Refine Edge can actually save you money. If you take photos in a studio environment, all you need to do is shoot on a plain background and you can use refine edge in Photoshop to easily cut out your subject and place them on a digital background. Here's how it's done.
Refine Edge Tutorial Video
When to Use Refine Edge vs. Other Selection Methods
When you see a tutorial about using Refine Edge in Photoshop, all of the photos have something in common.
- They photographed the subject on a plain background
- There is contrast between the background and the subject.
While Refine Edge may seem magical, it isn't perfect. Trying to use it to cut out a subject from a complicated background will lead to frustration and messy results. Even when you have a plain background, sometimes you still have to do some manual effort to fix your mask before exporting out of the Select and Mask dialog to a new layer or selection.
I've tried using it on subjects shot with different backgrounds ranging from white to grey to black. I have my best success using a light to middle grey background. It works well for light or dark hair.
My choice is Savage Fashion Grey Seamless Background Paper. You can get it in various sizes. I like the 107″ wide roll. It's much more versatile than getting black or white seamless paper, since you can make it either black or white.
If you want a white background, light it. If you want a black background, move your subject forward and choose a smaller aperture to get shallow light fall off.
Savage Widetone Seamless Background Paper 26″ x 12 yds – Fashion Gray – 56-2612
Savage Fashion Gray Seamless Background Paper, 53″ wide x 12 yards, #56
Savage Fashion Grey Seamless Background Paper 107″ by 12 Yards, #56
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Get the Photo of Emma
You can use a copy of my photo of Emma to practice using Refine Edge in Photoshop.