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Refine Edge, Part 2

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • Selecting Hair & Correcting Clean Edge Problems 1:58
    • Selecting Hair
    • Smoothing, Contrast, Expand & Contract
    • Correcting Clean Edge Problems with Edge Detection
  • Shift Edge Demonstration 15:07
    • Making the Selection
    • Shift Edge
  • Lesson Summary 19:16

Transcription: Refine Edge, Part 2

Hi, everyone--Mike Brown with you again, with another lesson in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 from!0000

We've been talking, in the last three lessons, about the most important technique in Photoshop Elements, and that is making accurate, flawless selections.0007

Selections allow you to isolate areas for adjustment that you can't do in an overview or an overall adjustment, to make your images better than just an overall.0017

But, the key with selections are the selection edge and making sure that the corrections blend flawlessly into the remainder of your image.0029

We talked about a very important feature, feather, that allows you to clean up your edge or make it very soft, so that the blends work, and we dealt, in the last lesson, with the Refine Edge dialogue box that lets you dynamically adjust a lot of features to existing selections that you can't do normally.0037

Then, the magical Edge Detection feature that allows you to select fine details: we used an example of a landscape with tree line, and the fine leaves and branches--we were able to select those, and you couldn't do that in a million years another way--and stripped in a background.0058

But, the most frequently photographed subject in the world is people.0077

Hair selection has always been the most difficult thing to do in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.0082

In CS5 and CS6 Photoshop, they came up with the hair Edge Detection feature that you saw with the landscape, and now I'm going to teach you how to do this with people and hair.0090

There are several very important tips in this tutorial that are not found anywhere else.0103

It will be very valuable to you to go back and review this tutorial a couple of times; it will save you a lot of heartache.0110

Let's get started selecting hair on people!0118

We're going to also deal with the Smoothing, Contrast, and Expand and Contract features with a second example.0121

Here is Debby, and what we're going to do is select her hair.0128

Now, tip #1: when you're dealing with people, the question is, make the selection of the person or of the background?0134

Whichever of the two is less busy is what you want to do, because when you use the Refine Edge dialogue box and the Edge Detection feature, it knows what the selection is, and it's going to look for what is different.0144

If you selected her and her hair--we have dark hair here; we have light hair here; we have wispy hair here; we have bright hair here; we have golden hair here.0159

The computer has to deal with all of those different textures in finding what is different.0171

If we select just the background, which happens to be neutral gray, all it has to do is find what is different from neutral gray, and that is really easy.0177

Just like in the last lesson, with the example of the landscape--the sky was just uniform blue, so everything that is not blue works.0186

There is a tip for you.0196

So, let's get started by taking our Quick Selection brush and increasing the brush size a little bit with the right bracket key, and just drag around the gray background, and we have a raw selection.0197

Shift to add pull in the rest; shift to add; and now, let's go back and use our Selection brush as a mask in black and white.0211

We can see that we have some problems: we could either reselect or paint.0224

Let's go ahead and reselect.0229

We'll go back to the selection, go back to the Selection, go back to the Quick Selection tool, make it smaller, Option/Alt, and drag along her clothing shoulder line, and see how easily we can correct that area.0231

Alt/Option to take away; and we have another one; down here, a couple of them; Alt/Option to take away; I'm going very close to the edge, trying not to go over into the gray so that it knows where the edge is.0252

That looks pretty good; go over to the other side; we have another one here--Alt/Option.0269

Let's go the other way right there; Alt/Option right here; and that looks pretty good; another little piece right there.0277

OK, let's go back and look at it as a mask; we can see we need to paint just a hair right in here, so we'll go ahead and do that right now.0287

That pretty much takes care of her clothing.0299

But we see that it's a little jagged; we need to fix that, OK?0303

We come out; we don't worry about the hair at all yet; we're dealing with the body only.0308

Now, let's go into the Refine Edge dialogue box, which, with the Selection brush, doesn't exist; over here, it does (with the Selection brush, just go to the Select menu, pull down to Refine Edge, and there it is).0313

All right, right now, it's showing it as the blue overlay; let's go with black and white--actually, just black on the background--and zoom that thing up.0328

We can see that the edge needs a little smoothing, so let's go ahead with a feather of 1; and that softened it, you can see that.0340

Let's go back to 0; let's bring it up again and go to 1 so you can see it.0348

We have the feather, but we still have, as you can see, little jagged spots in this thing.0356

