Photoshop Top 40, Feature #35: Refine Edge

Over the years, Photoshop has attempted several means for automatically distinguishing one portion of an image (say, a person) from the rest (its background). All have seemed promising at first. And yes, whether it’s due to the allure of the tools or our faith in miracles, I do mean all. Yet as we grow wiser, they grow ever more unacceptable. Classic cases in point: The entirely unmagical magic wand. The sluggish and sloppy quick selection tool. And who can forget the ultimate and absolute disappointment of Extract?

But at least two commands have proven that selection automation is possible. Happily, one of them is today’s Top 40 Feature: Refine Edge.

True to its name, the Refine Edge command is not a selection creation tool, it’s a selection refinement function. Start with a selection—any old selection will do—choose Select > Refine Edge, and you’re on your way. One dialog box lets you modify your selection (or layer mask) according to five different parameters and preview the results in five different ways. Using Mobius Tubes, no less!

Look out for a couple of resplendent photographs from bargain image vendor Fotolia.

(For a list of all Photoshop Top 40 videos thus far, click this link.)

Next entry:I Appear on Bert Monroy’s “Pixel Perfect”

Previous entry:“Photoshop CS4 Smart Objects” Begins


  • I cant view the video, it says its private… :-(

    I cant view the video, it says its private… :-(

  • Sad but true

    I’m getting the same message :(. I guess deke clicked a checkbox by accident.

  • It’ll be fixed soon I’m sure…

    Deke will unprivatise it no doubt.

    In the meantime we shall just have to wait, and chat quietly amongst ourselves…

  • Very Nice

    Thanks for this one Deke! It’s a feature I forget about sometimes, after watching this I don’t think I’ll make that mistake.

  • Should be unprivate by now

    There’s a delay between when post goes up and video goes public.

    We’re working on the delay for future releases. But should be resolved by now on this specific video.

  • Just figured out what makes Deke so good

    I was just watching the advanced Illustrator CS4 series (have also watched the Photoshop series).  I have been watching Deke’s training videos way back to the olden days when he was doing Photoshop 7 for Total Training. 

    I’ve watched many training videos from many different presenters and I just figured out what makes Deke’s video training so much better than most other presenters.  It’s that Deke assumes that the audience is intelligent and explains not only the “hows” but also explains the “whys and wherefores”, ie: if he is explaining a concept, he tells the viewer what is happening behind the scenes, algorithms or exactly why an effect is behaving the way it does.

    I don’t know how many times when watching other presenters that I feel like yelling at the screen to say “but you didn’t explain WHY this feature behaves like this”, you didn’t explain how it can go wrong & what to do about it.  But with Deke, he carefully and patiently explains all these these things, all the while cracking jokes and doing it in such a palatable, pleasant, unintimidating way.  This is why I think Deke is the BEST Presenter of all ... and no I’m not trying to brown nose to gain some favour ... I was watching the videos and it suddenly came to me why I think Deke’s explanations are better than most other presenters.


    Gale grin

  • I totally agree


    Well said. The Dekester rules! My favorite trainer/teacher/explainer extraordinare.

    U.L. (Uncle Lew) approved.

  • I agree

    I actually realized this the other night. Other instructors don’t compare. Deke seems like the type of workaholic who actually loves his job and his life. It rubs off in his presentation. He’s fairly incredible. Plus it’s like a bonus feature seeing his kids grow up through the years and the videos.

    Deke, keep the hows and the whys and wherefores and the random facts and the humorous plays on words coming. You’ll get money, we’ll get a legend. Win-win.

  • Oh fantastic

    I was wondering what was going on with that…Thanks.

  • I can only say this word

    I can only say this word “thank you very much”.

  • Really instructive \“DEKE\”

    Thanks for all instructive tutorials you forward, Your DEKE blogs are crazy helpful. Thanks

  • Ditto

    I came to when I discovered Deke on after watching other presenters.  I learn stuff from them, too, but I totally agree that he gives us the “why” as well as the “how”.  I can figure a lot of stuff out for myself (I dislike the tutorials that just go through menu selections and show you the dialog box - I can do that by myself) but when something doesn’t work like you’re expecting you need to know “WHY”. And besides, Deke is just so much fun!


  • thanks

    Thanks for the video!

  • Video

    I like this video smile

  • Always wanted to learn

    I have always wanted tolearn photoshop but still in learning process…so this is good news to me.

  • \“I’m not sure exactly what

    “I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to express here inside of this image, but…” - I feel this way about so many things I make!

    Your effort is always appreciated. Thanks

  • Great

    Photoshop is still the best.

  • Thanks this info

    Yes is so help for newbie like me

    Stop Dreaming Start Action

    lowongan kerja

  • podcast link broken

    Hello Collen & Deke- I was trying to download these great videos and the link to this one podcast is broken.  All the others were happily downloaded to iTunes.  Thanks -Jeremy

  • You’re saying the iTunes link is busted?

    Tell me which feed you are using and I’ll look into it.

  • YAY!!! iTunes!

    Wot a loverly surprise to come back to!

    Jeremy is right though - all downloaded with the speed of a fabulous, gorgeous, dangerous avalanche. Except one wee scaredy cat that clung to the upload zenith and refused fall carelessly into our loving embrace. No surprise that the fussy fearful one is Refine Edge - control freaks are always the last to let go. }8^]

  • All fixed

    Refine Edge has whooshed it’s way into my home. Well done, Refine Edge! :-D

Share your feedback, work, homages, questions, wisecracks, advice, critiques, riffs, derision (within reason), frustrations, and love of all things graphical. Log in (or register) to lend your voice.