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In order to select a soft-edged object like this dog, we can go ahead and start with a Quick Select tool, but when we go to Refine Edge we are going to need to make some adjustments. So we can select the Quick Select tool in the toolbar, we can tap the W key and I am just going to start by clicking in this head area and then following down the back of the dog, grabbing some of the tail, and then coming back over here to make sure that we have both of his paws and the right-hand side here as well as both of the eyes. Okay, so I have selected a little bit too much down in the foreground, I can either switch to the Subtract from Selection tool or we can just hold down the Option or the Alt key and remove this area here.
I am going to go up a little bit higher there, okay. So if you know that you're going to use Refine Edge and you know that you have a soft-edged object, you want to make sure that you select all of the object and not too much of the background. So for example, in the tail area here I'm not going to worry about that area. I don't want to select it, because if I select it with the Quick Select too much of the background would be selected. Same with the little fringe hair over here on the right-hand side in the stuff on the top of his head.
So at this point, I'll choose select and then Refine Edge. Now Refine Edge has many different views. I can choose to see the area that I have selected against White or Black. I can see a red Rubylith overlay if I want. I could just see Marching Ants. I can look at layers below it if I wanted to, if I was actually going to composite this dog on a different background. In this case I'm not. What I wanted to do in this project as I simply want to make the dog stand out more. If we see here on the Reveal layer, the dog and the background are so similar in color I'd really like to de-saturate the background so that the dog stands out more.
So for now let's go ahead and look at this On White, because I think that's going to be the easiest for us to see, especially after this lesson is compressed. So the first thing that I want to do is I want to show the radius and then I want to increase the radius here in the Edge Detection area. Now let's take a look at what Refine Edge is doing. This area of the dog was completely selected. I am telling the Refine Edge to show me the Radius, the Radius that's 5.8 pixels along the edge of the selection so that Photoshop knows where my transition areas are along the dog.
It's going to look in this radius and it's going to try to decide what is dog and what is background based on colors and tonality. It's taking all of the colors and tonality that I have selected that are inside the dog it's using those to try to distinguish the dog from the background. That's why I mentioned that you didn't want to select too much of the background. If Photoshop thinks that all those colors and tones in the background are really part of the dog it's going to have a much harder time deciding which areas you want and which areas you want to mask.
Now that we understand the concept of what I'm trying to do, I am trying to tell Photoshop what the transitional areas are, I am going to turn on the Smart Radius and that just kind of is another hint to Photoshop that says that there might be some harder-edged areas and some softer-edged areas here, and so it should make its decision based on that. And then we will turn off the Show Radius option, and I'm actually going to zoom in, let's zoom in to 100% and I will use the Spacebar in order to relocate where the dog is sitting here in my screen. Now I have the option to use the Refine Radius tool to kind of override the refine edge that Photoshop is automatically creating.
So if I know for example, that there are hairs that are sticking out that the Refine Edge has cut off, then I can click- and-drag with the Refine Edge tool and tell Photoshop to recalculate those areas. Now it's done a better job getting the hairs outside, kind of the stray hairs of the dog, but it is accidentally gone too far in and we can see that it thinks that there is a hole in the dog right here. So I am going to switch to my Erase Refinements tool and I'm going to paint over this area to tell Photoshop and to tell Refine Edge, no this is absolutely dog, you cannot make a mask, do not cut into the dog that far. And then you can see I've got that whole area back.
Now we can go all the way around the image but what I want to show you is especially down here in the tail area. I am going to switch back to the Refine Radius tool and I am just going to paint over that tail area, where we didn't quite select enough of it, and when I let go you can see how it's now a much softer edge. It also looks like Refine Edge kind of ate up into the tail, like it took away too much of the tail. But don't forget, what we are seeing here is the mask and it's hard for us to see at this area here that's only maybe 5%, 10% or 15% selected.
So when I was first using this tool, this really concerned me. I was afraid that this would not be a good mask, but in fact it is. Let's just go ahead and just trace kind of right around the dog here and I am going to go up a little further to get a few more of those stray hairs. And then remember, if you see any holes where you know there should be solid dog you can either select the Erase Refinements tool or you can hold down the Option or the Alt key, that will toggle the Erase Refinements and the Refine Edge tool and then we can just paint those back in. All right, so I am not going to worry about this area down here, because this area is too much in the shadows.
When I make my change I don't think we are going to be able to tell that that mask isn't quite as accurate. But I just want to make sure we have the paws here, and I think there are a few more hairs here, I might just want to trace over again. All right, oh, it got into the ear, I'll hold down the Option key, say, no, that's definitely dog, do not make a mask there. All right, once we've gone through and refined this I'll click OK. We can't really tell the difference just based on the marching ants, but what we will do is we will go ahead and add our Adjustment layer.
Remember when we add our Adjustment layer Photoshop is going to automatically take this selection, let's zoom out here, it will take this selection of the dog and automatically convert it into a mask. But we started off this project with the idea that we want to de-saturate the background, I don't want to de-saturate the dog. So before I add the mask I can go into the Select menu and I can choose to Inverse my selection so that the dog is not selected but the background is selected. Then using my Adjustments panel I'll come down to my Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, I'll click to add that.
You can see there is no more marching ants because Photoshop has taken that selection and automatically created a mask for me, where the mask is white we will see the adjustment, where the mask is black it's going to hide the adjustment, and I'll just use the Saturation slider to de-saturate that background and make the dog kind of pop, make it separate the dog from the background. I think that's a little bit too de-saturated there, so I'll just leave it maybe around -45 and then click anywhere out here in order to have that panel auto-collapse.
And if we zoom in to 100%, I will use Cmd+ or Ctrl+1, and we look at the mask that was created, look what a great job it is done around the hair, there is still color in this hair but the background is de-saturated. Likewise down the back, we can see in the tail there it looks great and then down here I might have wanted to spend another minute just touching up that mask, but here's the great thing, we can always do this now. If we look at the mask, if I hold down the Option key or the Alt key and click on the mask, we can see that I might want to clean up this little area right here and I might want to clean up this area.
So the area in my image up here is too gray, meaning that the effect is happening or being applied to that area, so I need to paint with the opposite color. I am going to tap the B key, the B key is going to give me my Brush and because my colors are set to their default, I've got white as the foreground color and black as the background color. Now watch what happens when I start painting with white, when I paint with white, remember, where the mask is white we can see that adjustment.
So let's undo that, we will undo the Brush tool. I am going to tap the X key, the X key will exchange my foreground and background colors. It's the same as tapping this double-headed arrow. So now that I'm painting with black I can come down here and just fix that mask right there because where the mask is black I'm not going to be de-saturating the area. Now there was that one other area along here, I can't actually see where that is without viewing the mask. So again, Option+ or Alt+Click on the mask, we can see that this area is black that's the mistake, so I don't want to paint with Black, right? Let's unto that, I want to tap that X key again to exchange my foreground and background color, and now I will paint with white to hide that mistake.
So it's interesting to me that the mask looks a little bit rough here. We could spend hours trying to refine the edge of this mask right here, but honestly, if we click on the image and we can't see any mistakes in the image that's really what counts. If we can't see that it's being saturated or not being saturated, if visually the image looks good, then I don't really care what the mask looks like. Excellent! Let's zoom out. I think you can see that even though this is a really complex selection, I mean this dog has little stray hairs everywhere, but using the quick select and then combining that with the Refine Edge tool can get us an excellent selection.
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