Skip to main content

Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 24 of 58

Use Refine Edge on Images


Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Lesson 24 of 58

Use Refine Edge on Images


Lesson Info

Use Refine Edge on Images

This time we're gonna be making a really cool composite that I call castle in the cloud, so, this is kinda just a fun, a little bit more fantasy, the last one that we did we put the cat in the basket, and all those things and it was a lot more, realistic, but this one will be a little bit more imaginative. So, we're gonna get started. Right now, I'm here in the organizer, and I'm gonna be combining three images, so I'm gonna use this cloud image, this castle, so I'm holding down the control or command key, to select the three different images, and this sky image right here, and then I'll go ahead and click the editor button, to bring those over to the editor. There it comes. Oh computer, you're being so silly today. Okay, so the first thing we're gonna start with is the cloud we are ultimately going to be dragging everything into this image here, but we'll start with the cloud. And as we did with the kitten and the seashells, we're gonna just use this quick selection brush. I have to s...

ay that for most things, that are not, you know, simple shapes like a rectangular shape or a round circular type shape, when I'm approaching a selection in Elements, I'm gonna start usually, my first tool that I reach for, would be this quick selection tool. And it's just, it's pretty awesome. So we're gonna put it to use, yet again, and I'm gonna select this cloud. Now clouds of course as we know, they are fluffy, so this'll be interesting to see how this tool handles it. I'm gonna hold down the option key to chunk out that little bit, 'cause I think that'll just work more nicely. There we go, so we have our rough selection, now again, if I were to drag this over it would look like, like I cut it up haphazardly with a pair of scissors, and that's not what we want. So before we move on, we're gonna refine the selection, by coming up to the select menu, and choosing refine edge. Just like we did before, we've got this radius slider, so I'm just gonna drag that pretty high this time, and you can see that it looks more like a cloud. So we'll go ahead and click okay, to make that stick, we'll grab our move tool, and I'm just gonna click and drag upwards, into the tab up here this time instead of the photo bin I'll just use the tab, and remember to hold shift, when you drop, so that it doesn't float into space. Now, it brought along some blue background. So I have some options how I can deal with that. I could go back and try to clean up the mask a little bit, one way I guess to do that, would be, I'm gonna undo the refine edge that we did, and let's try it again from the select menu, refine edge, one way to better see, perhaps, would be to switch this and view the cloud and the selection on a white background. This is a case where maybe viewing this as a black and white map is not gonna be the most helpful. So, in this example I might just wanna view it on a white background, and that way I can see how much I have included down there that maybe I don't want to, so maybe that's an opportunity to shift that edge inward, so we can trim that, maybe we wanna get rid of some, some of this color down here, or increase the contrast a little bit. I'd probably try, shifting the edge, maybe we can, there we go, something a little more like this, maybe we try smart radius, no that made it worse. Sorry, keep it off, so maybe we go ahead and do that. Go ahead and click okay, we'll drag this in too, and see, oh yeah that just looks better. Once we have this image, this one that was worse, we could try masking it, it's just gonna involve a little more manual work, so either way, it's fine but we'll go ahead and just trash that. And you'll notice that this time, the image came over with a layer mask applied to it. So now if I decide maybe I wanna edit that a little more, I already have the mask here, so I can just click, onto that mask, grab a brush, open up the settings, make sure that the brush is soft, so a hardness value of zero, I'll make it big, and maybe I just kinda, oops, not with white paint, with black paint, maybe I just paint along that bottom edge, if I just wanna soften it up a little more, or maybe I don't like the way it was shaped or something like that. So you have some options. Maybe that looks, that looks pretty good. I am, a-okay with that. One thing I do wanna do though, in this image, now that we've got this cloud in here, is that I'm looking at this dark side of the cloud and I'm feeling like because of the light in the image, coming from over here, I just feel like maybe this would look better if we flipped it the other direction. So, to do that, I'm going to click on the image, not just the mask but the image, I wanna keep the mask linked, last time we did some transforming of the dog in the photo frame, we unlinked it, but in this case I want the mask to also flip, so we'll include those both. And this is a transformation that I think we can get to from free transform so we'll press command or control T, gonna right click and choose flip layer horizontal, and that's flipped the whole layer, with the mask and everything. So now we can go ahead and commit that. If we decide we want to scale this down a little bit, I'm gonna do command or control T again, and drag inward, I don't remember what I was aiming for with size but maybe something like that, and when I'm happy with it I'll go ahead and hit the check mark. Now we see this funny box coming around here, and I'm wondering if that's really showing up or if that's just a view thing. It is really showing up, well that's Elements just asleep at the wheel, so somehow when it made this mask and we brought it over, it somehow looks like it got out of alignment by just a smidge. And that's funny I've never actually seen it do it quite like this before, but it's a super easy fix, I'll just click over in the layered mask, I'll grab that paintbrush, remember that the black paint, when you've got the mask active over here, the black paint hides that part of the layer. So with black paint and my paintbrush, I'll just paint over that goofy line that was showin' up, and we'll set Photoshop straight. What was that about? Alright, now that's looking good. Okay, the next thing we're gonna add to this image, is a castle, so who doesn't want a castle in a cloud? We'll come over here and grab this castle, now this is quite a bigger beast, so we can select, oops, we can select this, using, instead of maybe our selection brush, we could try that again, we'll see how far we get, maybe it's gonna be perfect, not bad, I'm gonna cut off part of the building, 'cause I just don't care to include like this whole section, so I'm gonna do some cleanup here, I'm gonna make the brush smaller, and keep adding to the selection, we'll get the building over there, we'll get the, what is that called, the spire? I don't know. Sounds good. This is a really fine detail area, so I'm not gonna worry too much about it, we'll try to get some of this, and I'm holding down the option key to subtract the areas that I don't want, it's actually, looking pretty good. I'm just gonna cut those guys off, 'cause they're just too spindly that I don't really, don't really want them, okay, so that's lookin' pretty good. This area here I can see it's picked up some of the sky that I don't want, so again I'm gonna hold down the option key and just paint over that area briefly. And when I let go, it snaps into place. That's working pretty well, uh-oh, we have an area, alarm alarm, we have an area over here where things have gotten out of control, so I'll make my brush little bigger with that right bracket key, that's the, bracket keys are the ones next to the letter P, I'm gonna hold down the Alt key and subtract this. What was Photoshop thinking? Not sure, over there, okay. There we go, I don't care about the water. I can try to take it out, if we hold down the option key and subtract that and see, but I'm not too worried about it 'cause it's just gonna go behind the cloud anyway, so, I'm not worried and conveniently, I'm gonna cut off the building right here, so if only remodeling jobs were really this easy, look at this, I'm just gonna shave that off, vroom. 'Cause I just don't want, I want just kinda the classic castle shape and this is all too much. So, that's pretty good I think, yeah, I think we'll call that good. We'll get our move tool again, and I'm gonna click and drag, into this clouds photo over here, ta-da. And same thing, is we can see where the sun is coming in this castle photo, it's on the other side. And the sun in this image, I mean it's setting, so the angles are not gonna be perfect but I'll live with that, but this is like way wrong, so we need to flip this over as well so I'm gonna press command or control T, bring up that box again, and if I right click while I've got this box active, I can get all kinds of specific transformations, right, so pressing command or control T brings up this transform box and that's what allows you to scale or rotate your image, but it also, if you right click on it, it also gives you the ability to go in here and totally distort things, you can skew things, adjust the perspective, and another thing that you can do which is what we're looking for in this case, is to flip that layer horizontally. So I'm gonna go ahead and click on that, and, commit that, oh but we do need to scale it down too. So, here we go again, free transform, command or control T, and we'll scale it down, something maybe like that, is that a good castle to cloud ratio? I like it, now of course that looks weird, like a castle would never be sitting on top of a cloud like that, it would obviously go behind it. So in the layers channel, I want to make that happen by just taking this castle layer, let's name it by the way, castle, castle layer and this is our cloud layer, and let's drag the castle behind the cloud layer, and now it looks like it belongs there, which is really pretty cool.

