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When you first make a selection, you're viewing it in the Marching Ants View and you can't really tell from the marching ants whether the edge of your selection is accurate, in other words, whether it faithfully traces the edge of the object that you trying to select, or whether the selection edge is as smooth as you would like it to be, and that's where the Refine Edge dialog box comes into play. Let me show you how it works. I am going to make a selection using any of the selection tools, I'll use the Quick Selection tool, clicking and dragging over the door in this photo.
I'll try to get this as accurate as I can using the marching ants, for example, I see there's a bit here that I need to add in, so I'll drag over that part to add it to the selection and here is some that shouldn't be in the selection, so I'm going to go to the Options Bar and click on the Subtract from Selection icon, and then with a very small brush tip, I'll come in and go over this part to subtract it from my selection. The selection looks pretty good with the marching ants. Let's see how it looks in the Refine Edge dialog box. I can open that dialog box either by clicking this Refine Edge button in the Options Bar for the Quick Selection tool, or for the other selection tools I can go to the Select menu and choose Refine Edge and that opens this dialog box.
The first thing I'm going to do is turn off Preview so that I can see how my selection looks without any of the changes that we have here. I'll uncheck Preview and next I'm going to choose an option for how I'm going to view the Selection Edge. With the first of these icons highlighted, I just see the regular standard marching ants. If I click the next icon here, instead of marching ants I see a red mask defining the edge of the selection. The red mask can be a little bit hard to see, particularly whereas here, the selected area is pink.
But it is showing me, if I look closely, that my selection isn't perfect down here. I'm going to preview the selection in a different way, clicking the next icon to see how this election edge looks against a black background. If my plan was to darken the area around this selected door then this would definitely be the best way to view this selection. In any case, it is showing me something I haven't seen before which is, that I've included in my selection this gray area that is not part of the pink door. So that's something I'm going to want to fix.
Before I do that I'm going to check these other views. I'll preview this selection against white, which would be the best choice if I was eventually going to surround this door with a lighter area, and here I really can see that my selection is not smooth. It's pretty jaggedy over here as well as up here, and that's because the Quick Selection tool doesn't automatically do something called anti-aliasing, which is a way of smoothing an edge. And I also see some of the gray part of the door showing down here.
And finally I can view the selected area as a mask, just like the layer mask that I showed you earlier in this course, and here again I can see that the edge of the selection is not smooth. I'll stick with this view for a moment and I'm going to go up and check Preview. Now I'm seeing a view of my selection with these default changes, with the Smooth slider dragged over to the right to 3 and the Feather slider to 1, and things look a lot better. I don't see those jaggedy edges. Let's see what happens if I drag the Smooth slider even further to the right.
The edge gets even smoother. It sometimes does help to have a little feathering. Feathering actually blurs the edge of a selection. You don't want to go too far with feathering though or you will see the blur, when you're done working, so I'm going to leave that at 1. So things look a lot better in the Mask Preview. I'm going to cycle through the views again and a quick way to do that is to press the F key on my keyboard. So here I can see the standard marching ants, things look pretty good here with the red mask and not bad here against the black background, except you can see down here that I've still included a gray part of the door in my selection.
I'll press F one more time to see the white view, and then I'm going to hold the Shift Key and press F to go back to the black view. Because what I want to do is eliminate this little gray edge at the bottom of my selection. So I'm going to go to the Contract/ Expand slider for that, and I'll drag it to the left until I've eliminated that little border of gray from my selection. Things look a lot better now. My selection is smooth and it seems to include just the door and not the gray area around the door.
So at this point I will click OK and that takes me out to the regular standard view of my selection. So that's how to use Refine Edge to make your initial selections even better.
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