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How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections


When you’re working with images in Photoshop, getting perfect selections lets you work in great detail. But the pen and lasso tools don’t make it easy to capture small details in complex areas. The magic wand tool can help, but it’s unpredictable.

If your selection isn’t spot-on, though, your design will suffer. So what are you to do? Worry not, as Photoshop’s Refine Edge tool can come to the rescue.

It’s now hidden behind the new Select and Mask tools Adobe Photoshop CC 2018: 9 Great New Features Adobe Photoshop CC 2018: 9 Great New Features Photoshop CC 2018 is here! And it has some awesome new features. Click to see nine features that will change the way you use Photoshop. Read More , but it’s still one of the most useful functions that Photoshop CC has to offer.

Let’s check it out.

When to Use Refine Edge in Photoshop

You can use Refine Edge on any image, but it really shines when you have a foreground that you’re trying to select against a contrasting background. It’s also best when you’re working with complex edges, like hair (which we’ll be using for this tutorial). Anything with straight lines is easy enough to get with the pen tool.

But lots of small projects, transitions, and blank spots will benefit from the Refine Edge tool. Once you learn how to use it, you can employ the tool on any image. It’s especially good when you’re changing the background of an image How to Change the Background of a Photo in Photoshop How to Change the Background of a Photo in Photoshop Changing the background of an image is one of Photoshop’s core features.

Read on to find out how to do it. Read More . But in time you’ll learn which images it’s best used on. Let’s take a look at how to use Refine Edge.

Step 1: Make a Loose Selection

You can use the Refine Edge tool on an entire image, but you’ll get better results if you help Photoshop focus on the area you’re interested in.

Here’s the image we’ll be using: To isolate the subject from the background, we’re going to have to get a selection that includes her hair.

Especially on the left side, that would be difficult–if not impossible–with the pen tool. Before we start using Photoshop’s Refine Edge tool, though, it helps to make a general selection. First, duplicate the layer by right-clicking Layer 0 and selecting Duplicate Layer.

We’ll name the new layer “Background”. We’ll use the pen tool to outline the woman’s face and narrow down the selection around her hair.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Now, select the Paths tab, right click Work Path, and turn this path into a selection. How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections

Finally, turn that selection into a layer mask. How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections

Step 2: Open Select and Mask Tools

Nothing happens to the image when you add the layer mask. To see your selection more clearly, make the background layer invisible.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Now we have a better idea of what we’ve actually selected. To get to the Refine Edge tool, we’ll need to open the Select and Mask window.

Select the rectangular marquee tool (keyboard shortcut M) or the lasso tool (keyboard shortcut L). You’ll see a button in the menu bar that says Select and Mask. Click that button to open a new window.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Note: To make it a bit easier to see where the Refine Edge tool makes changes, I’ve added a layer and filled it with pink. Select the Refine Edge Brush Tool.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections

Step 3: Brush on Your Selection

With this tool selected, we’ll brush around the edges that we want Photoshop to refine. Before we start, though, you may want to change the size of the brush. There’s a brush-size dropdown in the menu bar that lets you quickly increase or decrease the brush size.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections It can be helpful to start with a larger brush and then move to a smaller one as the selection gets finer. Now, brush over the area.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Photoshop extracts contrasting pixels for your selection much faster than you could with a manual tool. As you can see, the selection isn’t perfect.

But it’s a lot faster than manual methods. Keep brushing until you get the selection you want. How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections

Step 4: Tweak the Selection

Once you’ve made your selection with the Refine Edge tool, it’s time to make a few tweaks to improve it.

The first thing to try is Decontaminate Colors. In the Properties tab, scroll down until you see the Decontaminate Colors checkbox. Click it and check out the results.

Here you can see the difference between the two options: How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections In our case, some of the edges get a bit sharper, so we’ll leave the decontamination on.

Below this checkbox, you’ll find the Output To: dropdown. You can send this selection to a new layer mask or to the existing mask. We’ll select Layer Mask to add it to our current mask.

How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Click OK. Now we can make a few more tweaks.

For example, in this area, the Refine Edge tool made part of the woman’s hair transparent. How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections Select the layer mask and the brush tool (keyboard shortcut B).

Set the foreground color to black and paint over the area that’s been misselected. How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections You can use a brush to clean up any of the selection that you’re not happy with.

Once you’ve selected the area you want, you can start making adjustments to your background. (I’ve added an adjustment layer to turn the background black and white for a selective-color look.) How to Use Photoshop’s Refine Edge Tool for Perfect Selections

Now Keep Practicing With the Refine Edge Tool

While Photoshop’s edge-detection tools are very advanced, they’re not perfect. So you’re going to need to practice working with them and tweaking your final selections.

You might feather the selection to capture a bit of the foreground and a bit of the background. Or use a very small brush to catch even smaller details that Photoshop didn’t. You can also play around with the Refine Edge settings, like Feather and Contrast, to see how they affect your selections.

