Short Report: The Perfect Cut

The technique of masking usually involves neck-straining precision and a tedious amount of time refining your edges to get the perfect outline. This requires a variety of brushes or selection tools and loads of time to get right. That’s where software like Vertus Fluid Mask 3 can drastically cut down on the time you spend masking.

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Masking isn’t just for those occasions when you want to remove your ex from the vacation photos. Many common photo edits, such as sharpening or tonal adjustments, occasionally need to be isolated to a specific part of an image. Fluid Mask 3 works as either a stand-alone program or a plug-in for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and other apps that accept Photoshop plug-ins. Launch the software, choose your desired image to mask, and the plug-in takes a few seconds to assess the image. Fluid Mask 3 uses a sophisticated algorithm to find every edge detail in your photograph. It intelligently groups and isolates areas that you then can decide to keep or leave out of the final mask.

Fluid Mask 3 takes a lot of the tedium and eyestrain out of making precise masks for isolated adjustments or creative compositing in your images.

To get the most precise outline, you have three sets of different brushes with which to work to further refine the mask, as well as a Brush Size slider to choose the size of the brushes. Each brush has a different strength and purpose to make it easier to get the results you want. You also get other advanced tools, such as patches that allow you to mask problematic areas like hair—if you’ve ever tried to mask your subject’s hair manually,you know how difficult this is. A new Color Sampler tool lets you create a mask from any color you choose. Although not inexpensive at $239, if you create masks frequently, and especially if you use them to cut out subjects or replace backgrounds, Fluid Mask 3 is worth the investment. Contact: Vertus, (877) 558-3788,

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