You know, with all this talk of the Quick Mask Mode and alpha channels and masking and perfecting selections and all the rest of it, we can actually take this one step further and I can introduce you to a new dialog box inside Photoshop CS5 called the Refine Edge Dialog Box. Well, you know, actually it isn't new in Photoshop CS5, however it's been completely revamped in this latest version of Photoshop so let me show you how this is going to play out here. Now, as the name would imply with this dialog box, it's going to allow us to refine our selections, refine our masks, even further. So I'm exactly where we left off from the previous exercise. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go and grab any Selection Tool out of the Toolbox. Go ahead and grab any of them there. Doesn't really matter which one and then up on the Options Bar across the top, I'm going to go and click on Refine Edge and that'll bring you into this dialog box here. OK, now, lots to show you here. First of all, I think the best place to start would be in the View Mode right at the top of the dialog box and essentially what I can do here is I can set how I want Photoshop to display the mask, the selection that I'm working on and you know, this drop-down menu here, this reminds me of the drop-down menu that we saw at the bottom of the Color Range Dialog Box way back when so essentially what I could do is I could say just show me marching ants, like the regular photo with the selection there or I could drop this guy down and I could say show me this overlay, this Quick Mask red rubilith overlay or, I mean, any number of other options on black, which I know some people like, on white, which I prefer myself. It's a little bit cleaner, easier to see. But you know, there's two additional options here that are new inside Photoshop CS5 which is Reveal Layer, so it's going to show you the photograph without the marching ants, which is kind of handy or the second guy is On Layers and what that will do is that will show you the selection and any of the layers that appear underneath it. Now, I should have switched over to my Layers Palette. There we go. And as you can see, I don't have any layers underneath my Buddha layer so it's just showing me again that checkerboard, that gray and white checkerboard indicating transparency. So there's nothing beneath this guy, OK? So you might want to leave it on this guy if you want or if we had clouds in the background you would see clouds or whatever else you have, right? So in terms of the preview, it's really up to you, it's entire up to you. I think I'm going to with the On White. Oh, the one that I didn't show you was Black and White, which is our alpha channel, right? You might like that as well. So it's entirely up to you. Then what we can do is we can get to the good stuff in this dialog box and that is the options that we see inside the Adjust Edge Area. So we have Smooth, Feather, Contrast and Shift Edge. So let's have a look at these guys. So what I'll do is I'll start with my Smooth Slider. What I can do is I can come in here and essentially smooth out the edge of my selection as I'm dragging this slider. I'm getting an update inside my image, something like this, right? So once again, you might want to zoom in a little bit on your, on your file here just so you can see really what's happening here, rough looking, something like that maybe. It's all in the eye of the beholder too as well of course. Do you know what feathering is? What that will do is that will give me a soft edge so maybe something more like this, which maybe I want to use for a special effect or something, right, something like that. So whenever you see feathering options, it means soften the edge and of course the higher the feather value, the softer the edge. Well, I don't want very much feathering at all, if any. Maybe I'll have mine all the way down at about one pixel just so it's a little bit soft so it won't be too hard of an edge and then we also have Contrast. You can use your Contrast Slider as well to further refine that edge. If I crank up this Contrast you can see how sharp that edge gets and that looks pretty darn good to me I think and then finally we have Shift Edge, which essentially will shift the edge either inward on our statue. Notice how it's trimming in on the edge of our Buddha statue now? Or we can push it off the edge of our Buddha statue and now we're going to be getting some of the background in there. You can actually see some of the books that are in the background there and so on. So probably myself what I would do is I would, I would tuck it in just a little bit, just so we're making sure we don't get any background at all. Now, that looks like an awesome selection. So all I did here, just as a quick recap, is really you just fiddle with these sliders until it looks decent. So my Smooth is at 33, my Feather is at just one, Contrast I brought up to 64 percent and I shifted my edge about negative seven, negative five, negative seven, something like that. When things are looking good for you here, then what we can do is down in the Output Area we can decide what kind of output we want and to me this is fantastic. The default is Selection so it's just going to create again more marching ants for us or what I can do is set this guy up as a Layer Mask or a New Layer or a New Layer with a Layer Mask, a New Document with a Layer Mask. Now, we haven't talked about Layer Masks yet but we're going to take a look at that next. So I think maybe for now what I'll do is I'll just say new Layer, how's that? And then I'll click on OK. Alright, so what's happened here is I still have my original Buddha in the background. If I turn him on and I can shut off the copy that was just created. This is the new guy here and then I can turn off the background and turn on my new guy, the Background Copy Layer and there is my absolutely, perfectly-selected Buddha statue using the Refine Edge Dialog Box, as well as a combination of a few other things here in Photoshop like the Quick Mask Mode and the alpha channels. But there you go. That's kind of the massive run-through of creating perfect selections, perfect masks in Photoshop.
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