Like any other tool in Photoshop, it takes a while to get proficient with Refine Edge.

But with practice, you can become an edge-refining master, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering all kinds of Photoshop techniques 7 Techniques to Help You Start Learning Photoshop 7 Techniques to Help You Start Learning Photoshop There are many different ways to learn Photoshop from scratch.

These simple techniques can help anyone to start learning Photoshop. Read More .


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7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t Believe


Take a look at the URL for this article and you’ll see that it starts with https. That “s” at the end means the connection between your device and this site is secure. On the web, secure connections are usually established using a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More .

These can be confusing, partly because there are many myths about them that you simply shouldn’t believe. Let’s debunk a few of the more common ones!

Myth 1: “Only E-Commerce Sites Need SSL”

You’ve probably heard that only sites requiring personal data need SSL certificates.

It’s a fair assumption: after all, you should be trained by now to notice encryption on sites that request private information. It’s true that, when signing up and logging in, you definitely need to check the address bar reads “https”. But encryption is vital for all sites, whether e-commerce or a small blog.

Firstly, Google defaults to a secure version Google Is Making HTTPS the Chrome Default Google Is Making HTTPS the Chrome Default With well over half of all websites now encrypted, it’s time to think of HTTPS as the default option rather than the exception. That is, at least, according to Google. Read More of a site. Google Chrome users who visit a site which doesn’t have an SSL certificate will instead see a warning page.

This will inform them that the page is not secure. Secondly, those visiting via other browsers will consider you more trustworthy. Most users now know about checking for secure connections, so installing an SSL certificate is a sign that you take their privacy seriously.

In effect, you’re telling your audience that you’re a professional organization.

Myth 2: “SSL Won’t Affect Web Traffic”

If Google Chrome doesn’t fully load a web page, that site’s statistics will be affected–potentially quite drastically! Imagine how many people might see that their connection isn’t secure and immediately turn away. The problem is, even when their data doesn’t seem at risk, people panic when they see security alerts.

They picture themselves falling victim to hackers. Thankfully, most users prioritize their security over convenience. So if they can’t read your site, they’ll simply search for another one which offers similar information.

Furthermore, an SSL certificate is essential for SEO. It’s not just about keywords: Google ranks a page higher if it proves to implement decent security measures. Naturally, the nearer the top of search results, the more people will find your page.

Myth 3: “SSL Significantly Slows Page Loading”

Image Credit: jayneandd/ Flickr

With a potentially increased audience, your concern might be that an HTTPS address will slow down your site. Fortunately, encryption has no noticeable effect on the speed of your website. That’s because, in most cases, HTTPS actually refers to HTTP/2, a revision on the standard HTTP protocol.

It was designed to have a 50 percent reduction in page load time through compression of data and reduction of processes involved. Here’s what you need to know: the web has been using HTTP since 1991. HTTP/2 is an upgrade to this with an eye on performance.

If you want proof, check out some of your favorite sites–the most popular ones (including social media like Facebook) have SSL certificates and look how fast they are! Okay, so sometimes, speed will be affected, but it’s rare and negligible. We’re talking milliseconds.

This is mainly down to server distances, which you typically can’t help. And cases of slowing down will get fewer and more far between as Certificate Authorities (CA) secretly switch to Transport Layer Security (TLS) instead.

Myth 4: “SSL Certificates Are Cutting Edge”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t Believe SSL certificates are great, but they’re not the most advanced form of encryption widely used on the internet.

In fact, many CAs use TLS certificates instead How Web Browsing Is Becoming Even More Secure How Web Browsing Is Becoming Even More Secure We have SSL certificates to thank for our security and privacy. But recent breaches and flaws may have dented your trust in the cryptographic protocol. Fortunately, SSL is adapting, being upgraded – here’s how. Read More .

TLS certificates are essentially the next stage in the life of HTTPS. The successor has been around since 2008, fixing some of the minor vulnerabilities in SSL certificates. However, until recently, it’s mostly been used solely for sites that require payment details or manage your money.

PayPal is perhaps the most notable example of a monetary site using TLS. Fortunately, several exploits in SSL certificates means TLS has become more commonplace. In fact, many encryption services implement TLS instead of SSL certificates as default; the latter is more well-known so is frequently used without the client knowing the difference.

As long as your URL has HTTPS, most website visitors are content.

Myth 5: “SSL Certificates Are Expensive”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t BelieveImage Credit: Ken Teegardin/ Flickr Which organizations use TLS? Primary examples also disprove the myth that HTTPS is expensive.

Let’s Encrypt is a popular service because it’s effective and entirely free. Many big name companies support the idea, including Facebook, Yoast, Mozilla, the American Library Association, Server Pilot, and Google Chrome. Alternatively, freemium software is available.

Encryption Everywhere, created by security firm, Symantec, offers free SSL/TLS certificates, and you can pay for additional security features. Admittedly, SSL certificates can be costly, but it largely depends on hosts. Sometimes, the host server doesn’t support third party encryption, i.e. they want you to use their own associated service so they can get extra cash from you.

