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Complex Selections Made Simple with Photoshop CS5

Every version of Photoshop seems to do something better and faster then it’s predecessors and Photoshop CS5 is no exception. At a recent photography trade show I spent many happy hours answering Photoshop CS5 related questions, but one topic kept coming up time after time… exactly how much quicker is Photoshop CS5 at selecting hair and fur then CS4?


Photoshop CS5’s new Edge Detection tools are amazingly fast at making tricky selections and basically that means a selection that used to take 30 minutes to create, now takes me less the 5 minutes. But that’s not the whole story, because not only is it quicker it’s also far more accurate and controllable.

Of course it always helps to start with an image that has some contrast between the subject you wish to select and it’s background, but once you’ve seen how quick and intuitive Refine Edge with edge detection is, you’ll want to try it for yourself.


Don’t have Photoshop CS5 yet? Why not download the free 30 day trial from Adobe and give it a go for yourself.


Written explanation of Refine Mask by Mike Hoffman Here

About Gavin Hoey (45 Articles)
Gavin has been a regular contributor to Digital Photo Magazine in the UK since 2003 where he writes “how to...” techniques on photography and Photoshop Elements. His Photoshop lectures are always in demand and he can often be seen popping up at camera clubs all over the UK.

7 Comments on Complex Selections Made Simple with Photoshop CS5

  1. Audrey Hamilton // 11/03/2011 at 1:43 pm //

    Very informative and clear explanation on how to use refine edge.
    Thanks, Audrey Hamilton

  2. Leonard F Grant Jr // 11/03/2011 at 7:26 pm //

    Cheers Gavin. As usual you make the seemingly complex easy for all to absorb. If I only had hair, I would make a self portrait and show you what you have taught me.
    Thank you for sharing,

  3. alteringpixels // 12/03/2011 at 2:25 am //

    lurv your accent and you are a great narrator, not the least bit annoying. great tip and love how it didn’t drag on and lose me. 🙂

  4. Thanks Gavin! Great tutorial and very simply explained. Selections are the hardest thing for my Photoshop students to master. I’ll be sharing this with them next class.

  5. G,

    Well done. This is the most direct and simplest way yet I’ve seen this tool explained.

    Would you consider being a guest on my radio show? The url is above.



  6. Kevin Price // 16/03/2011 at 12:53 pm //

    Dude, awsum, as usual….

  7. John Wealthy // 02/06/2011 at 3:32 pm //

    Thank you for a wonderful tutorial Gavin. I must invest in CS5!!

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