Class Description

We all have hundreds of images on our smartphones and cameras that we never do anything with. Adobe Photoshop Elements is the perfect tool for beginners to use for organizing and editing those images. Khara Plicanic will show you the practical ways to use this software by using step-by-step projects you can follow along with at home. You’ll get hands-on practice at making selections and working with layers, doing simple retouching, and adding text to your images.

You’ll also learn: 

• Basic adjustments to color and adding contrast to photos 
• Understanding resolution and image resizing and how to use the crop tool 
• Simple retouching and image compositing

No Photoshop Elements class would be complete without shedding light on file saving and organizing your images for a complete workflow! By the time you’re finished with this class, you’ll be creating beautiful images to share with your family and friends.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Understand How Elements Works
  3. Importing Images
  4. Workspace Basics: Organizer
  5. Workspace Basics: Editor
  6. Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix
  7. Color Adjustments in Quick Fix
  8. Apply Black & White Filters
  9. Sharpen an Image
  10. Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye
  11. Straighten an Image in Quick Fix
  12. Explanation of Photoshop Elements
  13. Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
  14. Guided Edit Overview
  15. Guided Edit: Tilt Shift
  16. Ways to Save Files
  17. Layers & Simple Selections
  18. Combine Images with Layers
  19. How to Use Layer Styles
  20. Make Selections with Layers
  21. Make Selection with Lasso
  22. Compositing with Multiple Images
  23. Refine Edge Selection on Image
  24. Use Refine Edge on Images
  25. Create Gradient in Image
  26. Gradient Map Differences
  27. Options for Saving
  28. Brushes Overview
  29. Creatively Use Brushes
  30. How to Change Brush Settings
  31. Use Shape Tool with Brushes
  32. Work with Multiple Shape Layers
  33. Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool
  34. How to Load Brushes into Elements
  35. Add Layer Style to Image
  36. Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template
  37. Retouching Overview
  38. How to Use Content-Aware Fill
  39. How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool
  40. Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes
  41. Remove Frown Lines with Retouching
  42. How to Remove Tattoos
  43. Remove a Gap in Teeth
  44. How to Whiten Teeth
  45. Adjust Facial Features
  46. Working with Type Overview
  47. Match Type for Image
  48. How to Manipulate Type Layers
  49. Create Postcard with Type
  50. Add Type on a Path
  51. Organizing Images in Elements
  52. Add Keywords to Images
  53. Smart Tags Overview
  54. Using Albums in Elements
  55. Places Workspace Overview
  56. Use Event Tags on Images
  57. Timeline for Image Organization
  58. Recommended Workflow


a Creativelive Student

Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.


I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!

Ven S

Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.