Getting Familiar with Perfect Mask
Once your layered image is set to go, save it as a PSD, then highlight the top layer (the one to be masked), and choose File > Automate > Perfect Mask. This opens the image into the Perfect Mask window, which is arranged very much like Photoshop, with a Toolbar at left and a series of panels at right that include a Loupe/Navigator, Mask Adjustments, and Color selection options (Figure 4). I’ve also opened the Inspector in this shot, which provides contextual options for each tool in the Toolbar. You can open it by clicking on the “i” button at the button of the Toolbar. At the very bottom left is a pop-up menu that lets you define how you view your mask changes. I usually leave this set to “Composite” instead of showing a grayscale mask or using overlays.
Figure 4 The Perfect Mask interface is easy to learn for anyone who is familiar with Photoshop.
There are multiple workflows available in Perfect Mask, allowing you to approach the process of removing or hiding pixels in different ways, using different combinations of tools. Rather than cover all of them, I’d like to show you what is not only the most precise method, but also for images that aren’t overly complex in terms of the color scheme, probably the fastest method. We will use a combination of the Keep Color Eyedropper, the Drop Color Eyedropper, the Magic Brush, and the Refine Brush (Figure 5), in tandem with the Color panel.
Figure 5 The Magic Brush, Refine Brush, and Eyedropper tools can be used to accurately and quickly remove skies or other photo elements with relatively uniform color patterns.