How To Use The Select And Mask Workspace In Photoshop

Welcome back to another very exciting tutorial
here at the My name is Jesus Ramirez and you can find
me on Instagram @JRfromPTC. In this example we’re going to talk about
the new Select and Mask Workspace in Photoshop. This workspace replaces a previous Refine
Edge and Refine Mask dialogue boxes in Photoshop. And it allows us to visualize and select content
in a new way. But before we get started with that, I want to show you the layers that we’re
going to be working with. We have this forest here, the background,
and this foreground, this bear. So we’re going to mask out the bear and place him in the
forest. So to access this new Select and Mask workspace, you can click on any selection
tool like the Marquee Tool, and then, click on Select and Mask. And you’ll notice that
the Tools bar now has only a few tools and the Properties panel on the right has some
masking options for you to use. Notice the Select and Mask here under the workspace. Before we go any further, I want to press
Cancel and I want to show you an easier way to access this workspace. So instead of clicking
on the Selection Tool and clicking on this button, just remember the keyboard shortcut
Ctrl Alt R, that’s Command Option R on the Mac, and it brings you directly into this
workspace without having to click on any Selection Tools. And the first thing we’ll talk about
is how you can use the tools that are found in this Tool bar to make a selection. First
of all, we have the Quick Selection Tool, which you can get to by clicking on it or
pressing the W key on the keyboard and you can just click and drag to start making a
selection. Notice that the image is currently set to
the Onion Skinning Mode where you only have a transparency of 20%. That means that the
selected items are going to be shown at 100% and the deselected items are going to be shown
at 20%. So we have the head partially selected, which is why it looks opaque and the rest
of the image is at 20% opacity. And if we increase the Transparency to 100%, notice
that the rest of the image disappears. So this slider allows you to adjust the transparency
so that you can make better selections. So, in general, what you want to do is use the
Quick Selection Tool to select the main areas of your image, then toggle between the Brush
Tool and the Lasso Tool to make corrections, and more refined selections to specific areas. So we have the Lasso Tool here and the Brush
Tool here. We’re going to talk about the Refine Edge Tool a little later on. So let’s focus
first on the Brush Tool. This works just like the regular Brush Tool. If you click and drag,
you’ll paint, essentially, with the white. If you think of this as a mask, this is just
like painting with white. You have the same keyboard shortcuts, left bracket to decrease
the size, right bracket key on the keyboard to increase the size of that brush. You can click on this down pointing arrow
here and adjust the Size, Hardness, or Spacing, or you can just simply right click anywhere
on your image, and that same display comes up, so we can adjust the Hardness all the
way to 100% and you can see the hard edge there. You can also click on the Lasso Tool,
click and drag and make a selection, and it fills in those areas. If we drag the transparency
up to 100, now these are the selected areas. I usually like keeping my transparency around
20%. So now I’m going to press the W key to go
back into the Quick Selection Tool and I’m just going to increase the Brush Size by tapping
on the right bracket key in the keyboard, increasing the size, and continue selecting
the bear. Notice that I accidentally selected the rocks where he’s standing. I can either
click on the minus option here, or better yet, hold Alt, Option on the Mac, and deselect
the areas that I don’t like. And I can release the Alt key and continue selecting the areas
that I do want to keep. At this point, I can bring the transparency
all the way up to 100%, just so I could see how my selection is looking. If I need a different
view, I can click on this down pointing arrow and select Marching Ants Overlay, which is
actually very similar to the Quick Mask Mode on black. Right now, the background is not
really showing black because the Opacity is set to 50%, but I can increase that up to
100%, or bring that down if I want to. But if I want to use on black, I probably would
want it at 100%. On white is a similar effect but, obviously, with a white background instead
of black; black and white, which is essentially the mask mode, and on layers right now, we’re
not going to see anything on the background because the background layer is disabled. So I’m going to go back into the Onion Skin
Mode and I’m going to bring the Transparency down just a little bit, maybe not all the
way till 20% this time, maybe less now, since I’ve already selected the major points of
my bear. And I just realized that I’m missing a spot here, so I’m going to press Z on the
keyboard, I’m going to Zoom In, and I’m going to press W for the Quick Selection Tool. I’m
going to tap on the left bracket key on the keyboard, hold Alt, Option on the Mac, to
subtract from that selection. I’m going to press Z again, then hold Alt, Option on the
Mac and Zoom Out. Now that I’ve selected the main areas of my
