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Learn how to take your selection to the next level when editing in Photoshop. With this easy tutorial you’ll learn how to use a refine edge brush to drastically improve your selections.

Update: I have created a video to better demonstrate the entire process, check it out on PSD Vault Youtube Channel, or view it below:

A Little History About “Refine Edge”

If you have been using Photoshop for a few year, you may remember a few editions ago we had a feature called “Refine Edge”. Back then, this was the go-to option for a lot of Photoshoppers to tidy up the selection. Since Photoshop CC 2015, the “Refine Edge” feature was replaced by “Select & Mask” – at that time this was a very controversial move as the new “Select & Mask” did not have the same ability as the “Refine Edge” feature.

Since then, Adobe has been improving the “Select & Mask” feature based on community feedback and made a lot of adjustments to its feature. Now we’re in 2020, the “Select & Mask” feature has really matured and offering a lot more options comparing to a few years ago – The Refine Edge Brush is one of them.

Where can I find the Refine Edge Brush

The Refine Edge Brush can be found under the “Select and Mask” feature, on the top left panel.

Use Refine Edge Brush to Enhance Your Selection

We start by downloading this cute husky dog stock image from stockvault.net. The end goal of this tutorial is to make a perfect selection of the dog and seperate it from the rest of the image.

Load this image into Photoshop and click on the object selection tool:

Now since the dog is the subject of the photo, we can use another great feature in Photoshop 2020 called “Select Subject”, as shown below:

Click “Select Subject” and Photoshop will automatically analyse the image, and make a selection of the dog as shown below:

The selection looks great however there is still room for improvement – if you look closely, you will see the hair around the edge wasn’t selected.

Now we can click on the “Select and Mask” button:

And this will bring us to this window. On the right side, you can choose several view mode, I used the red “overlay” option in this tutorial:

Now go to the refine edge brush tool on the left and use the following setting:

Use this brush, go over the edge of the dog – you can see as you paint over the edge, the dog hair started to reveal, the edge becomes softer and no longer appears solid:

One thing to note is that you might need to adjust the brush hardness and size as you paint. By doing so, you ensure the refine edge brush is customised to deal with different parts of the dog.

Once you’re happy with your selection, press “Ok” to apply.

That’s it for this tutorial! Hope you learn a thing or two about the Refine Edge Brush tool in Photoshop 2020. Make sure you experiment with different brush settings and see what result they bring you. Be sure to check out more basic Photoshop tutorials for beginners here on PSD Vault!

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