Testing Out Photoshop CC’s New Select Subject Tool

This week, Adobe released an update to Photoshop CC that features a new selection tool capable of automatically selecting the prominent subjects in an image with only one click. This video does an excellent job of revealing exactly what you get with this new technology and how to use it to its full potential.

In his latest video, Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect approached the Select Subject tool from a neutral point of view. He selected a handful of images that he felt would give him an idea of how well the tool worked in different scenarios. He then ran them through the selection tool and noted where it worked well and where it didn't. Dinda specifically chose images with difficult hair selections, busy backgrounds, pictures where the background looked similar to the subject, and even photos with animals or motorcycles instead of people. On top of this, he reveals a few tips to help get an accurate selection of different types of images. 

While the Select Subject tool isn’t perfect, I’ll admit that I am pleasantly surprised at its accuracy. In most cases, it gives you an excellent starting point that is easy to adjust to get the selection you need. Seeing it hands on in many different situations has convinced me that it is capable of doing the work I would need from it in the majority of scenarios. This test was perfect to examine Adobe’s latest upgrades, and in my opinion, it passed the test exceptionally well for a first version. If you have had a chance to try out Photoshop’s new tool, let me know about your experience with it in the comments.

Levi Keplar's picture

Levi Keplar is a wedding and portrait photographer and educator. He currently owns and operates his studio, Katie & Levi Photography, with his wife and is based in the Wichita, Kansas area. He has a passion for both the technical and the business sides of photography and helping others to grow in those areas as well.

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Oh my gosh.
It's the perfect guy to present those features.
He's also that dude who shows you "how to soften skin in 1min". It always sucks what he does!
Sorry, for being such a hater.
He says "it does a pretty good job" and "we can clean up that selection later".
If I'd use that method for any client I have as a retoucher, I would lose that client immediately.
Please Fstoppers, don't spread those tutorials which are promising to show you "awesome results in 1 min" or something like that. I consider Fstoppers as a source of professional content. And this dude is not a professional. He's just a youtuber giving the masses what they ask for.

Truth be told, He just explained the theme of this function and, left the things we need to dig deeper into premium service. :)

Nice jagged edges unless the person is on a flat background. Refine tool just blurs the edges to hide that crap. I'll stick with the pen tool but thanks for the one new feature that I will ignore and thank yourselves for changing to subscription model because I would never upgrade for this. The best NEW feature is that they finally fixed window sizing this week so now I'm not going blind to see the anchor points with the pen tool. That's worth celebrating.

Good stuff. This guys cracks me up. I want to content aware his eyebrows though haha

A few years down the road, probably around the time truck, bus, cabbie, etc. are made obsolete by driverless vehicles, so too will all print and web production retouching be a completely automated production...

While I agree that this tool is (at the moment) complete crap on busy backgrounds I find myself often in the situation to photograph people on a neutral grey background for composing shots for movie and tv posters.
We take take great effort to make the background as evenly lit and neutral as possible I would see this new tool as a good basis for a "first selection". Of course I go in and do lots of refinements. But even saving time on this first selection is a good start if you have to extract 10-20 images.

And I guess this is the beginning. Like @Spy Black writes - in a few years a lot of these painstaking (and boring) methods will be automated. And I appreciate that because I can take more time for the creative part of constructing an image composite.

That uni brow though :x

Brilliant, I appreciate the AI function of Photoshop CC 2018. It will reduce the enormous of time and effort to remove busy BG from images.

I have updated my cc, and the “select subject” tab is nowhere to be found—on the tool bar, or if I click on the “select” dropdown menu. Any suggestions? Thanks, alll!