Photoshop tutorial: How to use the new Select and Mask tools in Photoshop 2016

How to use Photoshop's selection and masking tools from the June 2016 update, which makes selections around tricky areas such as hair easier.


'Bad hair day' doesn't quite sum up the frustration of cutting out hair in Photoshop, especially with curly or fly-away hairs. 

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Thankfully, this tutorial shows you how to use the recently revamped select and mask feature, which now has a tool called the Refine Edge Brush to make selections around tricky areas - such as hair - much easier. Read: What's new in Photoshop CC 2016.

In this Photoshop tutorial, Tigz Rice shows you how to access the new Select and Mask workspace, use the Refine Edge Brush tools and others to clean up the edges of your selection and make it seamless. 

See also: How to remove a background in Photoshop. How to use Photoshop's new Match Font tool.

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop. Make a rough selection of the person you want to cut out using the Quick Selection tool. 

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STEP 2

To access the new Select and Mask workspace, click on Select and Mask in the Workspace menu at the top right of Photoshop's interface. Alternatively, you can go to Select > Select and Mask…

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STEP 3

First, you will want to choose your view mode in the Properties panel. From the View dropdown menu, I’ve chosen to use On White. As we already have our primary selection, set the opacity to about 50% so it is easier to see what has been selected.

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STEP 4

If there are any areas of your image not selected that should be, use the Quick Selection tool to paint them in quickly. 

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STEP 5

Let's go ahead and clean up the edges of our selection. Select the Refine Edge Brush and start by clicking on the background red to define the hue you want to mask out, then drag the brush into the hair over any areas of red.

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This will decontaminate the hair, but also include any stray strands of hair that were missing from your original selection. Don’t forget to do the fabric lower down as well.

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STEP 6

At this point, slide your Opacity slider up to 100% so you can view the cut out on its own and view any additional areas that need fixing. 

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STEP 7

Turn on Smart Radius in Edge Detection. At 5px, this will help bring in some of the finer details of the fabric at the bottom of the image.

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STEP 8

Next, in the Output Settings, tick the Decontaminate Colours box to remove any remaining red hue around the edges of your selection.

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STEP 9

Use the Global Refinements sliders to fine tune your selection. Here, I've used the Shift Edge to reduce my selection and re-move the last of the excess red caught in the hair strands. 

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STEP 10

Use the Brush tool to mask in any remaining sections, such as the edge of the roses in the hair and the missing red thumb. This is the easiest option if you’re using a Wacom tablet, alternatively you could use the Lasso Tool also provided.

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STEP 11

When you’re happy with your selection, click on the dropdown menu in Output settings and choose your output method. For a non destructive workflow, I’ve chosen New Layer with Layer Mask.

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STEP 12

Finally, tick the Remember Settings box if you will be doing multiple cut outs of the same type of image and press OK to confirm you are finished.

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