Photoshop Tutorial: Fine-tuning Selections with Select and Mask

In Adobe Photoshop, accurate selections are crucial for various editing tasks, including removing backgrounds, masking elements, and creating composites. While Photoshop offers various selection tools, the refine edge capabilities of the Select and Mask workspace provide a comprehensive and versatile solution for fine-tuning selections.

What You’ll Need:

Opening the Select and Mask Workspace:

  1. Open the image you want to edit.
  2. Select the area you want to refine using any selection tool, such as the Quick Selection Tool, Magic Wand Tool, or Lasso Tool.
  3. Go to “Select” > “Refine Edge” to open the Select and Mask workspace.

Refining Edges with the Quick Selection Tool:

  1. If you used the Quick Selection Tool, you can further refine the selection by using the tools in the Quick Mask Mode panel.
  2. Use the Brush Tool to remove any unwanted areas from the selection.
  3. Use the Eraser Tool to add to the selection.
  4. Click the “Refine Edge” button to access the refine edge controls.

Adjusting Edge Feather:

  1. The “Feather” slider determines the softness of the selection edges.
  2. A higher feather value creates smoother, less defined edges.
  3. Use the “Preview” button to see the effect of the feathering in real-time.

Enhancing Edge Contrast:

  1. The “Contract” and “Expand” sliders adjust the contrast between the selected area and the surrounding pixels.
  2. Contracting the selection will reduce the amount of outside pixels included in the selection, while expanding the selection will add more outside pixels.

Adjusting Smoothness and Fidelity:

  1. The “Smoothness” slider controls the sharpness of the edge transition.
  2. A higher smoothness value creates a softer edge transition.
  3. The “Fidelity” slider controls the detail preservation along the edge.
  4. A higher fidelity value preserves more fine detail along the edge.

Refining with Advanced Tools:

  1. The “Refine Radius” tool allows you to interactively adjust the selection’s edge by dragging it around the edges.
  2. The “Smooth” and “Sharpen” tools let you refine the selection by dragging along the edges.
  3. The “Redefine Edge” button allows you to refine the edge using brush strokes.

Masking with Refined Selection:

  1. Once you’re satisfied with the refined selection, click the “Refine Mask” button to close the Select and Mask workspace.
  2. The selection will be converted into a mask, which you can use to control the application of adjustments or effects to the image.


The Select and Mask workspace provides powerful tools for refining selections in Adobe Photoshop. By adjusting feather, contrast, smoothness, and fidelity, you can create precise and natural-looking selections for a variety of editing tasks. Embrace the Select and Mask workspace to elevate your selection refinement skills and enhance the quality of your edits.

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