Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Fine-tuning a selection with the Refine Selection Brush tool, part of Photoshop Elements 14 Essential Training.
- When you want to select a soft-edged object, like the fur on this puppy, or human hair, then you'll appreciate the improvements that have been made to the Refine Selection brush tool, in Elements 14, in the Expert Edit workspace. What I want to do is select this puppy, including these little shadows here, and the soft edges of his fur, and replace his white studio background with this more interesting outdoor background. So, I'll click on the puppy in the photo bin, and then I'll go to the toolbar, and I'm going to start with the Quick Selection Tool, which is able to do some edge detection, but won't be able to capture all those little fuzzy edges around the puppy's fur.
With the Quick Selection Tool, I'll make sure that auto-enhance is checked, to get the best selection possible. I'll make sure that my brush tip is small, and then I'm just going to click and drag, include that little bit of shadow, and as I go, it's doing a pretty good job of selecting the inside of the puppy, but it isn't getting all of the little pieces of his fur. That's okay, because now I'm going to use the new and improved Refine Selection Brush Tool. I'll click that tool in the options bar for the quick selection tool, and in this view, the non-selected area is covered in a red translucent overlay.
I usually work in this view, because if you look closely, you can see where the hairs are around his head, that haven't been included in the selection, so I know what I still need to include. But there are other views that you may choose to work in instead, if you go to the View menu, you can view the selected area against black, or against white. And the best choice depends on the background that you plan to put the selected object on. By the way, when I go to On Black, you really can see that the edges aren't very well selected yet.
But we'll fix that. So I'm going to work in the Overlay mode, and by the way, if you happen to be selecting something against red, you may want to change the color of the Overlay mode, which you can do by clicking this color icon. I'll also take a look at the Selection Edge slider. I'm going to leave this set to its default of Soft, because I am trying to select a soft edge on this puppy. But you have the option to move it toward Hard as well, if you're trying to select a smoother edge. So, now I'll make sure that this option remains set to its default of Push Selection.
Now, this is called Push because this tool can be used in one of two ways. It can be used to push and pull the boundaries of the selection, if you wanted to push the selection in toward the dog, you would hover outside of the selected area in the red translucent overlay. The tool then displays a minus symbol, and if I were to click and drag toward the puppy, that would move the selection edge inward at that point. Or, you could do the opposite. Move the brush tip on top of the selected area, the puppy, and then push out to expand the selection edge in this area.
But I don't want to do either. Instead, I'm going to move my cursor right over that edge, and notice that it changes from a minus or plus symbol to this dark circle. And that means that I can now click and drag around these furry edges, and as I do, I'm just identifying those edges, and telling Elements that I would like it to decide whether or not those should be included in the selection. And as soon as I release my mouse, you can see that Elements has done just that. It's come out and included these little fringes in the selection.
I might want to make my brush tip a little bit smaller. I'll press the right bracket key a couple times to do that. And I'm going to go back over those areas. And you can do that as much as you want, until you get the results that you want. Now, come over here, and I'll continue around the puppy. Down here. I'll include the little shadow area there. And as I do, I'm letting Elements refine my selection for me. And it's doing a pretty good job here. There's still a little bit of white fringing coming off of that white studio background, but I think that's going to blend in pretty well with the light background against which I plan to put the selected puppy.
So, when you're done selecting, there's no done or save button to click, what you need to do is copy the selection, in other words, copy the area that's not covered by the red translucent overlay. To do that, I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I'll choose Copy. Now, I could paste the selection either into this image, or into another image. Let's switch to another image, which I have open here in the Expert edit workspace. I'll click the tab on the second image, this background, and then I'll go the the Edit menu, and choose Paste.
And of course, you could use the keyboard shortcuts for copy, control C or command C, and paste, control V or command V. And that places the selected puppy in this second image. And if you look closely, you can see that that's a pretty good selection of the wisps of hair around the edges of the puppy. Now, I need to move him into place, because he's sort of up in the air here. So I'll get the Move tool, and I'll drag down, and just to make sure that he fits on the deck and is the right size, with the Move tool still selected, I'm going to click on one of the corner anchor points and drag inward a little bit, to make the puppy a bit smaller.
And then, I'll click the check mark. I'm going to click on the hand tool, and I'll collapse the task bar so you can see the result. So that's how you can make a soft selection of fur, of hair, of soft tree leaves, and other wispy objects, using the new and improved Refine Selection brush tool in Elements 14.
- Importing photos selectively and in bulk
- Cropping photos
- Adjusting lighting and color
- Correcting red-eye and pet-eye quickly
- Resizing photos in Guided Edit
- Merging a panorama
- Building a layered file in Expert Edit
- Making selections in Expert Edit
- Organizing photos by people, places, and events
- Exporting photos
- Sharing photos via email and social media