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Quick Mask Tutorial With Commercial Photographer Michael Herb

When it comes to compositing, the most tedious part of the Photoshop workflow to me has to be the extracting of objects from the background. With so many different ways to extract a subject: the pen tool, the lasso tool, refine edge, or Fluid Mask, it can be hard to find the technique that best suits your workflow. Commercial and editorial photographer Michael Herb has recently released an amusing quick mask tutorial that might just be the thing to get you out of your compositing rut.


You can find more of Michael's work below:

Michael Herb's website
Facebook Page
Youtube Channel 

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Timothy Jace's picture

Thanks for sharing!

georgemuresan's picture

I'm sorry but the method is poor, eventually you get to spend as long as you spend with Pen Tool.

Pinups N Lace's picture

Thank you. This is much faster than what ever I was doing.

Michael Miller's picture

Quick selection tool, refine edge. Done. You should be able to do a knock out in less than 2 minutes and that is not an exaggeration. That includes detailed hair knock outs.

Quick selection + refine edge can do an ok job, but I havent ever encountered a time yet where it does a good enough job to just depend on that. I find most of the time it has trouble with low contrast areas and while it is much better with hair than any predecessor tool I am usually pretty disappointed by how poorly it does. In order to do a good composite it can definitely be a great tool along the way but is only a first step in a complex process.

Michael Miller's picture

Don't know what to tell you. I use the same technique Joel Grimes uses.

Tobias Solem's picture

It depends on how well you have prepared the shot. Blonde hair and bright clothing against a black background makes it really easy. If it's a middle-grey clothed, brownish hair, with a busy background in the same tonal area. Then yeah, it'll be rough. It is what happens before photoshop that really makes masking easy or hard.

Carmelo V.'s picture

There are way faster ways to get good looking results...
Like working on channels...

Michael Herb's picture

I agree. This way just works for me the best. Maybe I just like to torture myself.

Lubin Tasevski's picture

I did learn a few shortcuts, which was nice, but as mentioned there are other quicker options, and it all depends on the image. I also like the option of selecting color range for times when the background color is completely different than the object you want to remove, such as when working with green screen. That's not perfect too. Often I use multiple techniques to refine things quickly. It's good to know each technique as there is some usefulness at different times.

Calvin Hollywood's picture

Thanks for sharing but not the fastest and best way. The image is great!

lg calvin

John_Skinner's picture

I'm on with Calvin.. His method is 100% and faster. His tutorials on grey background masking are incredible and flawless. All hail Calvin !!

mingyang sun's picture

That's one comfortable sofa he is sitting on...............

Nick Carranza's picture

Anyone else get the impression that the photograph was of a guy on the toilet after a hair dryer had fallen into it? Overall liked the tutorial, thanks for sharing.

Corporate photographer's picture

I did not know about using a quick mask- great tip

lazy guys here i see!

Tom Griffiths Photo's picture

Such a good video. I actually came up against an irritating mask just a day before this, so it's a god send !