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Thread: Pen Tool Clipping vs (Masking Program)

  1. #1

    Default Pen Tool Clipping vs (Masking Program)

    I am wondering about the difference between the pen tool and something like Mask Pro or Topaz Remask or (Insert Masking Program Name Here). Seeing this, have you tried using programs like these and still find the pen tool better.

    I am just curious.

    Tom Q

  2. #2

    Default I understand that but the pen tool....

    Is so hard to master.

    I have just done a cutout that took about an hour with the pen tool and when I placed her on a grey background it showed places I had missed.

    I then real quickly tried Topaz Remask 3 (Not promoting it here just what I have) and in about 5 minutes, I got a better masked that what I did on a seamless background. The hair, I have to go back and look at the video and re-attempt that. Remask does not work as good as what I saw in the video.

    HOW THE HECK DO YOU MASTER THIS PEN TOOL. I am working at it and yes this is my second day of pen tooling and I am getting a little better but holy cow.

    Tom Q

  3. #3
    Elite Member - Silver clintdavis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Los Angeles, CA


    Hey studiotq,
    As far as i'm concerned the pen tool is bar none the best tool to use when clipping out edges that are well defined (like skin, wood, basically anything solid). If i'm working on an important image where time is not a big issue, i break out the pen tool right away. This is my professional observation. When working super detailed, the pen tool is absolutely used from movie posters, to national car ads, to magazine covers. It's super precise and the path is saved forever with the image. I cannot stress enough that you must learn how to use this tool to vastly elevate your compositing skills.

    Best way I can explain HOW to use the pen tool is to click, hold, and draaaag the mouse like you're making a curved bridge. The more you drag it, the more of a curve you will have. I go over in good detail in the first chapter.

    I do admit clipping out a person with hair is not an amateur photoshop task. I see soooooooooooooo many shoddy clipping jobs even in national magazines, so don't feel too discouraged if it's hard to master the pen tool. Keep at it, and when you do get it right, you'll have a control/skill that many photographers/retouchers don't possess.
    Mastering Compositing DVD author

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