Join Bryan O'Neil Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Refining selections, part of Photoshop Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials.
- Okay. So we just learned about various selection tools and how to use them best. I wanna take that a step further and talk about what's probably the biggest problem, which is selecting hair. Let's take this picture of my little boy and cat, and we're gonna select it. We're then going to refine it, because again, all selections, especially the difficult ones, are a combination of making a selection and then refining it. We're gonna use the Quick Select Tool here. This, I think a lot of people dismiss this tool, but it's really, really powerful. Couple things to know. You wanna pick the right brush size.
If I hold the control and option key and click, dragging left and right, or the control alt key, left and right, I'm gonna get this dynamic brush. I go left to right while holding those keys down, I'm gonna see the size. If I go up and down, I'm gonna see the hardness. I'd go for a mid-grade hardness, somewhere towards the middle, and a brush that's on the smaller side so you have some control. Now I'm gonna just start applying this, and you're gonna think that I do it wrong, because at some point what's gonna happen here is, I've selected the entire image.
I think a lot of people give up on the tool there. What I encourage you to do ... Maybe I want a slightly smaller brush ... Is now, you see how it shows a plus by default. I'm gonna hold the option or alt key, and that's gonna turn that into a minus. I'm gonna start telling the image the areas that I don't want. This is really crucial because Quick Select, unlike any of the other tools, is learning about my selection as I go. It starts to look way better. I can come in and I can shift click to add areas to the image.
One of the things that's really, really important here is to not measure the fidelity on what you see on screen here. I think a lot of folks would now zoom in and do hair by hair and work on this a lot. That's really not the approach you wanna take. You wanna get pretty far along with Quick Select, so that there's nothing too egregious, and then you wanna come in to Refine Edge. That's available up here as a button with any selection made. It's also available within the Select menu with any selection made. This is a really, really powerful dialog.
There's a lot of different ways to preview things. I'm going to preview things black and white. It's just really simple and straightforward. One of the reasons I like doing that is, we're gonna use that same shift click, option click, mode to get to what we want. I'm gonna go with a Smart Radius, which is just sort of sniffing around the edge. We're gonna give it a pretty large radius. What you'll see is, we're gonna pull out individual strands of hair there. This is where we really start to get somewhere. The next thing that I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna take my brush, and it's just like Quick Select.
You'll notice if I option or alt click, it's gonna turn to a minus. So I can drag along the edge of this and say, "No. Those are not areas that I want in." And, just like Quick Select, not only is it refining that part of the selection, it's refining the whole image. Now, if you recall, there was a whisker that was right here. And if I just drag with plus, that whisker's gonna pop in there. It's learning about the image as I go. I'm getting a really fantastic result. I know that this is a really busy dialog.
You don't need to pay attention to 90 percent of it. You don't need to worry about these Adjust sliders. It's the Smart Radius, the Radius, and interacting directly with the image. Now, if you wanna go further with it, of course there are a lot of things you can do. One quick note I'll give you, if you were shooting product photography, something against a blue, white, green background, a lot of the time, color pixels will leak into the image and this little Decontaminate Colors check box, that'll take care of it. Another thing that's a huge time saver, this Output. You can output to a selection, a mask, a layer, a new document.
You can choose to do all these different things. What's great about this is, you're just saving yourself steps. And speaking of saving steps, again, if you're in a production environment, click on Remember Settings so you can just do the same thing as you come through here again and again and again. What I just showed you, that's the way to do selections with hair. Select it with Quick Select, refine it with Refine Edge, and you can get some incredible, incredible results from that.
This course, from Adobe's own principal product manager of digital imaging, Bryan O'Neil Hughes, is here to help. Bryan details various Photoshop features, many of them relatively new, that can help photographers and designers alike streamline their work.
- Exploring Photoshop's evolution
- Passing non-raw files to Camera Raw
- Video editing in Camera Raw and Photoshop
- Refining selections
- Getting the most from layers
- Using Photoshop's new design-oriented features like Typekit
- Working "smarter" with Smart Object and Filters
- Making powerful and nondestructive image adjustments
- Sharpening and resizing