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Learn how to how to use the refine edge in photoshop to improve the quality of your selection for isolated objects or people.
Tags:How to Use the Refine Edge in Photoshop,photoshop refine edge,Photoshop tutorial,refine edge,refine edge tutorial,yanik chauvin,yaniks photo school
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Hi guys! Yanik here for Yanik’s Photo School. And today we’re going to look at a function especially if you’re a stock photographer, you’re going to really, really enjoy this. This function was introduced in Photoshop CS3. So if you have an older version of Photoshop, CS2 or below, unfortunately this tutorial won’t apply to you. So I’ll save you the trouble right now. But if you have CS3 or you’re planning on purchasing CS3 or CS4 I should say now, and you’re a stock photographer, you’ll see that you might actually purchase it just for this function which is called Refine Edge, especially if you’re shooting objects on isolated background like we’re seeing here, and you want to cut that object out and put it on a different background. Now this refine edge tool will make it so that the stock size will actually prove the image as opposed to rejecting it because of a bad isolation process. So, let’s get right to it.
Now the first thing we need to do is to select our object. Now of course I’ve shown you not too long ago how to do this with color range, we can do it a different way. We can go with the pen tool, the marquee tool, and we can also use the new quick select tool, but I’ll use the magic wand tool. With the tolerance around 30% which is pretty standard, I’ll just click once and see how it does, it got everything. Perfect, all right it didn’t go into the white of the shirt. Here, excellent. Now I’m going to inverse that selection because right now it’s selecting the background, I want it to select the object, so go to select, inverse, and now we have our object selected.
Now if I were in Photoshop CS2 or below, I would just take this drag and drop it onto my new background. Let’s see what it does when I do that. Select our move tool and I’ll open up this photo of planet earth and I’ll drag this image, my selection onto it, all right. And looking at it from afar, you’re saying “Ah it looks pretty good. I think we’re going to submit that to stock site.” But if you zoom in at a 100%, you can do that by double clicking on the magnifying glass, your going to see a couple of things happening here, you’re going to see some jagged edges here. Now I don’t know if you can see that on the internet but let me just zoom in even closer, so you can really see the jagged edges. You can see that? That’s an automatic refusal from the stock sites for that isolation. If you’re doing it just for personal, and you’re not in a hurry, you can do that, and it doesn’t look that bad. But if you want to submit that to sell this image, it will not go through. There are some jagged edges, it’s not so bad on the coat, but when you get into the skin, it’s pretty awful. All right, you can see it right here.
So, how can we improve on that? The refine edge tool in CS3 and above will help you do that. Let me just get rid of that. Now that we have our selection, if click back on the magic wand tool, you have this button here called refine edge. Will click on that, and this dialogue box appears. Now first thing I’m going to show you before I go through all the sliders here are these icons here. Now the first one basically just shows you your selection, like we saw it before, so that’s not really useful. The second one accents like the quick mask tool. So this can help you out to see exactly, is there some pink some where and that shouldn’t be there. So that can help you out.
The next one is the one that I use a lot is the black background. Because I usually shoot on white, so there’s sometimes some reflection from the background onto my subject, and can create a nice halo around it, which you don’t see on the white background, but if you’re bringing it to another colored background, like a black one, or darker background, you’ll see that white halo around it and you want to get rid of that. So I always use the black one. You can have the white one which doesn’t make any sense since we shot on a white background, or you can see the edge here, with a black and white selection; white being your selection, black being your background.
All right, let’s go back to this one which isn’t the one I usually use, and what I’ll do is I’ll, before I do that I want to show it to you at a 100%. So I’ll just zoom in here, get back to my refine edge, all right. And click on the black one. Now it already kept in memory, my last settings, but if we bring it all back to zero, you’ll see the jagged edge right here, so we want to get rid of that. Now let’s go through every single selection. You see that when I hover over each selection. It gives you a description at the bottom and an image to show you exactly what it’s all about. So let’s go through them. The radius is basically to improve the edge where there’s transition so the more radius you put, the softer the corners you wanted your object will be. Now sometimes you want to put some radius, sometimes not. I usually put just a tiny bit of it. The contrast basically will take that edge and bring the whites, the lights whiter, and the darks blacker. So sometimes that can help improve the edge of your image. I usually put a little bit of that too in there.
Now the most important ones are the next three. Smoothness is important, that’s what will remove the jagged edges on your image. So you want to check it out and see; it gives you a live preview of exactly what it’s doing. So that’s what’s really, really cool about this. So you can see that just putting a smoothness of around 6% it’ll really, really do a good job to remove those jagged edges. Now, a feather is when you want a transition between your background and the object, which is not the case here. We really want that object to be completely cut out from the background. We don’t want it to smooth in to it. If I do, do a feather, you’ll see what it does. You’ll see how it creates this halo around it, which is good if you want to blend an object into a background. In our case, we actually want to cut it completely so we won’t put a feather in there.
Now, contract and expand is really cool. Actually I move that all the way back but it should be at zero. Now what does that do? Basically if your edge depending on the taller ends you used when you selected your edge, you’ll still have part of the background in it. So if you do, if you want to contract that by moving your slider down towards the left, and if not, if your selection took too much of the object and you want to bring some of the object back, you’ll go to expand. And you can see that image is getting wider and wider. I don’t know if you can see the details on that but we want to do is get rid of some of that white. If you look at the sleeve here, you can see the white reflecting from the background, and if I contract that a little bit, boom, that white goes away. And there you go, after that all you need to do is click Ok.
And you can see the new refined edge selection, and then just drag it on, like so. And we’re at a 100% already, and you can see the edge of the hand now, there’s no jagged there, looks really, really nice. If we zoom out, we can see, using the move tool, we can play with that. You can see there’s still a bit of white showing there, but we did remove lots of it, we could probably burn this a little bit to get rid of that glow. Unless you think that it’s the light coming from the planet bouncing back. It’s up to you; it’s a question of personal tastes. All right now, and there you go I have a stock image representing the planet and money which goes well with today’s economy, and after tweaking it a little bit more, I’ll be able to submit that to a stock site.
All right, and that’s how we use the refine edge in Photoshop CS3 and above. I hope that helps you out a lot, and you’ll be able to do lots of isolation objects for your stock photography library or for your personal use, this is Yanik Chauvin signing out and see you soon. Bye-bye.