by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2014
Sharpening remains something of a closed book for many and any simplification will be welcomed. Even so, the sharpening mode has quite a lot of options to work with, the headlines of which are:
This masking tool has always been well regarded and has remained unchanged since its introduction many years ago (other than presumably recoding for 64-bit operation). Although the masking and Refine Edge tools of Photoshop have been enhanced, the advantage of Perfect Mask is the ability to select 'keep' colours and 'drop' colours, which can simplify some (but not all ) tasks. In the example shown, the keepers are mainly the dark blue-blacks of the crow and the drops are the sand and shell colours.
The patches of dark tone in the background sand have to be dealt with manually, but that is the nature of the task. The fluffy feathers behind the crow's legs were particularly well masked and trimmed out.
As we have found with all real-life masking, manual intervention on an alpha channel is usually required but Perfect Mask still provides a sound base from which to start.
The program remains vulnerable to crashes and it did see off Photoshop CS5 at one stage but seemed more stable using Photoshop Creative Cloud. The ability to flick back and forth between Perfect Mask and Photoshop was useful, especially when you wish to check out masks in more familiar territory. However, if you do not have Photoshop then Perfect Mask provides a high level of sophistication, plus a bit more.
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