Color bleed from wraparound light is not addressed, which is to be expected in a straight-up cutout product. Selecting multiple subjects is time-consuming, but not more so than in other image editing tools like Photoshop.

All-in-all: Extremely useful, and would definitely recommend even to Photoshop users unless talking to a very advanced user, or one who needed to make very accurate selections of flyaway hairs, fur, etc.