Photoshop Select Subject tool… an all-new video tutorial.
Photoshop recently released a new selection tool to make our “selection” process easier. It’s called the Select Subject.
This new selection tool is being touted as a 1-click selection tool. Almost sounds too good to be true.
So, is the Select Subject tool as good as it sounds? Almost.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use the new Select Subject tool, how it works and its limitations. Yes, it does have limitations.
In order to use the tool, you’ll need to make sure your version of Photoshop is up-to-date. You’ll need at least version 19.1 or higher.
Before starting, update Photoshop if needed. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to use the new Select Subject tool.
- The Select Subject tool has built-in Artificial Intelligence and is used to determine where your subject(s) are within the photo. One of the ways it does this is by analyzing the contrast of the image and will determine the subject(s) based on that contrast.
- The other way it finds your subject is based on sharpness. The sharpness, of the elements within the photo, will help Photoshop find your subject(s). Photoshop can “see” that the background is blurred out vs. the foreground. Based on this, Photoshop will then select the “subject” that is in focus.
Sounds great in theory. But, does it actually work? Let’s find out…
It doesn’t take long for Photoshop to analyze your photo and make the selection. Chances are good that Photoshop found your subject and selected it. Pretty cool am I right?
Upon further inspection, you may notice that the selection isn’t perfect. It rarely is.
Once selected, you may find the edges have a hard edge (pixelated).
In this case, it’s best to refine the edge with the Select & Mask option. To make the edge selection more realistic you’ll have to feather the edges.
When using the Select Subject tool, with a photo like this, it will make the selection just as well as with the Magic Wand Tool. But, chances are it will do so much more quickly.
The other thing is the Select Subject tool is not perfect. If we take a closer look we can see that part of the white background was selected too. If you’re trying to remove the watch from the white background you’ll need to remove from part of the selection.
This can be done with the Magic Wand tool. To remove from the selection, grab the Magic Wand tool, hold down your Alt/Option key and click in the area that needs to be removed from the selection. Again, fairly easy with a non-complex background.
Although the Select Subject made the selection in 1-click it’s not a 1-click-and-done selection tool. You’ll still need to refine the selection edge and/or add/remove from the selection as needed.
Let’s check out how the Select Subject tool works with a more complex background and foreground.
Is the Select Subject tool going to select both mushrooms, the one in the foreground or the one in the background?
Let’s find out…
Once the Select Subject tool is activated, it does it’s thing and…
…it selected the mushroom that was most in focus. How cool is that? I love it!
This time, the Select Subject tool determined the mushroom, that was in focus, was the “subject” and made the selection accordingly.
Let’s see what happens when we have multiple subjects in focus.
Hmmm, wonder what Photoshop is going to select this time.
Well, low-and-behold, the Select Subject tool selects exactly what I was hoping for… both the kids!
Even though the wall is in focus too, it’s not as sharp as the 2 kids and Photoshop determines it’s not part of the “subject”.
The new Select Subject tool is pretty smart. Wouldn’t you agree?
But, just like in previous examples, the selection isn’t perfect. I’ll need to go in and refine the selection and add/remove from it. Then, I’ll need to feather the edges.
The Select Subject tool is not a 1-click and done selection tool. However, it’s very intelligent and provides a very quick selection as a starting point.
I bet you’ll be using the Select Subject tool more so vs. the other selection tools. In fact, I highly recommend using it as a starting point.
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