image, I’m going to use the Edge Detection Tool to remove the background and portions
of the image that requires additional refinement, such as the fur around the bear. So I’m going
to click on the Refine Edge Brush, then I’m just going to click and drag around the edge
of the bear to deselect the background around the fur, and notice I’m going fairly quickly
here. What I’m going to do now is bring the Transparency
back to 100 so we can see what we got. And I’m, actually, going to use the black and
white because I really want to see what the mask is looking like. At this point, I can
just click on the Brush Tool, and I’m just going to paint using the plus sign there,
which is essentially the white. The brush is a little hard so I’m just going to right
click and bring the Hardness down, and continue painting on the areas that I know that I’m
going to want to keep. Then I’m going to hold Alt and just remove
the areas that I know I don’t want to keep. I’m going to zoom in and continue removing
these areas. I’m still holding Alt to remove. I’m going to fit everything to screen just
so we can see what we got. And just as a side note, if you’re using the Paintbrush and instead
of using the Add to Selection, you’re using Subtract from Selection, if you want to go
back into the Add to Selection, you can hold Shift and it adds. So if you want to Subtract
to Selection and you hold Alt, nothing will happen. So hold Shift to Add to a Selection.
But I usually like staying on the Add to Selection, and then, hold Alt to Subtract. So now that we’ve refined the selection, I
want to go into the On White view. I want to use some Global Refinements. So, in some
cases, you may want to smooth your selection. In this case, I don’t think it’s necessary,
so I’m just going to leave it at zero. You can Feather it, Contrast, or Shift the edge.
I want to Shift the Edge and I want to do negative values just to remove that outline
that we had around the bear. And, actually, now that the bear is active,
I’m noticing that I’m missing a little piece here, so I’m just going to click on the Brush
Tool and just add to the selection in this area here. You can also press X on the keyboard
to disable the views, but notice what happened here. I started type in X, so in a way I’m
kind of glad that happened, and I’m just going to get out of that and Photoshop is going
to tell me that’s an invalid value, and that’s true, it is. But if I just press Enter on
the keyboard, I’m going to exit out of that, and if I press X this time, I get to see the
original. So I can just toggle between the original and the masked area, just to see
if I’m missing a piece. I’m missing a piece here actually, so I’m just going to paint
that back in. And I’m missing another piece here. Okay and the bear is looking pretty
good. Before we press OK, I just want to mention that these controls here are very similar
to what the Refine Edge and Refine Mask used to be, so we have the Edge Detection here
with the Smart Radius. We have the same sliders. We have the Output Settings as well and, also,
the Decontaminate Colors. And all these options are essentially the
same as to what you had with the Refine Edge. There’s also a lot of Reset button here, in
case you need it, and a Sample All Layers checkbox here, in case the object you’re trying
to select is made up of different layers or something like that. So I’m going to uncheck
this for now and I’m going to press OK. Photoshop then creates a mask. If I need to go back,
I can click on the Layer Mask, and then, click on Select and Mask here on the Properties
panel or you can press Ctrl Alt R, Command Option R, and you’re back. All right, now that I made this mask, I can
enable the forest. I can click on the layer, press V on the keyboard, move my bear and
place him accordingly, right about here, and maybe scale him down a little bit, so I’m
going to click on the pivot point, drag it down to his foot. That’s where I want him
standing, hold Alt Shift, Option Shift on the Mac, and scale in proportion by clicking
and dragging on that corner handle. Position him again and press Enter. And what I’m going
to do now is I’m going to Zoom In so you could see the edge. Notice what good of a job this
feature did masking out the fur on this bear, as you can see in this area. So it looks fairly
convincing. If you notice any mistakes like I’m seeing here, you can just paint with white
on the mask. You don’t have to go back into the Refine and Mask Workspace, so I’m just
going to paint with white here to fill that part in. Now, if I wasn’t explaining what all those
features were, and how all the tools work, then I probably would have completed this
project in half the time. I was a big fan of the Refine Edge and Refine Mask, but I
actually like the Select and Mask a lot more. It’s more useful. The algorithm for making
selections is better. And once again, I’m going to zoom in and you can see the good
job that did here on the fur around the bear. And that’s pretty much it. Let me know what you think about this feature. Leave a comment below. If you enjoy this video then click the like button and share it with a friend. If you’re new to the Photoshop Training Channel, don’t forget to subscribe. Thank you for watching and I’ll talk to you again soon!


