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Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, the second part of the popular and comprehensive series, updated for CS5, follows internationally renowned Photoshop guru Deke McClelland as he dives into the workings of Photoshop. He explores such digital-age wonders as the Levels and Curves commands, edge-detection filters, advanced compositing techniques, vector-based text, the Liquify filter, and Camera Raw. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details, smoothing over wrinkles and imperfections, and enhancing colors without harming the original image. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisite: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
In this exercise we're going to take our first detailed look at the contents of the Refine Edge dialog box. And we're going to start things off by reviewing the preview options, because there is a lot of ways to preview your modifications inside of that dialog box, and you want to be aware of them before you even start adjusting settings. So here I am still working inside Masked sunny.psd, and even though I already have a layer mask going and selected here on my sunny layer, I'm going to be able to better demonstrate what's going on if I have a selection outline. So I'm going to press the M key to switch over to my Elliptical Marquee.
And let me just going to draw a big oval selection here around her head, essentially coming down into her hair. I just want to make sure that my selection outline cuts through the middle of her hair. And I use the Spacebar in order to adjust the positioning of that selection as I was creating it. All right, now I'm going to take advantage of my favorite method to access the refine edge command, which is to just go up to the Select menu and choose the command right after Color Range, which in this case is Refine Edge, because I'm working with the selection outline.
We've got the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ Alt+R or Command+Option+R on the Mac. And notice we're now seeing the selected region of the image set against the white background that's the default setting. And what that allows you to do is gauge the accuracy of the edge between the selected region and the deselected region. Now, in my case I haven't made any modifications, and by default all the options are zeroed out inside this dialog box and all the check boxes are turned off. So what I'm going to do is go ahead and increase that Radius function once again to 100 pixels, just so that we're getting some sort of results here.
And you can see how the selection is automatically bleeding into those hairs, and it's not selecting any of the background detail by virtue of the fact that we're seeing white. So we're seeing the modified selection against the white background. And that's a function of this View setting right here, and those we have a handful of options here in the View mode. I'm going to go ahead and click this down pointing arrow head, and notice in addition to On White I also have On Black, which can also help me gauge the accuracy of those edges. And notice that I'm seeing new problematic details emerge here.
I can see that I've got still an awful lot of blue fringing going on along those hair outlines, which are more visible against the Black background, than they are against the White background. And none of this has anything to do with how you'll ultimately composite the image. In other words, you're not going to dump the contents back on White or back on Black. This is strictly here for the sake of previewing. You also have Overlay, which is going to show you that Quick Math Style rubylith Overlay, which for my part I don't find to be very useful.
You also have Marching Ants, which will show you the outline of your Marching Ants selection, if you so desire. And you can see how it's changed dramatically from that original elliptical marquee that I drew. If you want to be able to see the image without the marching ants, you want to be able to hide them for a moment, then you take advantage of that same technique that you would use outside the Refine Edge dialog box. You go up to the View menu and you turn off the Extras command, or you can just press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+ H, Command+H on the Mac and then the selection edges disappear.
To bring the marching ants back, you press Ctrl+H or Command+H again. Also available to us is the mask preview, which you can achieve by clicking on Black & White right there. Now, we can see what the selection would look like when represented as a mask, and I've got to say, isn't this amazing that you can start with an elliptical selection and that radius value can pull off this much work for you? That just goes to show, we can start with the radius selection ever and get somewhere. And if start with a really good selection in the first place, we can get even farther.
Then we have On layers, which would show me what the final selections is going to look like when rendered out against all the other layers inside of this composition. And then finally, we've got Reveal layer, which is going to show the active layer by itself. Now this option in our case isn't really showing us anything, because we're working with the selection outline. However, if we were working with the layer mask then we would go ahead and turn off the layer mask for a moment so that we could see the entire contents of this layer, with the original blue background at all. Notice every one of them has a keyboard shortcut; you just press that key nothing more.
I'm going to go ahead and select On White. And if the pop-up menu stays up onscreen as it does for me, then we've two methods of getting rid of it. One is to press the Enter key on the PC or the Return key on the Mac, which works. However, it's a little dangerous because you might end up invoking the OK button instead and leaving the dialog box. The other way, if you're worried about that happening is to just go ahead and click off of the pop-up menu, and that goes ahead and hides it and accepts the setting as well. Notice we also have the Show Original check box.
This is the opposite of the standard preview check box that you have inside of a standard dialog box in Photoshop that is to say, when it's off, you're seeing a preview; when it's on, you're not seeing the preview. You're seeing the original version of that selection outline; that is subject to your View option. So, for example, if I switch to Black & White I would now see a mask version of that original ellipse. So before is what you see when the check box is on, after is what you see when a check box is off. And then finally, you've got the Show Radius check box right there.
It allows you to see the size of this Radius setting that we've applied right here, so if I turn it on; I'm going to see this big thick 100-pixel Radius value that I've applied around that edge. And that's the area in which the Edge Detection function can basically eek into the hairs and the other fibers details inside of your image. And that's really helpful by the way for gauging the effect of Smart Radius and a few other things. We'll come back to it later. For right now leave it off, and let's go ahead and switch back to On White, because that's going to be the best mode for gauging the changes we're about to make.
However, I have to say we are not going to work within the elliptical selection outline, so I'm going to cancel out for now, then I'm going to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac. Make sure my layer mask is active, and we're now going to begin adjusting a few settings inside the Refine Edge dialog box, beginning in the next exercise.
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