Contouring, also known as ‘deep etching’, is the process of removing an object from the background it was photographed against. Why do we do this? Usually it’s because the studio background is never pure white or the shadows are unwanted, but it could be as simple as needing to place the product over a coloured panel or that the products were photographed separately while the design now calls for them to be overlapped.
With the rate technology improves these days it would be nice if contouring was a one-click operation, but more often than not it’s a manual process. One where the devil really is in the details. Take, for example, this bracelet. To contour it we have to manually trace around all the detailed edges, then trace around each individual link. And there are a lot of links!
It’s obviously a much easier and quicker process for boxed products, so the more complex the shape, the longer it will take. And then there’s hair and fur, which requires a completely different method to remove that background.
Did you know? The opposite of contouring is sometimes called ‘square finish’.