  1. Krabbel8beiner June 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm


  2. Marci Potts June 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you so much very informative and you make it easy to understand 🙂

  3. Benjamin Root Photography June 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Nice job, Jesús!

  4. Willian June 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Do you have any specific tutorial that teaches how to match color, illumination and etc to make it look natural when we change the background? So when we look at the picture we won't notice the background has been changed!

  5. Annette Sturgeon June 23, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Excellent! Your instructions are always clearly stated.

  6. Jeff McDougal June 25, 2016 at 5:38 am

    very helpful, thank you for sharing this tutorial

  7. Vince Solomito June 28, 2016 at 3:10 am

    very well done. thank you.

  8. Lisa Knuter-Peach June 28, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Thank you so much! I've recently discovered Refine Edge and panicked when I couldn't find it!

  9. sarah fitzgerald jones July 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Fantastic!!! thank you x x x

  10. Cooler King July 1, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    :)this is not exist in ps cs6 unfortunately

  11. Dave Patterson July 6, 2016 at 12:11 am

    And how is this an improvement over the previous refine edge? I found the previous version much more intuitive…

  12. kaelta July 17, 2016 at 6:12 am

    Thank you! You're a life saver!

  13. Laura Ross July 20, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    I freaked out that they got rid of the old tool. I had no idea until I tried to use it when I was under a tight deadline!

    It's going to take some time to get used to the Select and Mask Workspace, but it seems worthwhile.

  14. Joe Rodriguez July 28, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    At first I was distressed about the missing Refine Edge button but after watching your tutorial, I'm pretty confident that this is a better tool! Thanks so much!

  15. Aizen Z July 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Now When I see PTC video in search results I don't waste my time clicking any other. And in love with this channel. Thanks Sir

  16. Sue Brown August 3, 2016 at 9:05 am

    How can you get the best use from select and mask to replace a complicated sky with lots of foliage and look realistic….

  17. Deborah Saneda August 6, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    This tutorial was easy to follow, so I hope I will stop pouring the loss of the refine edge tool, which I had just mastered.

  18. einasam August 16, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    so much better. thank you for that awesome tutorial!

  19. Liz Neptune August 22, 2016 at 3:16 am

    great explanation, thank you!!

  20. Javier Vargas August 22, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    OMG (TOT) now i have to learn something else. and i am a noob.
    how do i remove background color on hair with this tools like i use to
    do with refine edge tool? Thank you i really appreciate the change…
    this is a nightmare to use.

  21. FLHowe2006 August 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    What version of Photshop are you working in? I have CC 2015. Refine Edge button is still there, but it doesn't work at all. Anything I do it doesn't affect the image. When I try what you describe above, mask is not an option in select and the shortcut you noted doesn't work either.

  22. Vince Lawrence September 1, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Thanks for the info, I was wondering what happen to the refine tool

  23. Karen Elsworth September 1, 2016 at 5:49 am

    This was great but I have a problem sounds stupid but I am a newbie, I could not find out how to get my masked image as a layer so I cant figure out how to put my image into my background I want…! could you suggest how to do this please? I did all the rest which was great thanks !

  24. Breena Taylor September 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I just updated my photoshop and every time I go to use this tool it says Select and mask work space cannot be opened, file not found. Do you know why this is happening, it happens on every picture I try and I have cleared all preferences.

  25. Whiskers2218 October 5, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    thanks for the tutorial, I had no idea how to use the tool and now it feels like I've mastered it

  26. Howard Thompson October 18, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Beautiful. Thank you so much

  27. Syed Furqan Hussain Bukhari October 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks this helps alot

  28. DORCELLE'S EMPIRE October 19, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Great video! How did you get both the bear and the background that you wanted to use on the same screen?

  29. Vanessa D. Graphic Designer October 24, 2016 at 5:22 am


  30. Charlotte Sinclaire November 1, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Totally terrific video. I really needed to know how to use this new tool in a hurry, and your video helped tremendously.

  31. Clive Dexter November 4, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I feel like the Smart Radius behaves differently on Select and Mask than it did on Refine Edge. Am I just imagining that?

