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.)