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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
So, the Quick Selection tool is really cool. It's a fast way to select something out of a background. But typically, you don't want to use the Quick Selection tool just by itself. It's really meant to be a starting point. And then what you want to do is move on to refine the edge and make it a higher quality edge. So, let's take a look at what I am talking about. I am going to type a W to get my Quick Selection tool, or I can click the fourth tool from the top there. And again, I am just going to very quickly drag through this guy in the background to select him. We will drag through his hand to add that to the selection, and drag through his arm, and get his shirt as well, and then we will go ahead and add his foot to that selection.
So, just a couple of clicks and drags. I get that selection again with the Quick Selection tool. You will notice though that once I have something selected, I have the Refine Edge button available to me in the Options bar. And if I click that button, this brings up a very handy dialog box, where I can customize the selection I just made. I am going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit on this image. I have a little Zoom tool right in the Refine Edge dialog box that I can choose. So, I can zoom in and really see the edge that I want to modify. I have a Hand tool here as well, so I can click and drag that guy around to get him where I want to see him.
And then the rest of the dialog box is here to refine the edge here. So, you can see, the Quick Selection tool did a very good job actually, but I might just want to fine-tune it a little bit. So, one thing you can do is start adjusting the edge quality. Do you want it to be smoothed out? And you will see it update a little bit and get a little bit softer on the edge. Do you want to feather the edge to make it a little bit softer than what you started out with? Completely up to you how soft or how hard you want that edge to be. I will bring that feather back. I can increase the contrast of the edge, so it's not as transparent along the edge pixels there.
The higher the contrast, the choppier it's going to get, a little crisper. So, I can adjust it that way. Depends on what you are trying to accomplish there. And then the Shift Edge slider lets me choke the selection in from the original edge that Quick Selection found or actually expand it beyond the original selection. So, you have a lot of control to choke or spread the selection there. Kind of cool! Then the really nice thing about the Refine Edge dialog box is this ability to decontaminate the colors of the edge.
So, when you make a selection using either the Magic Wand tool or the Quick Selection tool or even just the basic Lasso or Marquee tools, those are what's called anti-aliased selections. By anti-aliased, it means there is some transparency along the edge of the selection because you want a soft edge that blends with whatever you are going to take this image to. If you didn't have anti-aliased edge, you get the little stair-steppies. You get a very crisp hard edge, which would look really, really bad. The downside of anti-aliased though is that, because the pixels on the edge are partly transparent, they pick up some of the original background color that was in the image when you masked it out.
So, the Decontaminate Colors check box in the Refine Edge dialog box here lets you now actually change the color fringe to remove it and make those pixels semitransparent, without contaminating the color of those pixels from the original background color. The other thing you can do is actually choose what you want done with this selection when you click the OK button. You can just create a new layer. I can create a new layer with a layer mask, or I can create an entirely new document. So, this just protects your original file. You don't necessarily have to damage the original file here.
You can completely take the results of this into a new document. I am going to choose New Layer with Layer Mask. I don't want just the guy jumping by himself. I want the layer mask there, so I have the ability to edit the mask later on if I want to. So, I am going to choose new layer with layer mask. I am going to go ahead and click OK. And you will see that's exactly what I end up with. I get a duplicate layer with the background masked out, based on the mask that I created initially with Quick Select and then refined with Refine Edge. And then the original layer is left there untouched and it cleverly turns off the visibility of that layer for you automatically, so you can see him masked against the transparent background.
Again, to review, that checkerboard just means transparent. We will do Fit to Window, Command+0 or Ctrl+0. You can see what used to take 15 minutes in the old days, now takes 30-60 seconds to quickly mask this guy initially and then refine his edge and end him up on a layer with a layer mask, isolated from the rest of the background.
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