Focus area selection
Bells and whistles and Adobe came up with a brand new version of Photoshop CC now renamed to the rather strange Photoshop CC (2014). They try to erase the versions by having us subscribing to a permanent newest version by having a clumsy naming. Now with annual numbers. Anyway. Stream is out and now to the really really good goodie stuff in the new version. The Focus Area function. Some call it Focus Mask but the true name is Focus Area. The function is placed in the select menu. Because its a true selection tool.
What Focus Area selection do:
Very simple. The thought is that the machine should be able to automatically select all sharp pixels in a image. So this Focus Area tool is build for images with something in a blurred background. Next question: How good is it? Answer: It’s really good! Lets have a closer look.
Focus Area on an image well defined field of depth.
Basically, you just enter the function and let the automation do the gritty work. The image has sharpness from the book to the shoulders of the model. The background is all out of focus and thus blurred.
Here is the result. A really good job for further work in refine edges. Clearly we have a new SOLID function in addition to the usual suspects. Beautiful! Cake walk!
Now lets have a look at something without that clear boundaries.
Focus Area on an image with difficult edges
Now here is the image: Not everything on this photo is in focus. Some of the leaves are blurry.
The Focus Area automation comes out with this rather spoiled suggestion for a selection:
However, we can improve the range by changing the parameters in the “in-focus range” option (highlighted yellow). That might get you a better starting point for the fine tuning.
Fine Tuning Focus Mask
When you need to help the automation to a better life you will go for the pencil tools in the function menu: The focus area add tool and the focus area subtract tool. Paint on the areas you need to include and erase (with the subtract tool) areas that messes your selection up. Use the preview options to see what is selected and not and what you have in the image.
When the selection is in tha box you need to calibrate the dude a bit. The “soften edge” function is actually good for getting the rugged edges to relax a bit more:
Next step after Focus Area?
Is not “OK”. It’s “Refine Edge” where you calibrate the rest and creates a selection that will make your mum and dad proud and colleagues will find your work having a unusual better quality than ever seen before 😉
Good luck with the use of the very solid Focus Area – we like!