That is where the smoothing slider comes in.0363

Contrast does the opposite; contrast would make the edge hard again.0366

I have never used that one, but if you have an overly soft edge, you can harden it down.0372

In this case, we'll apply a little smoothing.0378

Look what happened--look at that!--let's take it back and watch: there it is, a little jagged; and we take the smoothing on (watch that edge), and it just smoothes it out--it's just really nice.0380

Now, here is big tip #2--a very important tip here: if we leave that smoothing on, and now move to the Edge Detection, when we finish the Edge Detection (detecting the hair), the smoothing is going to apply to the entire selection!0393

So, it's going to smooth out and blur the hair.0410

What we're going to do is: we're going to go ahead and click OK, because we now have the body just the way we want it.0413

It's out; it's a selection; now we can go back again to the Refine Edge dialogue box.0419

Notice that smoothing, feather, and all of that are at 0; we don't want to apply any of those while we're working on the hair.0425

That is a key thing: nothing else here--just the Edge Detection.0432

So now, let's view it on the overlay, and let's click the Smart Radius and up the edge to about 8, maybe 10, and show the radius.0438

Now, this is a vital tip #2: notice, the radius is applying to the edge of her body, as well as the hair; if I take the Refine Radius tool and paint to select the hair, every time it calculates, it's going to look; everywhere there is a radius, it calculates, and it's going to degrade the edge of the clothing.0451

This is a tip that no one tells you; I discovered this myself, just by accident.0478

What I want to do is: I'm going to use the other tool, which is an Erase Refinements tool (get that thing to show you).0482

Erase Refinements restores the original edge.0493

Increase the brush size and paint away anywhere we have a radius that we don't want to have the computer deal with.0496

We'll just paint it away completely.0509

Now, that is protecting that nice, clean edge that we already made from any effects of the selection of the hair--a really important tip.0513

Now, we only have the radius on the hair; let's get rid of it, and let's now go ahead and take our refinement brush; increase it, and let's paint hair!0527

There is the magic of this incredible tool.0542

Every time I do it, it is remarkable.0547

It got the hair; over here, we'll get the rest of this hair; and remember, every time that I do this, it recalculates--so, if we had that radius on the body, it's going to continue to kind of degrade that edge, and it will become very choppy.0550

But notice, there is no radius over there, so the only thing it can work on is where there is radius--and there we have the hair.0567

Now, we're going to go ahead and output this as a selection.0574

I want to go...first, I want to save it (I think I have another one...I have that in here): Debby First; OK.0582

Now, we're going to go and look at our Selection brush as a mask in black.0595

I now want to show you the next big tip: as we go up here, notice, along the edges of our selection--you see what appears to be hair; that is where the computer thought that this was background, not hair.0601

It went in there and saw the light stuff; so we need to paint that away--otherwise, if we're stripping this into a background, something will show.0618

We want to take that all the way out to the edge, and if we have problems determining exactly where our edge is, we are in the Selection brush; so that is all hair, so that needs to be painted.0627

Take a look at this right here; that is hair, so that needs to be painted, just to make sure that it doesn't bleed into the actual body.0644

Take a look down here; that is pretty good; we'll come back up the edge.0657

This is not an instantaneous magic process when you use the Edge Detection; that is why you come back out and redo this.0661

Now, we need to do a lot right here.0671

OK, we'll go back into the mask, and we'll paint that.0676

I also want to do a little more (well, we'll actually do this when we do the composite): this is all, I know, part of her head.0683

We'll double-check it: there it goes, all the way out to there, so all the way out to there is actually part of her head.0694

So you see, this does take a little work, but you notice that the hair has been selected perfectly.0706

We're just fixing up the mask.0712

OK, go down here a little bit more; zoom it out one time; this does take a little while, but these tips that I'm giving you right now, you won't get anywhere else.0717

Back to a selection; save that selection as Debby Final; we're good.0731

Now, what I want to do is: I want to actually strip in a background, so I want to show you how this works.0741

We have the selection; we're going to make a layer mask, which is a saved selection attached to a layer, if you remember.0747

Layer, Mask, Reveal Selection: it takes the selection and turns it into this thumbnail mask (notice, black and white).0755

The way you view it: you see the blue frame around the actual layer; if I click on the mask, it makes the mask active; that is whether the layer or the mask is.0765

