Adobe photoshop cc 2017: select and mask technique tutorial

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Maybe you have been in this scenario before: you have a great closeup photo of a friend or family member and want to add a new background, but the person’s hair ismaking this difficult. You might think, how am I going to make an accurate selection with all that hair in the way?

Fortunately, there are ways to approach this problem. Have you heard of the Refine Edge Tool in Photoshop CC? For complex edges in a picture, especially hair, you can use this super handy and easy tool to make complex selections in Photoshop.

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Photoshop has several tools photographers can use to make selections. These include the Magic Wand Tool, the Lasso Tool, the Polygonal Tool, the Quick Selection Tool, and the Pen Tool. But using the Refine Edge Tool is a relatively quick and simple way to make a selection. In fact, it is one of the best tools Photoshop offers.

Intrigued? Good! Keep reading to learn how to use the Refine Edge Tool. Once you do, you will be ready to make accurate selections for complex subjects. This tutorial will:

Explain what the Refine Edge Tool isDiscuss what it does and when you should use itShow you how to use it to get the result you want

You might want to follow along with Photoshop open beside you, completing each step as you go through this guide. But before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at the Refine Edge Tool.

Note: Please be aware that this tutorial follows the latest version of Photoshop CC. You can purchase it through Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan, which includes Lightroom for only $9.99/month.

Be sure to regularly update your copy of Photoshop to take advantage of the latest versions, since Adobe continuously updates all of its programs.

What is the Refine Edge Tool?

The Refine Edge Tool selects shapes such as hair, branches, or any part of an image with edges, especially complex ones. It allows you to precisely select these areas of the picture you want to crop out, such as your friend or family member.

You can then add a new background to your selection, such as a blue sky, to get the picture you want. In short, you can get very creative by adding a new background.

Using other tools aren’t always the best option when dealing with complicated edges.

For example, the Magic Wand Tool, while helpful, is kind of unpredictable. The Pen Tool allows you to make a selection by creating and connecting points along a shape. While this is very accurate method, it is slow and time consuming.

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As one would guess, the Quick Selection Tool is fast, but it isn’t always accurate. It is most well-suited for parts of the image that are easily distinguishable from one another, such as large, clearly defined signs or cars in a cityscape.


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Conclusion

So that’s it! You have learned how to use the Refine Edge Tool, and you should now know how to isolate selections from images. As with other Photoshop tools, using the Refine Edge Tool does take practice.

It may be wise to start off with a solid background when using this tool. That way, you will have an easier time fine tuning the selection.

Also, keep in mind that while the Refine Edge Tool (and other edge-selection tools) is quite advanced, it won’t be able to make an absolutely perfect selection. This means you will probably have to zoom into the picture to make additional adjustments (i.e., adding or deleting the selection).

Remember, to zoom, press “Z” on the keyboard to select the Zoom Tool and click the area you want to work on. You may already be aware of this, but you can get close enough to see individual pixels.

Don’t forget to also try to select a variety of different subjects, including trees and colorful or busy backgrounds.

So, not to sound like a broken record, just keep practicing! In no time you’ll be able to make selections quickly and work more efficiently when editing images. You will spend less time editing a more time doing what we all love: taking pictures.

If you found this tutorial helpful, you also may be interested in checking out these articles:

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