Yes, you can mask without cutting your actual image (also known as non-destructive editing). By adding a layer mask in Photoshop before invoking ReMask, your changes will be made to your layer mask and will preserve your original image. The benefit of this, of course, is that your original image remains intact. Also, you can later remove the layer mask entirely – if desired.

You can enable the layer mask feature manually or automatically. Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

To use the manual workflow, go to your Layers palette in Photoshop and make sure that the image layer you want to mask is selected. Then look at the bottom of the Layers Palette for the “Add Layer Mask” button (it is a shaded square with a white circle in the middle). Once you click on this button, you will see a white square (represents the layer mask) added to the right of your image thumbnail in your layers palette.

Be sure that the image thumbnail (not the mask thumbnail) is selected before invoking ReMask.

Then go into ReMask and follow your normal masking workflow. Once you click “OK” to save your work back to Photoshop, it will save your cutout to the layer mask that you previously applied.

To use the automatic workflow, go to your Menu -> Preference in ReMask and click the box next to “Enable Use-Layer-Mask”. So now, whenever you go to Filter -> Topaz Labs and select ReMask, a layer mask will automatically added to your image layer before the ReMask interface opens. Then in ReMask follow your normal masking workflow, and once you click “OK” to save your work back to Photoshop, it will save your cutout to the layer mask that was automatically applied.

Masked image with changes saved to layer mask.

This post was originally posted on February 12, 2011

Yes, the new ReMask 3.1 allows you to save your mask / tri-map mid-workflow…making the masking process with ReMask even more flexible and easy to work with. This new save option is found in your ReMask menu. So let’s take a look at it.

So if you are in the middle of the masking process and want to save your tri-map/mask currently in progress so that you can return at a later time, simply go to Menu -> Save.

Name your file and select a safe place on your computer to save the file.

Your saved tri-map/mask will be saved as a .tiff and will appear in this format

Later, when you are ready to finish up your image, you can load that previously saved tri-map/mask to finish your editing. To do this simply open the original image file (Must be the original image with the same file name and also is Not your saved ReMask tiff) in Photoshop (or your other compatible editing program) and invoke ReMask. Once ReMask opens go to Menu -> Load and select your saved tri-map/mask that you saved to your computer in the .tiff format

Please note that you Must have the original image that pairs up with the selected mask in order to load it. If your loaded image does not match up to the tri-map/mask that you are trying to load then you will see the message below:

After that, you can complete your mask/extraction in ReMask and then click OK to save it back to Photoshop. From there you can make any additional adjustments or enhancements you desire.

This post was originally posted on February 4, 2011

For me, working with ReMask has been the quickest and easiest way to achieve my masking needs for selective adjustments and background replacement. However, I’m sure you will agree, that the faster and better your tools work, the quicker you can get off the computer and get back to shooting. So today I want to share a few tricks with you, that I use in my personal workflow, on how to speed up the ReMask 3 masking process.

A little background information….
ReMask is able to create masks and extractions be analyzing the colors in each of the three selections (red, green and blue) you make when creating your tri-map. So the more colors you sample the better your initial mask will be.

My workflow tips:
1. I make it a habit to sample as many colors in my image as red (cut) or green (keep) when creating my tri-map…this also means less refining at the end.

2. I use a smaller brush size when making my blue outline…it doesn’t have to be precise but smaller tends to work better for me.

3. I also mark red or green in areas with gaps or openings (where the background shows through….I call it dead space). Such as between branches and fingers. Thus minimizing the amount of blue in my tri-map.

So when I am marking more of my image as red or green, I am essentially limiting the amount of blue (compute) selection in my image. The reason behind this is that:

An abundance of blue may result in longer tri-map processing times
An abundance of blue often leaves more areas in need of refining at the end

This example shows my tri-map results when using a larger blue outline with more green and red selections. As you can see, my initial results are OK, but there is a lot more refinement to be done.
 

This example shows my tri-map results when using a smaller blue outline with more green and red selections. As you can see my initial results are more precise and there is less refinement to be done.
Now, if you are working on smaller images, then there is a second way that you can also speed up the computing process…this is found in your Menu -> Preferences. Here you will find a high / low quality compute option.

Using the High Quality (slow) option will process your larger images slower, however your final processed image will have better quality. The default setting (when unchecked) is Draft qual ity (fast) which will process your larger images faster, however you could see blurring or distortion of fine edges.

Happy Masking!
This post was originally posted on January 14, 2011

Masking hair can be really tricky, but the new ReMask 3 offers some very helpful tools to help you tackle the hair challenge. This week I teamed up with our friend Greg to offer some insight into the difficult task of hair masking using ReMask 3. Checkout the new ReMask 3 Hair tutorial here.

For more masking help please also checkout the ReMask 3 workflow tips. Happy Masking!

This post was originally posted on January 7, 2011

We are always looking to add user images to our Topaz User Gallery and to feature on our website. To submit your Topaz’d images to the Topaz Gallery please email them to: Gallery [at] topazlabs.com. If your images are product-specific then please put the product name in Subject line. Please also include your full name and website (if available).

From time-to-time we will also take the most popular user images from on our Facebook or Flickr groups pages…so be sure to keep posting! We are looking forward to seeing your images!

If you haven’t had a chance to explore the Topaz Gallery check it out here: http://gallery.topazlabs.com/

This post was originally posted on December 3, 2010