Option on a Mac/Alt on a PC, click, and there you see it again.0776

Now, you can see that the mask looks just fine.0781

Option/Alt, click again; we're good; let's load this selection; we do that--Command on a Mac/Control on a PC, click the thumbnail layer mask.0785

We'll go over to the sky; we'll just take the Marquee, take an area of the sky, Command/Control+C; back to Debby; Edit, Paste into Selection; and there, you see that the sky is in.0798

Let's look at the edging; the hair looks pretty good in almost all of the areas, except right up here.0815

What we want to do, now, is go into the mask, Option/Alt, click, and take a paintbrush at maybe 30% opacity (make sure that the thing is a hardness of 0; soft).0824

Let's actually go with 20%, and just gently paint in a little bit across that open hair area, to see if we can correct that.0842

Open, Option/Alt, click: see, it's helping now; just a little bit more right in that area; Option/Alt; there we go, and it looks kind of like a cloud behind there.0852

Now you have it with the completed mask, which had been worked on with the Selection brush as a mask, after we came out of the Refine Edge.0865

I want you to review this lesson a couple of times; I'm not going to go through a summary of all the steps, but you notice there were some tips in there that were very vital, to make sure that the body edge stays clean and the hair works right and you fill in any missed areas.0880

There you have how to select hair with the Refine Edge dialogue box.0896

One more thing I want to show you, which will apply to layers and composites, which are coming up in the next lessons: we're going to take a look at this flower.0900

What I want to do here is select the flower: we'll use our Quick Selection tool again, make the brush size a little larger, and just follow around the edge--pretty easy, because we have a clearly-defined difference in color.0911

It's a little bit fuzzy down here; we zoom up; I missed inside here.0926

We go to that edge outside; trim the brush down a little; Option/Alt, and follow along the edge from the outside to remove the overrun.0935

Pretty close; now, we want to add this little corner of flower here, and we have it.0946

We have our selection of the flower.0953

So, let's go ahead and look at that, now, in Refine Edge.0956

We're going to see that we have it already, with the overlay view, and it's hard to see, because it looks really clean.0963

We want to put in 1 pixel of feather; we're good with that.0971

Now, we're ready, ostensibly, to copy this into another image.0977

I'm going to show you the first little thing about compositing.0982

We're going to do Command/Control+C to copy; we're going to go to an untitled image; Command/Control+N; let's make it 2000x2000 pixels; click OK; Command/Control+V to paste.0986

Look at the edge of the flower--see the little dark halo around the edge?1002

That is because the very edges were soft on the flower, and you are looking at some of the background bleeding through.1009

That didn't really work; so, here is where Refine Edge comes in again.1017

Go back to the flower; go back to the Refine Edge dialogue box; the final slider that we haven't dealt with is the Shift Edge.1022

It allows you to expand the entire selection outward or inward, and right now, we're picking up some of the background, so watch what happens when I shrink the selection.1034

It should be visibly showing it; it's hard to see.1049

Let's go ahead and do a feather again of 1, and we're going to shrink it.1054

Notice, you can see where the blue pulled in; let me go outward: notice, there is the little dark edge of contamination; we come backwards, and you can now see that the selection edge is inside of the flower.1059

You can see that through the little overlay.1077

So now, we click OK; we have a soft-edge, 1-pixel-feather selection, and it's inside the flower.1079

Command/Control+C; now, Command/Control+V to paste; and bring it up, and now take a look at the edge of the flower--see how perfectly smooth and clean that is--no evidence here that that was cut out and pasted in, so you don't get that Photoshop feel.1087

That shows you (let's just load the selection, and go back in again) now how the Shift Edge dialogue box works.1112

The Decontaminate Colors: if you have wispy hair against some obtuse background that you are stripping the thing into, and you will get a bleed, because the wispy hairs have some coloration from the original background; what you would do is click the Decontaminate Colors, and that will pull from the selected area and try to fix the wispy edges up.1122

Try it a couple of times and see how it works.1149

There we go; let's go back to that, and you have now looked at, in detail, how to select hair--and, more importantly, how to correct clean-edge problems.1152

Please look at this tutorial a couple of times; you want to understand how to remove the radius, how to get the edge clean, how to paint in any overruns from the selection--three or four things in there that are very vital.1171

You also saw how Smoothing, Contrast, and Expand and Contract especially, help you when you are making composites.1185

We will utilize this in further lessons.1193

In the next lesson, we're going to come back and start dealing with layers, adjustment layers, and making composites.1195

I'll see you back in the next lesson!1202