Making Complex Edges with Refine Mask


Composite Photography Basics


Lesson Info

Making Complex Edges with Refine Mask

So, when it comes to, let's say, using features like refining areas of this mask. Let's say we talk about the hair. If I go into my mask here, you'll notice that the hair itself is kinda pixelated. Right, we could do a little bit better. And this is where the Refine Edge functionality comes in. The Refine Edge functionality does exactly what it says, it refines the edge. So if it's not perfect, you can tell Photoshop then to make this mask a little bit better. So the way this works, is if you have 2017, this is specific to 2017 or if you have previous versions I think it's before 2015, if I'm not mistaken, you'll have what is known as the Refine Edge feature or Refine Mask feature. They swapped out Refine Edge for Select and Mask, I don't like it, I'll be completely honest. The Select and Mask feature was supposed to be an upgrade to Refine Edge but doesn't work very accurately in my opinion. And so they brought it back, Photoshop brought it back but they hid it, so it's like we know y...

ou want it but we're going to make you find it. (Pratik and audience laughing) Thanks, okay. So I'm gonna go into Select, and you see where it says Select and Mask, by default, it doesn't load Refine Edge, this is what Select and Mask is, so what happens is, I simply would highlight over it and it tries to select the best edges and whatnot. A lot of times it just freaks out and it's not as reliable, so by default, I try to just not use it. However, the magic happens when you hold shift (laughs) and you say Select and Mask, you get another option. Easter egg hidden option, which is the Refine Mask tool. So you get two tools in one effect, it's a different engine apparently, I don't know how it works, I don't code the thing. It's just a different thing all together. I think it's more intuitive in the respect of how it works. So I'm gonna hit on Smart Radius, and again I may be completely wrong, maybe Select and Mask is amazing, I'm just really bad at it, I don't know. But I'm gonna hit Smart Radius, and what it does is it intelligently tries to figure out what the best harmony of the edge that we're working with. By default I'll set a radius of 0.5 pixels, okay, that's it, the rest of this is just adjusting the edge of the mask itself, we're not gonna do that, okay? Now, with this icon selected, which it automatically is selected, I am simply gonna be brushing over this area and what happens, is being that it was pixelated before, it selects a really fine variation of all those hairs. So this also works with like features. See like this area's really scraggly, but this area is much cleaner in the way that the tips are formed. So let's say that I run it across everything, and it even fills out the little fine hairs here in the edge as well so it blends seamlessly, and I'll do the same up here, and anything else that I wanna do, right? And so what happens, is that when I hit OK, it automatically refines the edge of the mask, so that not only does it select the hair, but it selects it really finely and it encompasses for variations like that. This will not work completely in complex backgrounds. If it's something where you're shooting like brown hair versus like bouquet background or something, sometimes it doesn't do a great job so you gotta really be realistic here, what are you trying to do, okay? So those are a couple options to do that as well. So the dark hair works increasingly well, which is great. And I think for all intents and purposes, using these two techniques will get most of what you're trying to do when it comes to compositing with the basics. Now even though this is a basic class, compositing is pretty hard in the sense where it does take knowledge of what brush sizes to use, what Refine Edge does, Selective Color does, and so forth.

Class Description

Compositing is a part of the process that allows people to tell a story and accomplish their vision. It can be quite tricky, but with this tutorial, Pratik Naik shows you the basic tools and techniques needed to create advanced results. You’ll be able to extract people or objects from backdrops and place them into anything you can imagine.