  32. Fly Mac December 2, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Great video, thank you very much. How can I turn off the 'written explanation' on the screen – I found it really annoying when I can hear and understand you perfectly well?

  33. Fly Mac December 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I got it! Just click on the box at the bottom R/H/S of the screen "Subtitles/closed captions"

  34. RosencrantzLives December 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

    This dialogue option would be made infinitely better and more versatile if it carried in selections made on screen with the base selection tools. It would barely be intrusive to my process at all if it could do that. (what, pray tell, is the purpose of the old magic wand tool now? Without refine edge it's useless to me lol). If the selection carried into the dialogue box, I could still quickly make flat color selections with one click and feather the edge so it doesn't create that jaggy edged line even with anti-alias turned on.

    I guess I'll have to play with it more. Initially concerned, though. Thank you for the video. Very well made and alleviates SOME concern I have for the replacement tool.

  35. Dileep Bhargav December 19, 2016 at 3:09 am

    this is the best tutorial with less duration and more information. you did the best,awesome thank you so much

  36. PHONG VO December 20, 2016 at 7:47 am

    god. it so awesome :)) thank you alot

  37. Michele Grey January 6, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Great tut!

  38. Michael Alberti January 6, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Great job! What a relief after suffering through 3-4 other crappy tutorials.

  39. Photoshop Training Channel January 12, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Since the recording of this video, Adobe has added the ability to bring back the old Refine Mask back by holding Shift then going to Select > Mask (make sure that a layer mask is selected).

  40. Pedro Oliveira January 16, 2017 at 1:41 am

    very good tutorial! Congrats!

  41. Norm Saagman January 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    How are you scaling down the size of the bear?

  42. Helene Guertin January 25, 2017 at 12:10 am

    I see the transparency in the small view under the under the property title, but it does not show on the big screan like yours does. And I cant see it well

  43. Graham Bell January 31, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Quick and easy, good one.

  44. Margaret Parker February 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    this has been driving me batty for two weeks – thank goodness I saw a link to this video. You rock!

  45. Keith Andrews February 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    Excellent tutorial, very clear & comprehensive, it's more in depth than Scott Kelby's select & mask tutorial, which is some achievement as Scott is one of my 'go to' guys for most things #photoshop, thanks for the tutorial.

  46. PAUL SCH March 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    This is amazing. Have watched this tut several times to get all details in my head. I am doing fine now with the refine edge tool. Thanks a lot.
    (The Netherlands)

  47. 0075KP March 22, 2017 at 2:33 am

    I need help, I'm doing everything to the letter and it still doesn't work for me.

  48. Lynn at North London Photography April 4, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Thank you for this! I upgraded with about a zillion photos to edit and was slightly freaked that refine edge was gone…

  49. Straight July 12, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Really helpful thank you.

  50. Sergio Sotomayor Prat August 17, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Great, as usual, Jesús. A second clear, comprensible and extended explanation I've found for this cumbersome new feature. To your knowledge, a colleague in has done another oustanding exposition. Thanks for benefits I´ve received.

  51. Vlade Past December 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    And you fucekrs all the same! Taking an easy high contrast subject to background pictures to work with.

  52. Maija Biene February 5, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Can't find the same picture for my tutorial. 🙁 for practice

  53. Art Altman March 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Best explanation I've found, thanks for doing this!

  54. Brendan Reilly March 18, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    thanks for sharing it did help a lot thanks again

  55. Lengo67 April 1, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for this. I got busy trying it right away, and yes! This is a good improvement in Photoshop CC 2018

  56. Nick Cuccia May 11, 2018 at 7:53 am

    My life is changed forever. Thanks for this one!!

  57. Sandra Schultz August 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    great tutorial altho you spoke very fast. I had to repeat many steps. Thanks

  58. Jon Seals February 5, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    I'm an old guy who has been cutting out images with the lasso tool for decades. This seems like an awful lot of complicated steps. Can't you just lasso most items then refine the edges?

    Thanks for these videos. Like I said, I've been doing this a long time but there is always something to learn. I appreciate your work.

  59. NetTubeUser April 23, 2019 at 1:33 am

    This white background is killing my eyes, but thank you for this video.

  60. Michael Breskin August 12, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Thank You Jesus!

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