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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
If the best command for creating selections is Color Range, the best command for enhancing them is Refine Edge. Here's the idea; you lay down a base selection outline that needs some work, and then you choose Refine Edge, and make some adjustments. You can smooth off the selection, feather it, expand or contract it, and so forth. And every adjustment previews, so you can keep track of what you're doing in real time. If that was all you could do, Refine Edge would be a decent tool, but it's the command's automatic edge detection that really sets it apart.
Dial in a Radius value, and Photoshop traces a region that thick on both sides of the selection, along the inside, and the outside. Then the program applies a kind of artificial intelligence within that region, and automatically recalculates the edge, sometimes with fantastic results. If you want to address some edges differently than others, then you can brush in the automatic recalculation using this thing called the Refine Radius tool. It really is astounding how well this command works, especially on fine details, such as hair, even if you start with an incredibly rough selection drawn with, say, the Lasso tool.
But it works better if you combine it with a good selection established using Color Range, and it also works with layer masks as you're about to see.
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