Cutting on the edge
This new tool makes it easier than ever to create perfect cutouts
01 Select the background
Open cut_out_before.jpg. Grab the Magic Wand tool, make sure Contiguous is checked and set Tolerance to about 21 in the Tool Options. Click on the grey background to begin a selection. Hold Shift and click around the background to select it all. Include the gaps in the hair and hands.
02 Open Refine Edge
Go to Select>Inverse to select the model istead of the background, then go to Select>Refine Edge. Hit F to toggle different view options within Refine Edge until you find one that gives the best view of the selection edge. Check Smart Radius and increase Radius to 1px.
03 Adjust the radius
Check Show Radius, and experiment by dragging the Radius slider up and down, changing the size of the edge. The refinement occurs in this area; anywhere outside it is left untouched. Grab the Refine Radius tool and paint over the edge of the hair to increase the area of refinement.
04 Fine-tune the settings
Continue painting around the hair, covering the areas where the grey background shows through. If you need to erase parts, hold Alt and paint. When you’re happy, hit F until you see the black on white view. Experiment with the Contrast and Shift Edge sliders to make the edge harder.
05 Tidy the mask
Pick Output to: New Layer with Layer Mask and hit OK. Go to the Layers Panel (Window>Layers) and highlight the mask thumbnail. The cutout probably won’t be perfect so you’ll need to tidy it up. Grab the Brush tool, zoom in and paint with black to hide any remaining background areas.
06 Drop in a background
Open beach.jpg. Grab the Move tool. Drag the model up to the tab of the beach image, then down into it. Reapply Refine Edge: highlight the mask, go to Select>Refine Edge and repeat the process. Highlight the background layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J, go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur, set Radius 35, hit OK.