Choose a Photoshop Refine Edge Preview Method - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

The improved Refine Edge feature in Adobe Photoshop CS5 lets you preview what your changes look like as you make them. It’s available on the Options bar across the top of the Photoshop window whenever a selection tool is active.

To use the Refine Edge feature, follow these steps:

  1. Make a selection.

  2. With any selection tool active, click the Refine Edge button on the Options bar at the top of the Photoshop window.

    The Refine Edge dialog box appears.

    Tweak the edges of a selection with the Refine Edge dialog box.
    Tweak the edges of a selection with the Refine Edge dialog box.

Choose a preview method by selecting the View drop-down menu at the top of the Refine Edge dialog box. On White is the default setting, and it shows your selection as it would appear on a white background. Don’t worry! The rest of your image hasn’t been removed; this preview helps you better see the effects of this feature.

This list describes the other selections you can choose from the View menu of the Refine Edge dialog box:

  • Marching Ants: Shows the marquee selection with no image masked.

  • Overlay: Shows the default, slightly transparent mask. It’s typically red unless you have changed the mask color.

  • On Black: Reveals black around the masked area.

  • Black and White: Reveals the masked area as black and the non-masked area as white. This option is helpful if you want to see only the mask and not the image area.

  • On Layers: Bound to be the most popular view if you’re creating composites. From this view, you can see the layers and how they’re affected by your selection.

  • Reveal Layer: Reveals the entire layer, with no indication where the selection is. Take advantage of this view if you think you might be cutting out important content.

You can cycle through views by pressing F, or disable the view by pressing X.