Learn how to make and refine selections in the Selection and Masking Space in Photoshop CC.
Making a selection is easier, faster, and more precise than ever in the Selection and Masking Space workspace you’ll find in the latest version of Photoshop CC. Selection Lab lets you make and fine-tune great selections all in one place--whether you’re removing a background, isolating part of a photo or design for editing, or creating a composite by combining images as I’m doing here.
There is no need to create a selection before entering the Selection and Masking Space. Just click on the layer that contains the object you want to select. And enter the Selection and Masking Space via Select>Select and Mask or buttons in the options bar of any selection tool. This workspace has its own toolbar with only tools you need for making and refining selections.
With the View menu set to Onion Skin view, you’ll be able to see what you’re selecting in real-time as you make a selection. I’ll set the Onion Skin Transparency slider to about here to start. Start by choosing the Quick Selection tool on the left side of the Selection and Masking workspace, adjust your brush size, and then paint over the object you'd like to isolate. As you paint, you will see the object becoming more defined against the background. You can adjust how prominent the background appears by adjusting the Transparency setting. Try to limit your painting to areas of the subject that are solid and don't have hints of the background mixed in.
Then switch to the Refine Edge Brush tool to refine your selection and paint over areas that contain a mix of subject and background. As you paint, the preview will update in real-time to show you the results you are achieving. • The area where you paint with the Refine Edge Brush is where Photoshop will attempt to calculate a better edge. It works great with complex edges, especially those that include semi-transparent objects such as wispy hair. Try out the direct Brush tool in an area like this, where you want to add to or subtract from the selection manually. You can step back or forward through your brush strokes with multiple undoes and redoes from here in the Edit menu. There are also global refinements like smooth, feather, and contrast in this section. Once you're getting close to your desired result, consider changing the view setting to get a better idea of your end result and further refine the process. The view we've been using so far is known as an Onion Skin. You might find the Overlay or On Black or On White settings to be useful alternatives. The On Layers view will even allow you to view how the active layer will blend with any underlying layers. If you notice any color fringing (hints of the old background clinging to the subject), then turn on the Decontaminate Colors checkbox, which is found under the Advanced Output Settings area, and which should remove any hint of the old background color.
When you’re done creating and fine-tuning in Selection Lab, choose your Output setting from this menu. Because I checked Decontaminate Colors, some of the Output settings are not available. I’ll chose New Layer with Layer Mask as the Output Setting. Then Ill click OK to close the Selection and Masking workspace. That applies the selection to the image, showing the figure/object you selected and hiding the background so you see down through it to the image on the layers below in this composite.
Here are a few other examples of where the new Selection Lab made combining multiple images a breeze.
Give the Selection and Masking Space a try. It’s great for making accurate selections for combining images to use in your photographs and designs.