Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Recomendation on Masking plug-in for Photoshop

Photographer

Francisco Castro

Posts: 1735

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

I have Topaz Re-mask right now. But does anyone have a recommendation as for a better masking solution in terms of ease of use, as well as accuracy to get those pesky fine hairs?

Jan 31 13 09:33 am Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 22618

Salem, Oregon, US

the built-in photoshop selection paintbrush along with refine edge works pretty well for me (depending on how the image was shot). seems like hair can always be a challenge.

Jan 31 13 09:57 am Link

Photographer

Toto Photo

Posts: 2792

Belmont, California, US

I have to second twohearts opinion regarding Photoshop's Refine Edge as a great tool for masking. You might want to try a few tutorials on this tool which has improved with every iteration of the software.

I've heard so many good things about Topaz, is it possible you just need to dive deeper into that tool? No tool is one-click easy for masking.

Jan 31 13 10:03 am Link

Photographer

Francisco Castro

Posts: 1735

Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Toto Photo wrote:
I have to second twohearts opinion regarding Photoshop's Refine Edge as a great tool for masking. You might want to try a few tutorials on this tool which has improved with every iteration of the software.

I've heard so many good things about Topaz, is it possible you just need to dive deeper into that tool? No tool is one-click easy for masking.

Topaz is great, don't get me wrong, and I certainly don't expect any great editing to be done by single click. The more steps involved in a process, the more control you have over it.

We don't buy Photoshop for it's "ease of use". :-)

I was just wondering if anyone has come across an even better tool.

Jan 31 13 10:18 am Link

Retoucher

ST Retouch

Posts: 334

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Professional hair, edges and transparent fabric extracting  with full color decontamination and preparing them for perfect seamless blending and realistic composition  are the most complex things in retouching.
Simply each file is unique for work and there are no quick actions and steps.
You need a lot of practice ( hundreds and hundreds of files ) to know which steps and methods you have to use  and how to prepare file for extracting.
Do not use any plug ins , quick masks, magic wand tools, quick selection tools because you will produce only non-professional halo edges and fake digital work.
It is the same like in high end beauty retouching, if you want top results there is one and only technique- pixel level Dodge and Burn ( not plug ins with sliders)
With composite work there is one and only technique, pixel level edge cutting with 0 (zero ) tolerance, do not watch any fake tutorials where they make extracting with quick methods with 1-3 pixels tolerance .
In high end work it is forbidden to use quick steps even when you have great contrast for example between black dress and white background ( you will still have non-professional halo edges which is very problematic with large size prints ).
Maybe if you are newbie with composite work you will not realize these halo edges but with very large prints and billboards results are so fake and non-professional.
For hair , fur and transparent fabric extraction only alpha channel masks with combination of refine edges and then later one million blending tricks in composite work to get perfect results.
You can not extract model from the background with top level of work until you spend at least 40 minutes up to 1 hour per file, in same cases if you have very problematic file with fur , very flyaway hair and transparent fabric/clothes up to 2 hour per file just for extracting.
Everything else is fake work with amateur results with halo edges and dead pixels.
My advise for everyone who wants to learn composite work is to forget about any quick steps and to start learning all these problematic things with PS specially with alpha channel masks.
You can not expect top results with 15-20 minutes of work.
It is very time consuming and highly skilled job with a lot of experience.
Hope that helped,
Best Regards!

Jan 31 13 11:00 am Link

Retoucher

Alexey Adamitsky

Posts: 226

Minsk, Minsk, Belarus

I really like Topaz Remask. Decided to invest some time and figure out how to work with this tool. I must say that it's not my ultimate masking tool, but I often use it for hair masking. It can do very precise job if you learn how to control it. I prefer it over Refine Edge option in Photoshop. For very complex cases of hair selection I can use Remask for initial selection and then channel calculations in Photoshop or even hand drawn hair where it's not possible to make precise selection. I use Photoshop for everything else.

I have yet to see an ultimate masking solution. Photoshop is all you need if you don't want any third party plugins, but Remask does good job and quite fast.

Jan 31 13 11:41 am Link

Retoucher

Frankcerro

Posts: 40

Sevilla, Andalusia, Spain

I think that the best way to make a mask its by channels and brush in overlay mode

Jan 31 13 12:02 pm Link