Trying to get a Perfect SELECTION (Select and Mask or Refine Edge)

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dperez Regular Member • Posts: 315
Trying to get a Perfect SELECTION (Select and Mask or Refine Edge)

I initially posted this in the Adobe Photoshop forum, but it got lost, and now found, but I"m not getting any good ideas over there.  It's a bit long because of the images, but...

I haven't read and watched all umpteen hundred hours of video and text tutorials on the new Refine Edge tool, so there may be something obvious I'm missing, but...

I’ve got a niggling, annoying Select and Mask question (or a Refine Edge question).

I have an image. It’s a building so it has good clean edges. And a bad sky. I want to drop in a sky, which in this case is easy – do a selection of the sky, refine it a bit with the lasso tool where needed, then expend the selection by 1 or 2 pixels and create a mask. Put on the sky layer, copy the mask voila, looks perfect, no halo, no nothing…

Now I have a real image. Of a perching bird. Same problem with the bad sky. Except now I DON’T have nice, clean edges ‘cause of the feathers.

So I decide to use the Select and Mask, make a solid selection inside the bird, then open S&M and use the Refine Edge brush to make the selection “perfect” and retain those tiny feather areas and such.

Do a New Layer with Layer Mask then use the brush in Overlay mode to give me good strong edge on the mask.

Drop in the sky, put the sky layer in place, things look PRETTY good. ‘Til I look at it at 100%, where I can see the halo.

Very narrow - appears to be about 1-2 px wide, but it's very visible at 100%. Retried Select and Mask and fiddled with it - made no improvement doing a move edge a tiny bit. Took the cleaned up mask and tried putting a gaussian blur on the edge - at .5, 1.0 and 2.0 px. Just made the edge worse.

Took the mask and selected the white area with a tolerance of 50 and contiguous off so I'd get the best selection possible. Then did a Select Reduce 1 px to move the selection in and brushed black on the 1 px edge. It works, but I lose all the fine feathers.

I'm out of simple ideas. The only thing I can think of at this point is to do a selection of the bird, contract it 1 px, then do a CLONE in the edges where there aren't any feathers out and get rid of the halo in those areas. But, I figure there's GOTTA be a better way that I'm missing...

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