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7.5 Select and Mask

The relatively new Photoshop select and mask feature is by far the best way to fix poor selections and will enable you to make clear masks. You will learn how to tidy up selections made with the Quick Selection Tool, starting with simple masks and then working through to harder masks, such as those used for out-of-focus hair. By the end, you'll understand exactly how to select hair in Photoshop.

7.5 Select and Mask

Hello, in this tutorial we are going to take some more complicated selections and masks. The most complicated of them all is here, that's a little out of focus in the background here, okay. And using the power of Photoshop and its amazing Select and Mask feature, hey, we're gonna mask it out against our sunset background, just because using the underwhelmingly named Select and Mask feature. It's amazing. It's gonna do it now. So we've got two files open. We've got 14A, which we've used before, and we're gonna open up this new one called 15. So grab both of those open and let's start with 14A. And we're gonna built on some of the techniques we've already learned. So we are going to use our quick selection tool. We're going to use a brush size of, it doesn't really matter, again, in this case, cuz it is such a clear division of color in the background. So I'm gonna click, hold, and start dragging around, and we did this in the previous tutorial. So I've got most of it there, it's an okay job. Anything I need to fix up is just these bits in the middle here. Zoom right in, then I pick a smaller brush size. Now it's shortcut time, okay. We're not going through too many in this course, because we are at the beginning kind of level, but there's some really useful shortcuts like, look at your keyboard and you're looking at the P key. And we are using the square brackets that's next to it, okay. So the open and close square brackets, give them a try. It makes your brush bigger and smaller, instead of going up the top here and going, okay, now I need a small brush size and dragging it up and down. It's a nice way to get started. So I'm gonna do something quite small, and I wanna minus from the selection. So I can go to minus here, and just kind of remove that bit there, go to second, minus that bit there. Gonna get it even smaller, and get this bit in there, this bit in there. I'm not gonna spend too long now cuz that was for a different tutorial, I'm gonna tidy that up. I say no, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Zoom out and I've got my selection. And like we did in the previous tutorial, we're gonna add a layer mask cuz that's nondestructive and awesome. And we're gonna have something that has an okay edge. And we looked at doing feather, and feather's eh, doesn't kind of work, what we want to do is maybe tuck it in a little bit. So what we're gonna use is this magic thing here called Select and Mask. If you can't see it, you might be on this thumbnail here, doesn't appear. So I can click on my mask, and then Select and Mask appears in my Properties panel. So click on Select and Mask. They should have called it like super amazing mega masking fixer thing. Because it's got an insignificant name, Select and Mask, but it does some really amazing tricks. So yours might look like, more like this. So we need to do a couple of things. The first thing is along the top here, we need to decide on, and I think it defaults to onion skinning, we can check in against different backgrounds. Now, this will depend on your actual image. Ours is white against black. So if I start masking it against black, okay, so just put a solid black background in there to kind of show me the edge. It doesn't show me it very well. Whereas white, I zoom in a little bit. You can see it's a really easy contrast against the edges here. So decide what works for you on black on white. It might be on the layers, that might be one that works for you as well, if you've got a layer underneath. So where does the magic happen? Magic happens is, there's kinda two ways. If you go to Edge Detection, okay, and after you can just lift this up, and it fixes a lot of things. I'm gonna crank it up a little bit, and I'll show you the preview on and off. It can stress your computer out a little bit. Now also note that we're not looking at high quality preview, you can turn this on, it just stresses your machine out even more, trying to produce these previews. So if the machine is struggling, you can turn that off. I turn mine on, and what we're gonna do is we're look at the original. This one here that says Show Original, click that. So this is what it used to look like, okay, and that's what it looks now. So it's kinda softened that edge nicely. The shortcut for it is P, and I use that quite a bit. So just tap P on your keyboard to turn it on and off, on and off. It's smoothed it out, but it hasn't perfected it. I find the magic potion often is down in here and under output, and this Decontaminate colors. This works really well when there's a huge contrast between the background and the foreground that you're trying to mask out from. And the color kind of leaks around the outside, so if this was against blue, you'd have like a blue kind of halo around the outside and that's often where the problems with selections are. So you can click on Decontaminate colors and magic, okay. Select P on, P off. Now that fixed this particular one really well. What we'll do is we'll open a more complicated example. We'll finish this one off first, but we'll get into a more complicated example. So there are other options, we'll go into global refinements now. This is work for this particular exercise, you might find you've got very similar flowering against the background, but those two tricks didn't work. Don't think radius and decontaminate colors are the only things to do, start playing around with smooth. So let's turn Decontaminate colors off, and then you can see the smoothness kind of tries to kind of smooth out any kind of jagged lines, that you might have got in your selection. Feather does what we did in the earlier example, okay? I don't find that super helpful. Contrast, Shift Edge. Shift Edge is a handy one, okay, just gonna watch this. If I go a little bit this way, you can see it's just tucking it in, so instead of decontaminating the colors, it's just kind of shifting the edge of this radius, minusing it a little bit, okay, so kind of trimming off the edges. Find that is a reasonably useful one too. So if there is a lot of experimentation with this tool, I guess is what I'm trying to get across. When you're finished, and what we gonna do, I'm gonna output to our layer mask. And you can create a new layer from our selection. I'm just gonna adjust the one I've already got and click OK. But what I should have