This is Round 2 of the Fluid Mask vs. Mask Pro vs. Primatte PhotoShop plugin transparency masking software review. What happened in Round 1? Scroll down a tad. You should read it before reading this entry.
Or, you could just wait for me to tell you that Vertus’ Fluid Mask won Round 1 primarily on the strength of the quality of the fine details left visible in the hair of the subject after masking the green background.
Digital Anarchy’s Primatte will not compete in Round 2 because this program is designed to function with either a green or blue background, and the test photo in this Round will be one shot against an off-white ivory toned canvas background.
A single Photogenic strobe – slightly offset left of center – was used to illuminate the subject. Offsetting the key light created a slight shadow on the left side of the subjects face and neck and also cast a shadow on the background. However, there is sufficient distance between the foreground edge of the subject’s face and the shadow on the canvas so that no complication is expected with the masking. In fact, you should notice that the shadow on the face creates a fairly good if not great definition between the subject and the background.
Here is the original Yonko Shot of photographer subject John Creighton. It is nearly a duplicate of the photo used in Round 1 with the only noticeable difference being the smile and, of course, the background color. All else appears to be constant.
In general, despite the similarity of tones in the skin and background, it is expected that both Fluid Mask and Mask Pro should be able to handle the masking well.
Here are the resulting hair test photos after applying the Fluid Mask and Mask Pro transparency plugins.
Wow. Nearly a tie! I would give the top photo an A+ and the 2nd photo an A++. Both Mask Pro and Fluid Mask did an excellent job.
For speed, Mask Pro was faster by a few seconds, literally.
For ease of use, absolutely a tie!
For quality, if I’m obligated to make a choice, I have to say that Fluid Mask has more visible strands of hair, but they are not easy to find. You have to have a really critical eye. Look for the peach fuzz on the ear. There is some visible in the Mask Pro example, but more in the Fluid Mask photo.
Don’t tell me after all this, we’re going to end in a tie!
OK. I won’t. Here are the two face test photos. Unlabelled.
One is clearly superior. What is your guess?
Face Test Photo # 1
and the winner is……………………
Face Test Photo # 2
This time, it was basically no contest.
For speed, Fluid Mask won easily because Mask Pro required several tries to avoid masking pieces of the face. NOTE: there are three ways to correct this ‘overmasking’ problem when it occurs – and it will occur. First, simply undo your last stroke and repaint more carefully. Second, change the mode from drop to keep and paint over the deleted pixels you want to keep. They’ll be restored like magic. Third, after you’ve returned to PhotoShop, you can simply paint over the deleted area with the history brush. Paint carefully. Again, the deleted pixels will be restored.
For ease of use, again, for the same reason, Fluid Mask won easily.
For quality of extraction, the bottom photo # 2 belongs to Vertus’ Fluid Mask.
Bottom Line: Fluid Mask wins Round 2.
Recommendation: Download the demos and do an extraction yourself. Use a good, clean, well defined photograph. Here are links where you can download demos and watch tutorials:
For Vertus’ Fluid Mask, the link is:
For onOne Software, the link is:
Note 1: Vertus has two tutorials for masking hair. One is called “Hair & Alpha mask tutorial”; the 2nd is found towards the bottom of the page in the Tips & Tricks & Tools section and is called “Dealing with Hair”.
Note 2: Watch Mike Wong’s Mask Pro tutorial regarding extracting hair and bubbles. His easy style is pure joy to hear.
email me: firstname.lastname@example.org