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Using Refine Edge

From: Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

Video: Using Refine Edge

You may need to soften or harden the edges of a selection depending on the type of adjustment or effect you're planning to apply to the selected area. With this movie I would like to show you how to alter the edges of a selection using the controls available in the Refine Edge dialog box. But currently we have the flower_02.JPG image open. This can be found in our catalog images folder in the exercise files and what I want to do is just make a real quick selection of this flower using the Quick Selection tool. We can go ahead and size the brush using the right bracket key. That's a great way to size the brush on the fly, however, if you want you can always go up here under the Brush settings, click that down facing arrow and then increase the diameter as well.

Using Refine Edge

You may need to soften or harden the edges of a selection depending on the type of adjustment or effect you're planning to apply to the selected area. With this movie I would like to show you how to alter the edges of a selection using the controls available in the Refine Edge dialog box. But currently we have the flower_02.JPG image open. This can be found in our catalog images folder in the exercise files and what I want to do is just make a real quick selection of this flower using the Quick Selection tool. We can go ahead and size the brush using the right bracket key. That's a great way to size the brush on the fly, however, if you want you can always go up here under the Brush settings, click that down facing arrow and then increase the diameter as well.

As now we have a large brush, I'm going ahead and just click inside of the flower, draw over the area that I want to select. I've got most of it selected now. I'm going to go ahead and resize the brush make it smaller and just draw over this area in here, get the parts that I want. Maybe edit outs the ones that I don't by holding down the Option key, that's not looking too bad. It doesn't have to be perfect down here in the bottom because what I'm eventually going to do here is try and apply a Blur effect to the surrounding area, all of the area on the leaves surrounding the flower. So it doesn't have to be perfect down here. Its okay if we have this area in here selected.

So now that I have my selection, what I want to do is change the selection edge using the Refine Edge dialog box. Let's go ahead and do that. We can access that from either the Refine Edge button when we have a selection tool selected over here in the Tools palette. Click that button or you can choose Select > Refine Edge, either one would bring up this dialog box. Now first thing I want to point are your Preview options. Right now we're viewing our marching ants and the first option doesn't change at all. It just shows you the marching ants and what happens to those marching ants of your selection as you adjust with these sliders. Or you can view your selection using a mask.

Now that can sometimes be helpful too; it's not quite as helpful in this instance only because the flower is almost the same color as the mask color, which is red. So it's a little bit difficult here. What I suggest we do is just a kind of flip-flop between these two preview options to see which is better as we're making our adjustments with these sliders. Now these are defaults settings; we have a Smooth setting of 3. As you can tell by the description at the bottom, it says when you hover over Smooth, it says "Smooth removes the jagged edges along a selection edge." So if the type of effect or adjustment you're going to make using this selection requires a smoother edge than what you already have, you can increase this. In this instance I don't necessarily need to do that but if you ever needed to that's how you would do it. You just increase by dragging the sliders to the right and it would smooth out any jagged edges. I can't see it's starting to affect the marching ants in here as I move this to the right.

With the Feather option, it's going to soften the selection edge and the further you drag, the softer it's going to get. Now you're not going to see anything soften inside the photograph it's going to affect the edge but it is going round out the edges as you drag this to the right, see what's happening we're losing more and more detail around those corners. That's sort of giving us an indication of the softening effect that happens when you drag this further and further to the right. Now I actually do want to drag this over and far because I want a pretty soft edge when I apply the Blur effect that I'm going to apply after we're through with these settings in this dialog box. Somewhere around there, nice, loose, soft edge is what we're going to have here.

In the Contract and Expand slider here, we can contract the selection by dragging to the left or expand it out by dragging to the right. I will actually want it to creep in a little bit to the flower itself in order to really, really make this nice soft transition when I apply the effect. All right, something like that. That actually looks pretty good. If I click on the mask here we might be able to see a little bit better what we're doing but again because this is red this is not as useful to us, something to keep in mind. So we will go back to the Preview with the marching ants.

That actually is telling me the information that I need to know for now and I'm going to go with that. So let's say OK we have refined our edge, we have applied a pretty strong feather 104 pixels about and -8% of the contraction. Click OK. The next thing I want to do is inverse the selection, I'm going to choose that from the Select menu, Inverse we now have the surrounding area selected. Sometimes if you want to apply an adjustment or an effect to the surrounding image area, makes more sense to select the object first and then choose it's inverse, that's what we're doing here. Certainly we don't want to select all these leaves. So it makes more sense do it this way.

Now that we have the Inverse of our selection what I'm going to do is hide the marching ants. I know that I have the right area selected, I know that my edge has been refined. I want to hide it. I'm going that by pressing Command+H. That's a great keyboard shortcut to memorize. I still have my selection. I'm just not seeing it. The reason I don't want see it, it's because it gets in the way when I'm previewing the effect that I'm about to apply. Let's go under Filter and choose Blur > Gaussian Blur. Now we have a preview window over here and because we have preview checked we can also see the Blur effect in the image itself, in the background here. It's starting out with the radius of 1 pixel. If we increase this to the right it's going to add a stronger and stronger blur effect.

Did you see what's happening? It's starting to blur the surrounding area around the flower. We can see the effect of that Feather and that Refine Edge around the image as we increase the Blur amount we can see it more and more apparent. That's kind of a nice effect. It's almost a painter like effect I really enjoyed that, think it's kind of neat. All right if you want to make it not quite so apparent, you just want to keep it a little bit more realistic, you might want to go somewhere along these lines and just blur the leaves in the background so that they are blending in a little bit better with the natural blur that you had in the original photograph down here. The things are little bit more balanced now.

