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Best PRO masking solution?

Jul 23, 2012 10:12 AM

Looking pro level masking plugin for Photoshop.


I was a beta tester for PShop 1.0. After many years as a retoucher, I still find the best masking workflow to be primarily derived from vector paths made to appropriately feathered layer masks, with contrast masks or hand painted masks for hair, fabric or other "fuzzy" edges.


Every third party masking solution I have tried required more cleanup time than I would typically invest in my more reliable methods. But perhaps things have improved since I Iast checked? I web searched for relaible reviews for third party masking plugins, but found mostly promotional boilerplate from vendors.


Any pro retouchers/photographers out there who can recommend a professionall level third party masking plugin?



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 23, 2012 10:22 AM   in reply to FauxtoGuy

    What PS are you using?  If CS5 or 6 not sure you need a plug in.  Take a look at this russell brown tutorial. toshop-cs5/

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 23, 2012 10:53 AM   in reply to Curt Y

    That tutorial really does a great demonstration of the masking power of CS5 (and CS6). Now if only my hairy photos were all shot in a studio or at the very least against a solid color background! 

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  • Noel Carboni
    23,514 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 23, 2012 11:25 AM   in reply to acresofgreen

    I've done a fair number of "hairy" (high detail) photos on busy backgrounds, and the Refine Edge function still works, though sometimes with additional challenges (e.g., things that need to be hand-masked or hidden after).


    Realistically, in order to do better than the software currently does, you almost have to imagine software that actually perceives the subject material - i.e., "knows" what the subject is, what hair is, etc.


    FauxtoGuy, post an example (or part of one) that shows what you're dealing with, and I'm sure we can provide more detailed help.


    Operating Refine Edge adeptly, and getting a feel for what to worry about and what to leave for hand-masking and tone blending after take some practice and finesse, but it's good stuff and it can really work.






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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 23, 2012 12:04 PM   in reply to FauxtoGuy

    FauxtoGuy wrote:


    But I just tried it with a beauty shot of a steak knife shot against white, and the quick mask tool can't distinguish between the shiny blade & the light grey background.

    If you are doing "beauty shots", and you want to make a mask,  you should be shooting against a background that has contrast with the subject.  Not a expert here, but seems like you are making it way to difficult to separate the subject from the background with a grey blade and a grey background, even for the best plug in.


    If making a mask of the knife, you can always put it on a grey background afterwards IMO.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 1:43 AM   in reply to FauxtoGuy
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