Cut out like a pro

James Pater­son shows how to cut out por­traits and trans­port sub­jects with the Re­fine Edge tool

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Learn to make cutouts us­ing El­e­ments’ pow­er­ful Re­fine Edge tool, and trans­fer a sub­ject to a more in­ter­est­ing back­ground

One of the great things about dig­i­tal imag­ing is the abil­ity it gives you to com­bine sev­eral im­ages. Mas­ter a few sim­ple com­posit­ing skills and you can trans­port sub­jects to dis­tant des­ti­na­tions or build a group photo from sev­eral people who’ve never met. But to make a com­pos­ite look con­vinc­ing you need ac­cu­rate cutouts. When cut­ting out people, the most prob­lem­atic part is usu­ally the hair, where the back­ground of­ten shows through the gaps. Luck­ily, there are a cou­ple of Pho­to­shop tools that can do much of the work for you.

In­tro­duced in El­e­ments 11, Re­fine Edge is the most pow­er­ful tool for mak­ing cutouts that Adobe has ever pro­duced. It’s not a se­lec­tion tool, but a com­mand that en­ables you to im­prove an ex­ist­ing se­lec­tion by, as the name sug­gests, re­fin­ing its edge. If you’re new to Re­fine Edge, the con­trols can seem com­plex, but mas­ter a few fun­da­men­tals and it quickly be­comes the go-to tool when you need make a pre­cise cutout.

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