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Vertus Fluid Mask review

fluid maskFluid Mask is a fast and efficient masking plugin for Photoshop. Fluid Mask is a very effective tool for separating objects from their backgrounds quickly and easily using intuitive, color-coded paint tools that support tablet pressure. With features similar to Topaz Remask, Fluid Mask uses different algorithm and workflow. Fluid mask advantage over other masking plugins and Photoshop tools is how fast it works and how powerful it is. The Fluid mask really shines on hard images with background similar to the object and images with hair/defocused edges producing natural-looking cut-outs. Fluid Mask is perfect to cut out complex lattices such as bicycles, vegetation, hair, fur, trees, glass & translucent fabrics.

Fluid Mask uses technology that mimics the way human eyes and brain process visual information to analyze your image for changes in texture and color, detecting even subtle edges, to divide the image into areas or ‘objects’ containing similar visual properties. You can then use the tools provided to quickly paint and fill these segments in a process as simple as painting by numbers.

vertus fluid mask

Fluid Mask features include Localized Edge Detection and Blending which helps to isolate and deal with a difficult edge by applying alternative edge finding and blending techniques. Intelligent Edge Blending helps Fluid Mask not only finds edges but also understands the width and character of an edge to cut the object out in the most precise way. Fluid mask also includes Color Based Selections tools to make fine selections based on similar color. Visual Image Segmentation lets you create super-fine mask selections with ease.

Fluid Mask before and after
fluid mask workflow

Fluid Mask workflow
Here’s typical workflow for Fluid Mask (you can try it by downloading fully functional 14 days trial of Fluid Mask):

1. Open your image in Photoshop

2. Duplicate the background layer

3. Click Filter –> Vertus –> Fluid Mask 3.
Fluid Mask takes some time (depending on the size and complexity of your image) to analyze and find edges of the objects by comparing the areas of similar color and texture. They are displayed then as blue outlines.

4. Use Green brushes to paint over segments you want to keep and Red brushes to paint over parts to remove.

The Blue tools are used to mask problematic edges such as hair on the border of the cutout. In the right sidebar you can adjust Blend mask width and Feather.
Grey brushes are used to erase any of the masks.

All of the Fluid Mask brushes can be Exact (masking exactly what are you painting), Local (masking the whole segments you paint over) or Global (masking segments similar to those you’re painting all over the image). You can change Strength for Local and Global brushes to get better results.

If you only paint Keep or Delete mask, Fluid Mask will automatically mask the rest of the image for you.

5. Click Ctrl+U to create Cut-out. You can switch between Source, Workspace and Cut-out view tabs by pressing 1,2, 3.
Use Clean tool to remove small holes from the mask.

6. To save your current mask and later load for further fine tuning, select Save Project from the File menu (Ctrl-Shift-S).

7. When you are satisfied with the result, select Save and Apply (Ctrl-S) from the File menu.

Fluid Mask before
fluid mask before

Fluid Mask after
fluid mask after

To better tweak your results, try to change settings in the right sidebar. If many segments of the cut-out border are inaccurate or your have too many small objects, adjust the Edge Threshold and Number of Objects settings. You can also try to change settings for low or high contrast images or fine and coarse textures by clicking two arrows advanced settings. Using a patch tool (Rectangle, Polygon or Brush) you can separately tweak complicated areas with different setting and also use Complex Hair or Complex Edge blending options. Color Sampler tool is indispensable when you have large homogeneous segments of the same color.

Some technical specification of Vertus Fluid Mask: it runs up to 40% faster for multi-core machines, MAC and Windows versions are available, Fluid Mask is available for Adobe Photoshop CS2-CS5 and Photoshop Elements.

Verdict: Fluid Mask is powerful advanced selection tool for an easy object extracting and masking. For its price (149$) Fluid Mask features tons of tools and settings to do the job quickly and efficiently. Fluid Mask is the best tool for the most difficult tasks such as complex shapes, blurred or soft edges. Though it requires some time to learn, context help for tools, online video tutorials and manuals on the developer website make this process fast and painless.

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