Refine Edge

Deke's Techniques 609: Bring Back Refine Mask in Photoshop CC

Deke's Techniques 609: Bring Back  Refine Mask in Photoshop CC

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke revisits an old edge-masking project and compares how it would now work in Photoshop CC with the newish Select-and-Mask feature compared to how worked in the old days with the Refine Edge feature. Then he celebrates that the latter is "better" (to his eyes, for this particular project) by taking advantage of the fact that you can still get to good old Refine Edge if you know the secret handshake (provided in our case by rising Photoshop star Jesus Ramirez).

To refresh your memory, the original project, featured in Deke's Techniques Episode 113 involved taking some plain ordinary text...

Some basic text about to grow into leafy letters

...and using it as a mask to let some foliage grow into the letter spaces, topiary style.

Some leaves about to become text thanks to a Photoshop mask

Of course the initial mask needs some refinement to sell the effect of the leaves actually coming out of the wood fence:

The first mask could use some subtlety

These days in Photoshop CC, you'd probably evoke that "replacement" for the old Refine Mask command, the Select-and-Mask Taskspace (are they still calling it that?) It takes over your entire screen and yields different results than before (although it steals Refine Edge's keyboard shortcut). 

Here are the results using Select and Mask with the same settings Deke once plugged into Refine Mask:

Select and Mask not quite yeilding the same results as before

And here is what the old Refine Mask feature once accomplished:

Refine edge results are more refined

And if you, like Deke, think you like the old way better for your particular project, well you're in luck. Because Adobe didn't really do away with Refine Edge/Mask so much as hide it behind an inscrutable shortcut-menu combination: If you hold down the Shift key while going through the menu steps to evoke Select and Mask (Select > Select and Mask), up pops this familiar friend:

The Refine Mask dialog box still secretly available in Photoshop CC

So if Select and Mask just isn't doing the trick, check out this old friend and see if that doesn't just work a little better:

Deke's Techniques, making sure the old and new schools live harmoniously and rust -free inside your Photoshop tool chest. Read more » 

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Martini Hour 092, In Which We Refine the Edges from Last Week's Show

This week, appropriately enough, we discuss the Refine Edge feature in Photoshop CS5. Appropriate, because last week we discussed all the ways to select various elements in Photoshop, and now we can refine those edges with the command that is turning out to be Deke's favorite new thing in CS5. Because, once you make the best selection you can (more on that during the show, please don't try to solve crappy selections with Refine Edge), this tool can add that extra level of control that gives you a selection up to Deke's standards. And those standards are pretty darn refined. 

Martini Hour 092: Refine Edge in Photoshop

Here are the salient refinements of this week's show: Read more » 

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Photoshop World 2010 Las Vegas Session Notes

A mere three weeks ago---seriously? has it been that long?---I joined a few dozen of my fellow self-appointed experts for the largest gathering of Photoshop users on the planet: Photoshop World 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. At that event, I presented three all-new sessions on the topics of Photoshop CS5, the pen tool, and Camera Raw 6.

Photoshop World 2010 PDF notes for download

At that event, I distributed more than a thousand black-and-white notes that my illustrious sidekick, Colleen Wheeler, printed out for the attendees. But black-and-white goes only so far. Which is why I include the notes for all three sessions as full-color PDF documents that you can download from this post. The notes are altogether free to members of dekeOnline. Read more » 

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Martini Hour 065, In Which We Talk More Photoshop CS5 With Bryan "Zátopek" Hughes and Some Guy Named Nack

Welcome back to the 'lounge, dekeItarians. Hope you're feeling relaxed and happy. To help you with that, we've brought back some familiar voices this week, those of Adobe's Bryan O'Neil Hughes and John Nack. The last time we had the guys over, we discussed some of the flashy new features in Photoshop CS5 (like Puppet Warp and the infamous Content-Aware Phil). But deciding to upgrade isn't just about wanting the state-of-the-art features. Sometimes, it's those improvements to everyday tools that make your day-to-day work go more smoothly. Oh sure, it's fun to play digital Stretch Armstrong with pictures of your friends with the Puppet Warp. But it's also a downright relief to finally be able to simply drag-and-drop an image into a Photoshop composition. 

Martini Hour 065: The Essential Enhancements to Photoshop CS5

Here are some of those little polishes to the efficiency or usability of an often-used tool that make you wonder how you ever worked happily before this particular upgrade came along. Read more » 

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Next Week: Photoshop CS5 Top 5

This week, you can find gobs of gleefully optimistic videos from Adobe and other folks demonstrating the new features in Photoshop CS5. Members of will find hours of Photoshop CS5 movies from my cohorts Chris Orwig and Jan Kabili (not to mention still more hours of info on other CS5 apps from Mordy Golding, Anne-Marie Concepcion, and James Williamson).

It's all designed to get you hot and bothered about the next version of CS5 in general and Photoshop specifically. But as usual, I see my job as something a little different: To not only show you what new stuff is available, but also give you a sense for whether it's any good.

Which is why next week---beginning Monday, April 19---I'll release a video blog each and every day called Photoshop CS5 Top 5. These are my reflections on the best features in the forthcoming version of Photoshop after several months of using the program on my own images. And while the features are uniformly welcome, many of them work quite differently---and significantly less magically---than the demos so far might imply.

Photoshop CS5 Top 5
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