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The refine edge tool is NOT working!!

Apr 30, 2012 1:28 AM

Hi everyone. I'm trying to get the refine edge tool to work. I selected my image using the quick select tool, then I click refine edge. When I move my cursor around the edge pressing the mouse button to make my adjustments the image is being erased instead of picking up the hairs. I do not have my refine edge brush set to "-", it is set to "+". I dont have anything else in the refine edge menus selected, it is at default. I even tried to enable Smart Edge and other features in the refine edge menu, but it still doesnt pick up my hairs instead it removes my "line"....very aggravating. I've used this tool before and I never had a problem....Please help with any info or advice! I've searched the entire internet and cannot find anything that resolves this issue...thx

  • Trevor Dennis
    5,907 posts
    May 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 30, 2012 3:06 AM   in reply to ricklat

    Hi rick, and welcome to the forum


    Refined edge is a wonderful thing, but can take some getting used to.  I found it frustrating when first started using it.


    Before clicking on Refine edge, it can be useful to enter Quick mask for a quick visual indication of how well you have done with Quick Select.


    OK, Refine Edge... Start with the radius tool.  Nudge it up until most of what you are after is contained in the selection, then nudge it back as far as you can without loosing your edge.  Then hit Smart radius.  You might need to wait a moment for each adjustment to take effect.


    Other controls depend on the image.  If there are no fine elements like hair, then Smoothing is very effective.  If there is hair, then little or no smoothing is best.


    Feather obviously softens the edge, and can make for a more realistic composite to a new background.  Contrast can give a very harsh edge, so use with care.


    When painting in features, take note of the symbol in the brush.  It sounds like you might have a minus symbol (it happens sometimes) in which case the Shift key should put that right.  The Alt (or Opt) key will remove unwanted parts of the selection, but I find it works best with a small brush size.


    Shift edge will remove a thin halo, as will Decontaminate colour when there is something like a blue sky showing through whispy hair.


    Bottom line, Refine edge is not perfect, and does not always work.  It has an annoying habit of removing, or rendering semi-selected, areas you want included.  When that happens, click OK, and fix with Quick mask.

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  • Noel Carboni
    23,496 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 30, 2012 8:01 AM   in reply to ricklat

    Russell Brown calls the places you brush over "Areas of Transition", which is as good a definition as I've seen, and yes, you can end up having it erase things that are already there.


    Have a look at this video for a really good set of techniques for using the Refine Edge tool.  Note Russell's advice:  "Less is More"




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