The Magic Wand Tool or the Quick Selection Tool can make general selections fast and easy. But they’re not 100 percent precise and you’ll often have uneven and jagged edges. Unmesh Dinda (aka PiXimperfect) shares some quick tips to fix this and make selections very precise. With a couple of “hidden” sliders, you can make your selections far more accurate and do it in a matter of minutes.
Start by using the Quick Selection tool and paint on the object you want to select. Hold Alt/Option to paint away any areas the tool may have selected accidentally. When this is done, click on the Mask icon to create a layer mask.
The selection might look okay when you create the mask. But if you want to check it, do the following: add a black Solid Color adjustment layer and put it under your current layer. When you zoom in, you will see the imperfections and that the edge is jagged and unnatural. This is when the “magic sliders” come onto the scene.
Select the mask of the layer where you made the selection and go to “Select and Mask” inside the Properties panel. Here, you get to adjust the sliders to refine the selection in no time.
First, you can drag the Smooth slider just so you tone down the jagged edge. After this, increase the Feather a bit, to the point when everything looks even. It will select a bit more than you wanted, but at this point, you just want everything to look even. And when it does, just increase the Contrast. When you do this, the selection will become sharp. If you still think a little extra is selected, you can drag the Shift Edge slider to the left.
If you want to fix the selection further, you can use the Brush Tool and paint on the layer mask with white to reveal more of the object.
Unmesh shares an extra tip: you can create a new layer and clip it to the layer you’re masking (hold Alt/Option and click on the line between the two layers). Now use a Clone Stamp tool and improve some details within the selection.
Here’s the final result:
Although some photos demand that you spend more time making selections, this method can still be useful from time to time, and it will make your editing workflow much faster.