9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2012 1:38 AM by lesnicole

    Refine Edge / Drop Shadows

    lesnicole

      I'm using the Refine Edge tool to drop out backgrounds of scanned images. I scan against a black background to get the best separation with the item. It works great, but when I test it with a drop shadow, I often see this spackling when I increase the Spread feature in drop shadows. When I back off to a normal spread / opacity, they look fine.

       

      Note I'm greately exaggerating the settings when I test, but as I sell my digital files, I need to make them as fool-proof as possible.

       

      I've played with the refine edge settings to adjust the smoothing/contrast and contract edges. This helps, but I still get some of this effect. I am able to clean up the mask using the pencil tool where the drop shadow goes crazy.

       

      Is this normal? Should I just advise clients to not exaggerate the drop shadow settings?

       

      Is there anything further I need to know? I've researched the Refine Edge settings and I think I understand it pretty well.

       

      Here's an exaggerated example:

       

      refine_edge_ex.jpg

        • 1. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
          c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

          Relying on Refine Edge would seem unwise to me.

           

          I often address stray pixels (in Layer Masks naturally) with the Burn and Dodge Tools (Edit: set to Shadows and Highlights respectively).

          And the Layer Style Stroke (with a fairly high value) is good help for making them noticeable.

          But be aware that as always any magnification below Actual Pixels (cmd-1) can be betraying.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
            lesnicole Level 1

            Interesting - I wouldn't have thought of the burn/dodge tool. Interesting I'll play with this.

             

            I'm not sure I understand using the layer style stroke. I just played with it a little bit - at first-you mean applying it to the layer mask? I'm not getting it. Thanks!

            • 3. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
              c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

              you mean applying it to the layer mask?

              To the Layer with the Lyer Mask – this usually accentuates the stray pixels beautifully.

              Of course one has to remove the Style once the Mask has been corrected.

              • 4. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                lesnicole Level 1

                I get it now! Awesome. Thanks so much!!

                 

                So, applying the stroke to the layer shows the stray pixels clearer, then I used the burn/dodge and cleaned up the pixels. Question - do you do your burn/dodge on the original or the layer mask? I did mine on the layer mask and it worked - but just curious as to what you do.

                • 5. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                  Do we know why all the pixels are not made perfectly black in the mask?  That sounds rather like a bug to me.

                   

                  C.P., is your statement "Relying on Refine Edge would seem unwise to me" based on experience that it doesn't make perfect masks?

                   

                  -Noel

                  • 6. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                    c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

                    lesnicole, yes, I edit the Layer Mask.

                     

                    Noel, I did some (admittedly not very thorough) testing and it seemed to me that a combination of the Quick Selection Tool and Refine Edge came up with lots of stray pixels.

                    Those may not matter in many cases, though, and might in fact be owed to the Quick Selection Tool.

                    • 7. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                      lesnicole Level 1

                      Just to clarify as well. When I used the Refine Edge in CS5 and tweaked the settings with smooth, contrast, contract etc. I get very good results. For a normal drop shadow, they look perfectly fine, but since I'm selling these products to clients who may not be very knowledgeable or for whatever reason want a more extreme drop shadow, I need to prepare them for worst-case scenarios. It's only when I jack up the "spread" feature that I start seeing the stray pixels.

                      • 8. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                        lesnicole wrote:

                         


                        It's only when I jack up the "spread" feature that I start seeing the stray pixels.

                         

                        To me that says that the mask isn't perfect, but maybe off a level or two from being perfectly black.

                         

                        I'll do some experimenting with this.  I wonder if the Dither feature could affect it, and/or whether it could be related to color-management somehow....

                         

                        -Noel

                        • 9. Re: Refine Edge / Drop Shadows
                          lesnicole Level 1

                          I'll check back to see if you discover anything. Thanks.