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Complex selections

From: Photoshop CS5 New Features Overview

Video: Complex selections

We will now look at the new Refine Edge dialog window because it's become much, much easier to use. What I want to do on this picture is to take out the background. Okay, so I would take my Quick Selection tool and select the girl. Like so, very quickly. Okay, that's why it's called the Selection tool, the Quick Selection tool, I mean. There we go. And set select some more and here, some of the hair, okay perfect.

Complex selections

We will now look at the new Refine Edge dialog window because it's become much, much easier to use. What I want to do on this picture is to take out the background. Okay, so I would take my Quick Selection tool and select the girl. Like so, very quickly. Okay, that's why it's called the Selection tool, the Quick Selection tool, I mean. There we go. And set select some more and here, some of the hair, okay perfect.

Let's add some hair here. And by pressing down the Alt or Option key, I can delete some parts and letting it go, I can add some parts again. Okay, so let's do the selection here. Perfect. And that's a pretty good selection. Only that we need to refine the edge of that selection. So, let's press on Refine Edge and open that new window. Now, we have several possibilities here. We can view the image on an overlay, on black like it was before, on white, on a transparent layer or reveal the original layer.

So, let's keep it on white for a second because I want to take out the black background. Let's go back to the Refin Edge window and you will notice that we have a new section here called Edge Detection, and we're going to turn it on. Smart Radius. And we're going to pump it up all the way to something like 30 for this image. Like this. And you will immediately see that the selection has already become better. But we still have some black parts in the hair here. So, we're going to be using the Refine Radius tool, and start painting on the hair.

I'm going to resize the brush for a second, pressing down Ctrl Option. And scrubbing around my mouse. And start painting over the hair. And as you can see, I can very, very easily remove the black from the hair, simply by painting on it. Okay let's go down here as well and go around here and maybe with a bigger brush, I can take more of the edges off. Let's say, something like that. Okay, perfect.

And take the black out here. Wow. That is really quick. And like so, and we already have a pretty good idea of how that image will be. Now, the other tool that we have here is erase refinement tool. And this, I will use on the edges here to make the edges harder. So, I will simply go over the hard edges and make sure that those remain hard. Okay, something like that.

Perfect. Now, we can adjust the edge some more, we can smoothen it to make it a little bit less hard on the hair here. We can even feather it, if we want to, if we need to, and augment the contrast of the selection, we'll just leave that down. And we can also shift the edge in and out. So, if I pull it towards the left, you see that the selection actually goes into the image. If I pull it to the right, it will go out of the selection. So, that's also a very good way to make sure that we're not getting any of that color contamination from outside.

What we also have here is the possibility to decontaminate color. So, when we click on this, you will see that we can change the amount of this contamination. So, this is very useful if we have, maybe a green background or a blue background, but also maybe here in the black background. Let's augment that a little bit, like so. And you see that I can remove some of the black color contamination from the side of the edge here. And then, I can also decide to output this to a new layer with a Layer Mask to a New Document, to a New Document with Layer Mask.

What we're going to do here is to simply put that on a New Layer with a Layer Mask. And I can also choose to remember those settings. Let's say OK, and if we now go into my Layers panel, let's open the Layers panel for a second. Here we go. We see that now we have a new layer with the Layer Mask. I'm going to pull it up and turn on a different background. And you can see that the selection here works perfectly well. Let's try it on another background. Wow.

Okay, that was super easy. This is something that used to take a very, very long time to select hair, to select things that feather out, okay. So, you will say, yeah, Rufus, this was a pretty easy picture because you had a black background on it or a uniform background. So, let's try it on a more complicated picture, such as this one, for example, where the background actually changes. And again, I will be using my Quick Selection tool here. Let's make it slightly bigger, and select the girl out very quickly. Okay, something like that.

Let's take the hair and the side of the coat, here we go. And then, by pressing down the Alt key, I will remove some of the selection on the sides here because that's something I don't want in my selection. Let's resize the brush very quickly. Like this and again, with the Alt or Option key, I can remove some of those colors. I will also remove the colors here, okay. And that's a pretty good starting selection.

Now, I will, of course, go into Refine Edge. And again, I have the possibility to see that image on different types of backgrounds, but let's look at it on the white background for now. Again, I will turn on Edge Detection, pump it up. Again, to something like 30. And we can immediately see how the hair already works much much better. But you can also see how the hard selections here sort of smoothened out. So, that's a good example to show that we can actually erase the refinements. So, let's go back in here with the Eraser tool and erase the refinements here on the edges and make these edges hard again, like so. Okay, well, maybe here, I would leave it.

This is like fur. And then, we go back and use some more of the Refine Radius tool, a smaller brush and start working in the hair here. Okay, let's add some here, and here. And maybe here, a little bit. Okay. And then, we can also adjust the edge. We can smoothen it, to make it slightly smoother here on the edges. We can feather it if we need to. In this case, it's a good idea because we have such a complicated background. We can pump up the contrast to get a little bit more of the hair shape. And then, again, shift the edge out or in.

Okay. In this case, maybe I want a little bit more of the hair. So, I'm going to shift it out just a little bit. And again, we can decontaminate the colors. Let's see what this does on this image, okay? Very little, but we can still see that something is happening up here. And again, I will choose to make a new layer with Layer Mask. Let's say OK to that. And with this very simple operation, just by using the Quick Selection tool and the Refine Edge, I was able to take this girl out of the background and position her on a new background with all the hair and everything.

Now, remember that this image here was rather, complex. This was the original image with a background that's not uniform. And let's look at the final result again, like this, okay? That's pretty convincing. Let's look at the first image we did. Again, this is an incredible tool to take out hair, to take out objects out of the background. And this is something that in the past was very, very, very difficult to do.

It was a very long process. So, with good selections, a little bit of patience, you will be able now to do this very, very quickly.

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This video is part of

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Photoshop CS5 New Features Overview

13 video lessons · 698 viewers

Rufus Deuchler
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