It’s a horrible tactic, especially when users are under pressure from Google. You need to shop around. Don’t be scammed by your web host.

Myth 6: “SSL Certificates Encrypt All Data”

7 Myths About HTTPS and SSL Certificates You Shouldn’t BelieveImage Credit: owlpacino/ Flickr

Let’s not rave about SSL certificates without pointing out that it’s not the be-all and end-all for security. Yes, data is encrypted–but only during transit. HTTPS means your connection is secure; it doesn’t mean the web server is secure.

Imagine it as a tunnel you’re driving through. The tunnel means your vehicle can’t come under attack from anything from above, below, or either side of you. However, problems can still occur once you reach your destination.

You don’t know what lies ahead of you once your car comes to rest. The same goes for data. It’s encrypted so you shouldn’t be a victim of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack?

Security Jargon Explained What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained If you’ve heard of “man-in-the-middle” attacks but aren’t quite sure what that means, this is the article for you. Read More while it’s transferring between networks. But once that data is static (i.e. stored on someone’s server), SSL certificates don’t mean much.

This is why HTTPS is now considered a basic security measure, something sites should have as standard. Further precautions are also needed!

Myth 7: “SSL Encryption Is Foolproof”

Today I had to google how to self sign an ssl certificate At first I was a little embarrassed.

Then I realized that it’s because @letsencrypt has made trusted certificates so easy that I literally haven’t had to self sign an ssl certificate in like 3 years. — dade (@0xdade) June 10, 2018

HTTPS offers a good level of encryption. You’ve probably heard a lot of good stuff about that.

Still, myths persist about encryption Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Don’t Believe These 5 Myths About Encryption! Encryption sounds complex, but is far more straightforward than most think. Nonetheless, you might feel a little too in-the-dark to make use of encryption, so let’s bust some encryption myths! Read More . Notably, you should know that encryption doesn’t make something unhackable.

Companies just need to try their best: they need to look after personal information in the most secure ways possible. They have a responsibility to look after private details. The methods used to track passwords How Do Websites Keep Your Passwords Secure? How Do Websites Keep Your Passwords Secure? With regular online security breaches reported, you’re doubtless concerned about how websites look after your password. In fact, for peace of mind, this is something everyone needs to know… Read More , however, show how ineffective encryption can be, depending on the form used to store them.

Even SSL certificates have been compromised–that’s what Heartbleed was all about, hitting headlines back in 2014. Can you trust SSL/TLS certificates? Yes.

Just remember: no security is absolute, and vulnerabilities are inevitable.

Make Sure You’re Using a Secure Web Browser

Don’t underestimate the importance of basic levels of safety online. SSL certificates are a vital part of your protection from cybercriminals. Of course, you need support from a strong security suite too.

Fortunately, mainstream browsers know the significance What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? The battle for the best desktop browser will never be settled.

But which is the most secure?

All boast having superior protection — but in 2017, which is the browser of choice for the security-… Read More of keeping their users secure on the internet.


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This royal becomes the first to experiment with Royal Ascot’s new dress code

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, became the first royal to experiment with Ascot’s newly approved dress code by wearing a formerly banned jumpsuit in the Royal Enclosure yesterday afternoon (June 20).
The countess’ wide-legged Emilia Wickstead jumpsuit featured flowing culotte trousers – which makes it easily mistaken for a dress – short sleeves with contrast detail, and a pleated bottom.

The jumpsuit is the ‘Vida’ style from Wickstead’s spring/summer 2018 collection, and priced at GBP1,992. As of last year, Royal Ascot’s Style Guide confirmed that the contemporary item of clothing had been “welcomed as acceptable” for the Royal Enclosure.

“Ascot continues to recognise key trends in the ever-evolving world of fashion,” the guide added. Earlier this week, Sophie and Prince Edward accompanied the Duchess of Sussex as she made her Royal Ascot debut alongside the Duke of Sussex as they arrived by carriage to the Royal Enclosure.

MORE: PRINCESSES BEATRICE AND EUGENIE WORE THE BEST HATS AND DRESSES TO ROYAL ASCOT Meghan wore a white Givenchy dress designed by Clare Waight Keller, with a black-and-white Phillip Treacy hat and a pair of diamond earrings by Birks. Sophie opted for a blush pink dress with black lace details on the sleeves.

This royal becomes the first to experiment with Royal Ascot’s new dress code This year the Ascot dress code made headlines when organisers banned Bardot off-the-shoulder necklines – a style that Meghan has shown a penchant for. When the official fashion guidelines were released back in March, they confirmed that bare shoulders were not permitted in several of the enclosures, along with spaghetti straps, halternecks, and strapless styles, which were already banned from the Royal Enclosure.

Additions to the official dress code in 2018 also made socks a requirement for gentlemen. Images: Getty (Harper’s Bazaar UK)


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