done before I clicked OK, go back to Select the Mask and Decontaminate colors is what did the magic for us. And I'm gonna say, let's make a new layer with this new layer mask so I can see my one versus my new one. So there's the new one, and I turn it off, turn the old one back one, clear the edge, turn that one off, that one on, message. But let's go and look at a more complicated example, some hair, or this will work the same for, say, some grass, or something that's really hard to select. So let's jump over here to the 15. So this one's a lot trickier. Where it's really had to do selections is here, and out of focus here could be the hardest. So I'm gonna show you a reasonably hard thing to do. Is it gonna be absolutely perfect using Select the Mask, no, but it's gonna get you most of the way there, it's pretty, pretty amazing. So what I've done for you, for this particular file is I've got two layers, I got the model on top of a background, we're gonna try and match these two up. What they have to do with our florist, I'm not sure, but I wanted to do here because everyone's gonna ask about it, I know, it always happens in my classes. So with the layer selected, okay, I'm gonna go back to my quick selection tool, pick a size. I'm gonna start with 50 just because, and I'm just gonna click and drag around to try and get most of it. Cool, so if you're playing along, yours is not gonna be, depending on where you selected, it's gonna be slightly different results from where I'm at, but I've got a reasonably, it's pretty cool selection. And what I wanna do is add a layer mask. You're like, mm, not very convincing, Dan. So what we need to do now is click on my mask, go Select and Mask. And at the top here, we've got to decide against what background where you wanna see it. Now, you can see against white, against black is probably better in this case. Remember, before, it was white, so against black is a nicer here. On layers could be quite useful as well, because sometimes you can get a bit carried away with getting the most perfect mask when really, just needs to look good against here. So let's start with on black to make it clear for you. Now, the radius is just not gonna work in this case, I'm gonna zoom in a little bit so you can see kind of, because there's two contrasting areas. This is kind of out of focus here, but the nice strong crisp edge of the skin here. If I left that the radius, it's gonna try and, it's fixing the skin a bit, but it's kind of not doing a great job over here. So radius is not particularly gonna work for me on this case. Now, I can play along with global refinements. The problem is it's doing it globally, and I have these two really different kind of things going on. So I want to use some of these brush tools alongside here, and it's this one here that's gonna do most of our work. It's called the refine edge brush tool. And basically, it's a brush tool to say, Photoshop, have another go. Have another look at this particular area that I'm painting, and see if you can fix it for me, like magic. I'm gonna use a bigger brush size. Now, I'm cheating in using square brackets, okay? And you can use the slider up here to pick a different brush size, but to make it bigger and smaller. Have a look down your keyboard, it's a shortcut. It's one of the really helpful ones when you're doing lots of masking, next to your P key, just to the right of it, are square brackets, the opening and the closing. Just tap them, and see that it'll make your brush bigger and smaller. I find this is a real easy way to work. So what I'm gonna do is make a nice big brush and say Photoshop, please have a look at paint, I'm gonna paint across this, and have another look at this stuff. Give it a second to catch up. And it's gone through and tried to re mask this part, not touching this. I might do this one, I'm gonna grab a smaller brush and say, actually, have a look at this as well. I'm just painting along down here. Wow, it's hard to do. Very steady hand. [LAUGH] You might zoom in and just do a nicer job. So it's kind of fixed, so you can kinda see I can work on different areas, and kind of start using some of these edge detection features but not globally, just particular parts. So I'm just gonna work around and save. That was a bad go have another go. This wasn't great. This wasn't great. This wasn't great. And moving around, give that another go. That's been another go. Now remember, we're doing against black, and it's very unforgiving, so it's a good way to get started but don't get disheartened if you're like, man, this is never gonna look good. It's not perfect around the outsides yet. I'm gonna keep working around. Have another go at that please, that guy, that guy, that guy. I'm going super fast. I should be changing my brush size a little bit more. But let's just have a little look against our background. So let's look at against the layers. So this is kind of a more important kind of think to look across. You can see some of the haze coming through, which is cool, it's not as blobby, but there's a little bit of blue. Now, do you remember from the last thing we did where, if there's color kinda leaking around the sides, I love this one here, under Output, called Decontaminate colors. And it kinda just tries to get rid of that stuff around the outside, and we're looking pretty magic now, right? I'm impressing myself, which I shouldn't cuz I've done this before. But I'm impressed with Photoshop. It's really cool, especially this Select and Mask. And you can see now I can just zoom in, and just work on the parts that I find aren't quite working. So you have to change your brush size. It's gonna go through and have another little look. Let's zoom out. Okay, see how convincing it is? I'm gonna probably have to go through, and have a little look at doing a little bit more with the brush for these kinda bits that are still a little bit blue. But you can see if you tried to do this in Photoshop before, and it used to be impossible, okay, so Select and Mask has really kind of lifted that game for us. For things like here that are out of focus or trees and leaves that are kinda moving. So there is just times where it's just really hard. If you've got somebody with sandy blond hair, moving out of focus against the hay bale. Select and Mask is not gonna be your super awesome selection trick, you need some sort of contrast. So if you're in charge of the photo shoot, make sure that there's some sort of contrast against your model or the product that you're shooting, so that you can use tools like this later on in post. I hope you have fun with it. I love it when it came out, Select and Mask, you are awesome. Thank you, Photoshop. Let's get into the next tutorial, where we start looking at Smart Objects.

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