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One of the advantages of using Photoshop CS5 is the new Refine Edge dialog. So, let's go ahead and take a look at how that works. First, I am going to press the W key in order to select the Quick Select tool. Next, I am going to simply click and drag across the image in order to make a pretty good selection of the leaf. Well, up in the Options bar, you'll notice that there is a button titled Refine Edge. Let's go ahead and click on that. Here, what we can see is that we have some options which can help us to improve the selection. I am going to zoom in on the image by pressing Command+Plus on a Mac or Ctrl+Plus on a PC.
Then I'll hold down the Spacebar key and click and drag in order to reposition. Well, in particular you can see that this edge right here is a little bit choppy. The edge is just a little bit too pixelated. It didn't do a very good job with the edge. What I can do is I can use this dialog in order to sweeten this up a little bit. If I go down to my Adjust Edge controls here, I can increase the Smooth amount. As I do that, you can see that it really smoothed things out in regards to the overall edge. I can bring back a little bit of contrast in order to build that up a little bit more.
Again, so I have a nice, strong line there, or I could soften the line just a bit, depending on what I was interested in doing with this image. I could do a few other things too. If I decrease the Edge, what it's going to do is bring that in, or I can increase, which would bring it out. Here, we are going to see more of the background. So, in this case what we want to do is probably just leave it as is. I'll take it back to zero. If ever you want to see your before and after, click on Show Original. Here is the Original, and then there is the after.
Now, the details may be a little bit tricky to see on the screen after this movie has been compressed. So, you have to do this on your own. But really, it can help out by leaps and bounds. I am going to zoom out a little bit, just to make sure that it looks good. Look at my before and after. Before and then after. The after looks so much better. Then the next step that I am going to take is go ahead and Output this to a simple Selection. If I click on the pop-up menu though, you'll notice there are a few other options. I am going to start off simply with Selection and click OK.
Well, now that I have a nice selection of this leaf, I can do so many different things. One thing that I could do would be to copy this content to a new layer. I can do this by way of a shortcut. This is one of the shortcuts that's really worth just learning the shortcut, not the long cut, and here it is. It's Command+J on a Mac, Ctrl+J on a PC. It allows us to jump this content to a new layer. Let's press that. Now, here you can see I have a new layer with this leaf on it. Click on the Eye icon of the Background layer.
There we have the leaf by itself. Now, at this juncture, I can begin to modify the leaf; for example, I could choose Edit and then select Free Transform. Or of course, there is a shortcut key: Command+D. Then I am going to click and drag to reposition this just to change the orientation. Then press Enter or Return. So, we are able to do all of this so quickly, really because of Refine Edge. That Refined Edge dialog is quite powerful because it helps us sweeten up and improve our selection edges.
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