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Software Review – Fluid Mask 3.0 From Vertus

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Have you ever wanted to extract something from a photo to either add to another photo or to change the background? Have you spent hours trying to use one of the lasso tools in Adobe Photoshop only to quit in frustration because of all the complex curves? Let me tell you, you do not have to feel frustrated any longer.

Fluid Mask is a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop version CS2 and CS3. There are versions for Microsoft Windows Vista and XP as well as Apple Mac Intel and Power PC 10.2.8 and up. Fluid Mask also works with Photoshop Elements as well as working in standalone mode for image formats that accept transitions to transparency, but only in 8-bit RGB Color; such as TIFF and PNG.

Fluid Mask is a set of advanced paint tools that cut out highly complex images with absolute precision. For most of your cut-outs it is just paint the area that you don't want and push a button and it's gone. If you need to be more selective, it works similar to painting by numbers. For more background read my review of Fluid Mask 2.0.

So what's new with Fluid Mask 3.0? Well, to start with, it is much faster. With the size of images increasing, Vertus felt the need to increase the speed of Fluid Mask. With the right configuration; multi processing system, it can be as much as 40 percent faster. On my non-multi processing machine, I noticed the speed difference immediately.

Image courtesy VertusNext is the Localized edge detection and blending. When cutting out object from their background, it is still hard to get a difficult edge to blend just right. Fluid Mask now has a set of tools to isolate a difficult area and apply alternative edge finding and blending techniques. This makes the tricky parts of image cutting much easier.

Then there is also Intelligent Edge Blending where Fluid Mask not only finds the edge's character (morphology) but understands the width of the edge. There are two methods for tackling the blending across the edges of a cut-out border; Feather blending which creates a simple even transition across the edge and Smart Binding which varies the blend according to characteristic of color and texture. Intelligent Edge Blending will select the best type for the image. From the image below, you can see the detail that can be accomplished.

Image courtesy VertusNew to this version is the ability to save settings which will allow you to recall edge detection, blending and resolution options that you used in prior sessions. This is helpful when working with batches of images.

Finally there are great new tools for color based selections. By using the Color Workspace and Color Sampler you are now able to make extremely fine color based mask selections. The Color Workspace allows you to mask an image or patch area by color. This is helpful when you have an edge that is too complex to accurately paint with a brush or when only the pixels of a particular color should be masked. You can select colors using the Color Sampler tool or on the workspace display.

The regular price of Fluid Mask 3.0 $239 USD. If you own a prior version, you can upgrade to Fluid Mask 3.0 for $100 USD. You can also play with a 30 day trial version as well.

In the past I have struggled for hours trying to do an okay job of what this product will do in minutes, perhaps seconds once you get the hang of it. In my opinion, if you regularly create cut-out images, Fluid Mask 3.0 is a must have.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.