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Lesson 4. Advanced Masking > Editing and refining a mask with selections

Editing and refining a mask with selections

Now that you have a good basis from which to work, you’ll refine the mask edges. Notice the gray areas where the leaf casts a shadow on the background. You’ll remove these by selecting the background with the Color Range command and using that selection to fill the shadow areas with white.

In the Channels palette, click the RGB channel name to return the view to the color image.

Choose Select > Color Range, and set the Fuzziness to 28.

The Color Range command lets you select a specific color or color subset within an existing selection. You can then use the Fuzziness option to control the degree to which related colors are included in the selection. These tools are useful for selecting objects with textured, rather than well-defined, edges.

Move the Color Range dialog box so that you can see the image. Click the eyedropper tool once in the image’s white background area.

Hold down the Shift key and click one more time in the gray shadow at the lower right edge of the leaf to add to the selection (a plus sign appears next to the eyedropper tool).

Look at the mask image in the Color Range dialog box. If the leaf is all black and the background is all white, click OK and skip to step 7.

If the leaf still has any gray, redo the selection. To clear the selection without exiting the Color Range dialog box, hold down Alt/Option and click the Reset button. Repeat steps 3 through 5 until you have a clean background selected with no gray areas in the leaf. Click OK.

Most dialog boxes in Photoshop let you reset them without exiting the dialog box by holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) to toggle to the Reset button, and then clicking Reset.

Clicking image’s white background and Shift-clicking gray shadow to add to selection

With the background selection still active, in the Channels palette click the Leaf Mask channel name to display it. The selection now is displayed on top of the mask.

Reset the foreground and background colors to their defaults by pressing D on the keyboard.

To fill the selection area with white, press Shift+Backspace (Windows) or Option+Delete (Mac OS). Much of the cast shadow is removed from the mask.

Deselect and save the file.

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