So they both are really cool effects but the both can be done by making that selection with the Quick Selection tool and then altering its selection edge then affecting the Inverse. That's an important concept. Let's go ahead and click OK that's looks pretty good to me. All right, so what we learn here is after you make your selection if you want to change the way your edge is going to appear in your image after you apply your adjustment or your effect, you need to make an adjustment in the Refine Edge dialog box. You can soften an edge, you can smoothen an edge, you can also expand it and contract it all using those settings in the Refine Edge dialog box.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training

84 video lessons · 5407 viewers

Ted LoCascio
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 20s
  2. 12m 1s
    1. Understanding Photoshop Elements
      2m 10s
    2. Using the Welcome screen
      2m 33s
    3. Importing photos from a digital camera
      7m 18s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Viewing and selecting images
      2m 1s
    2. Creating and saving a custom workspace
      5m 29s
    3. Rotating images in Bridge
      3m 20s
    4. Renaming images in Bridge
      5m 34s
    5. Adding keywords to images
      7m 38s
    6. Applying ratings to images
      5m 17s
    7. Labeling images
      5m 17s
    8. Searching for images
      6m 38s
    9. Creating Collections
      2m 50s
    10. Sorting images with the Filter panel
      6m 36s
    11. Using image stacks
      7m 2s
    12. Hiding images
      4m 6s
  4. 31m 55s
    1. Opening images from Bridge
      2m 24s
    2. Working with palettes and the Palette Bin
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Project Bin
      6m 44s
    4. Zooming and scrolling
      8m 1s
    5. Fixing mistakes with Undo and Redo
      5m 3s
    6. Saving versions
      4m 50s
  5. 49m 38s
    1. Opening and viewing images in the Quick Fix mode
      6m 8s
    2. Understanding Auto Color and making tonal adjustments
      8m 50s
    3. Using the Lighting sliders
      5m 19s
    4. Using the Color sliders
      7m 1s
    5. Applying Auto Red Eye Fix
      3m 31s
    6. Applying Auto Sharpen
      4m 25s
    7. Using the Guided Edit mode
      6m 19s
    8. Processing multiple files
      8m 5s
  6. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding image resolution
      3m 23s
    2. Resizing images
      6m 59s
  7. 17m 8s
    1. Applying Auto Crop and Auto Straighten
      6m 22s
    2. Using the Straighten and Crop tools
      4m 10s
    3. Changing the canvas size
      6m 36s
  8. 30m 32s
    1. Why make selections?
      6m 3s
    2. Using the Quick Selection tool
      8m 37s
    3. Using Refine Edge
      7m 15s
    4. Saving and loading selections
      8m 37s
  9. 25m 58s
    1. Working with the Layers palette
      9m 45s
    2. Using adjustment layers and masks
      8m 37s
    3. Applying transparency and blend mode adjustments
      7m 36s
  10. 40m 56s
    1. Removing a color cast
      5m 53s
    2. Correcting skin tone
      3m 38s
    3. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      6m 37s
    4. Balancing contrast and color with Levels adjustments
      7m 10s
    5. Correcting dark or light areas with Shadow/Highlight Adjustments
      5m 17s
    6. Improving images with Color Curves adjustments
      5m 55s
    7. Converting color images to black and white
      6m 26s
  11. 54m 14s
    1. Using the Red-Eye Removal tool
      8m 1s
    2. Using the healing tools
      7m 42s
    3. Whitening teeth and eyes
      6m 20s
    4. Cloning to remove contents
      8m 14s
    5. Adjusting perspective and correcting camera distortion
      6m 10s
    6. Using Photomerge Group Shot
      6m 17s
    7. Using Photomerge Faces
      6m 4s
    8. Using Photomerge Panorama
      5m 26s
  12. 16m 1s
    1. Creating a clipping mask
      7m 25s
    2. Creating collages with gradient blending
      8m 36s
  13. 22m 15s
    1. Reducing noise
      8m 7s
    2. Sharpening with Unsharp Mask
      7m 16s
    3. Sharpening with Adjust Sharpness
      6m 52s
  14. 17m 54s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      1m 46s
    2. Opening Camera Raw images from Bridge
      6m 37s
    3. Applying tonal and color adjustments in Camera Raw
      6m 23s
    4. Saving raw images
      3m 8s
  15. 40m 41s
    1. Painting with the Filter Gallery
      8m 7s
    2. Creating a pencil sketch
      7m 40s
    3. Customizing images
      7m 59s
    4. Adding artwork with the Content palette
      9m 39s
    5. Building and saving a multi-page photo creation
      7m 16s
  16. 37m 5s
    1. Creating a slideshow
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a photo book
      9m 1s
    3. Creating a photo collage
      6m 58s
    4. Creating a greeting card
      6m 31s
    5. Creating a web photo gallery
      7m 37s
  17. 31m 6s
    1. Choosing color settings
      7m 1s
    2. Printing to an inkjet printer
      8m 13s
    3. Using Picture Package
      4m 33s
    4. Saving for the web
      5m 55s
    5. Attaching images to emails
      3m 6s
    6. Burning to CDs and DVDs
      2m 18s
  18. 56s
    1. Goodbye
      56s

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