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Author Topic: Fluid Mask... anyone use it and can give us a review?  (Read 7069 times)

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« on: January 04, 2008, 09:58 »
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I saw yingyang0 mention this Photoshop plugin in another thread so I googled it.  Looks like it could save me hours and hours of tedious isolating but it comes at quite a big price tag... over $200.  I'll give the free trial a run when I get home this evening but would love to hear anyone's experience with it.

Thanks in advance.


« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 10:24 »
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Well I'll give you my impression. It's great for more simple isolation. I've tried to get the mushroom image below accepted once before and had it rejected. I used fluid mask and they accepted it (since I'm exclusive It takes a couple hours for accept/reject decisions). That being said I've found that for more difficult images, examples would be people with hair or animals, there is a steeper learning curve and I haven't mastered it yet. I like it, but since I have little to no skills in photoshop a plug-in that is easy to use and is as simple as color by number this one appealed to me. The auto feathering is a huge plus. The isolation below took 1 minute from raw to finished jpg. The original was shot on white but had a harsh shadow.

Here is why I got it. I wanted to do some isolations but I don't have the skills to in photoshop to do them. For me microstock is just a hobby so financial considerations don't really come into play (cost vs. benefit analysis isn't in my equation). I have huge time constraints for photography so a tool like this is worth it to me. Hopefully I'll have time this weekend to study the tutorials and learn to do the more tricky isolations.


« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 10:31 »
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Thanks so much for your initial evaluation.  I can definitely understand your reasoning behind getting it.  Although I do have intermediate photoshop skills I have some pretty big time constraints at this point in my life so this could be a real time saver.  I honestly find it a bit sad that I utilize most of my vacation time from work slogging away at stock instead of on some tropical island so any extra hours I can get back will be a big plus. ;D I would love to hear your continued evaluations as you become more familiar with it.  Thanks again.

« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2008, 10:32 »
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I tried it but apart for very complex isolations (like fur or hair) I far prefer using a clipping path in PS which is also very welcomed by designers (just SS doesn't retain the clipping path in its Jpegs).

Once you get accostumed to the clipping path it's also pretty fast to do and you can easily avoid the jagged edges of other methods, plus you can easily cut out effectively areas with very similar colors (like a faint shadow on white). I had no more rejection for poor isolations once I mastered a bit the clipping paths.

P.S.: a definitive plus is that it's also free once you already have PS.

« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2008, 10:36 »
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Thanks for the input ale1969.  Actually, I already use clipping paths in my current work flow.  It definitely made a huge difference for me when I began using them... but I would love something quicker and easier if a method exists, hence my interest in Fluid Mask.  I imagine that each have their place based on complexity of the image and I will likely continue to use clipping paths for certain subjects.

« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2008, 10:37 »
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I have just downloaded a free 14 day trial version. Well, it requires to use a brush, but I am not an artist. my drawing skill are bad, on the other had Penn tool is much easier since the cures are done
automatically and not by your hand. For artists, yes, Fluid Mask probably better, for others use Pen tool.

vhpoto


« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2008, 10:42 »
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I have just downloaded a free 14 day trial version. Well, it requires to use a brush, but I am not an artist. my drawing skill are bad, on the other had Penn tool is much easier since the cures are done
automatically and not by your hand. For artists, yes, Fluid Mask probably better, for others use Pen tool.

vhpoto
You use the brush to select areas, no painting or drawing skills are required! How can someone offer a review before trying it?

I say this because I am the world's worst painter (maybe for the exception of jackson pollock).
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 10:45 by yingyang0 »

« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 10:47 »
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I have tried it. to paint over one still have to be very precise (manually) at the borders/edges.

vphoto


« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2008, 11:03 »
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I have tried it. to paint over one still have to be very precise (manually) at the borders/edges.

vphoto
I'm sorry, but that's where we disagree. It took me a long time to try the pen tool with the curves on the mushroom package and IS still rejected it, whereas a 1 minute process with the masker was accepted. Of course it takes more time with harder images but so far both vphoto and ale1969 haven't shown examples of where they used the pen tool for hair. Fluid mask has lots and lots of examples of it being used for hair.

« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2008, 11:16 »
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I shoot food images and cooks wear hats. so no need for me to isolate hair :)

vhpoto


« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 13:08 »
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I shoot food images and cooks wear hats. so no need for me to isolate hair :)
What about kiwi's?  ;D

« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2008, 13:12 »
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I shave them before shooting :)

vphoto

« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2008, 14:12 »
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I tried it but apart for very complex isolations (like fur or hair) I far prefer using a clipping path in PS


Quote from: yingyang0
so far both vphoto and ale1969 haven't shown examples of where they used the pen tool for hair


For hairy things fluid mask can be useful just like that new selection tool CS3 has. But when you have to separate definite shapes with different light contrasts in them, like an orange with light from behind for example, the pen tool is imho the way to go.


« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2008, 12:06 »
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Alright I'm getting the "too feathered or to rough" rejection from iStock. Here are some crops. Which is it, too feathered or too rough?



RT


« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2008, 12:51 »
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Alright I'm getting the "too feathered or to rough" rejection from iStock. Here are some crops. Which is it, too feathered or too rough?

It may actually be neither, on occasion I get this rejection from iS on objects I know are perfect isolations, but I learned that occasionally when saving from a Tiff to a jpeg it buggers up the isolation, the solution I have found is after saving the jpeg go back into it, select the white background with a zero threshold, if the edges are  a little bit rough I just increase the exposure by 0.7 and save again, that normally does the trick.

I've no idea why the tiff to jpeg save has this effect and I know it has happened to others as well.

« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2008, 13:15 »
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RTimages

I had a rejection with this TIFF-to-JPEG problem (I even posted a thread here about it). I'll try this trick and see.

Yingyang,

I guess the problem is that the edges look too soft. I normally use a feather of 2 pix when the image is focused, and more in areas where focus is softer.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2008, 15:10 »
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I've no idea why the tiff to jpeg save has this effect and I know it has happened to others as well.
Well that wasn't the problem here because tiff was not used.

Madelaide, I'll try adjusting that.

« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2008, 23:06 »
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Update: Fluid Mask turns out not to be able to stand up to iStock's exacting standards. It can only do simple images up to iStock's standards, and those can be done with a pen tool in a few minutes. I still like it for use in editing people into and out of photos for my own personal use.

In sum: I don't think it is worth the money unless you're a designer (who doesn't have to be inspected by iStock).

« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2008, 09:37 »
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Thanks for the update.  That's disappointing to hear.  I'll still give it a try when I can.  Been painting our house all weekend so looks like I'll have to wait on that free trial.  Thanks again.

rinderart

« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2008, 13:52 »
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Update: Fluid Mask turns out not to be able to stand up to iStock's exacting standards. It can only do simple images up to iStock's standards, and those can be done with a pen tool in a few minutes. I still like it for use in editing people into and out of photos for my own personal use.

In sum: I don't think it is worth the money unless you're a designer (who doesn't have to be inspected by iStock).

Correct. They gave me a free copy 6 months ago. Kinda useless for what we do. But for small prints and easy subjects it was fine But why spend $200 on something that is easier and faster in PS. Rating 3 out of ten. forget it with hair or trees.

« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2008, 16:25 »
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Hi,

there are few different ones of this, isn't it just like the extract? command in photoshop?

I struggled with isolations until recently, so I just didn't really bother much. Laurin and others always push learn  photography properly and you don't have problems with noise, isolation etc.  And as I progress I see that this is definetly true. 

Anyway there has been stuff I wanted to do recently on white. I spent time stuffing around with lights (household lights and flashes) and then with a horrible softbox (I know they have there uses and sometimes invaluable but I dont like them, too restrictive).  Anyway I gave up not getting the shots I wanted so went outside for a cigarette and sat depressed :) anyway then it hit me, it was a darkish overcast day, perfect diffused light with just about no shadows. So white table in the garden, still getting shutter spped around 1/100 and we were away.  Each shot that I have processed has taken a minute, quick levels and healing brush. no isolating just perfect, not a lot shots done yet, but all accepted :)

So now I have a lighting solution, and nice place to shoot and a heap of ideas, and of course I keep getting bright sunny days  *LOL*

Phil

« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2008, 13:07 »
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So now I have a lighting solution, and nice place to shoot and a heap of ideas, and of course I keep getting bright sunny days  *LOL*

Phil

Well, I know you're not up in Michigan where we've been getting nothing but dull, gloomy days. Not enough light for any good landscape shots, not dreadful enough to get any good weather shots. Ho hummm. On the other hand, I just bought a 2-light 500 watt lighting kit that should help my current, make-shift setup. And for a lot less than fluid mask.

« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2008, 08:40 »
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OnOne Software has a program call maskpro that I am trying out right now.  It is suppose to be able to do those "difficult" isolations and (according to the intro video) it does.  I have yet to perfect it, but I haven't played around with it much.  You can download a trial version as a plugin for PS CS2 or above.  It cost $159.95.

Here is the link



 

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