I replicated this on my very first try using a Neewer MK-14EXT Macro Ring Flash; about $70 new-in-the-box.
Elements 7 ~~~ 64-bit Windows 7
On a poverty-level Kentucky budget, a 24-exposure roll of film would have two Christmases and a summer vacation on it and we might have to wait another six months before being able to afford developing the film.
I still have trouble remembering that it doesn't cost anything to take thousands of pictures; it just almost seems impossible to be true.
I think you did a wonderful job on your RAW edit, popcorn. I especially like the way you controlled the light and brought out the details in the feather and the fine hairs on the hand. Because I see this as a learning experience I gave it a try. My photoshop/photography skills are far from advanced.
Here is my result and two accompanying screenshots. After I had done the first edit I noticed that I hadn't gotten all of the areas that I wanted black, black enough. So the second screenshot shows that I used "Select Subject" to just select the feather and tried to blacken areas that I had missed.
You will probably not believe this, but until now, I have not realized that there was a page 2!!! Once again thank you all. Recovering from back surgery, I am now "allowed" to sit at my computer in short bursts. This does not make for easy editing.
I am continually struggling with selecting "blow away" hair, fur on animals and feathers on birds.
Will "Select Subject" be able to select all the fine detail of the feather? If it can, it will probably be worth my while to upgrade, just for that!
I always fret when I am asked this question. My usual answer is . . . download the Elements trial version and test this feature (introduced in Elements 2020). Then, you will be able to make an informed decision, one based on your needs and interests.
As with any other selection tool in Elements, you are bound to encounter misses and hits. The key to success with any one of these tools is to start with a clean and well-defined selection (by adding and subtracting from the selection). However, just making a selection is not enough. You need to fine-tune your selection before you place it on a new background. That’s where Refine Edge comes into play. It will allow you to remove the jagged edges around your selection (Smooth slider); soften the edges (Feather); and adjust the size of the selection (Shift Edge).
As a side note -- starting with Elements 11, Adobe introduced an updated Refine Edge (brought over from Photoshop). I call it "deluxe".
The trial version is obviously the way to go, but often our expectations exceed possibility. I think I am in that position now, so I am attaching a Tiff file of feathers that I am expecting to cut out of the background. Possibly one of the you or one of the senior members could tell me whether I am asking too much.
Even though you are a Canon fan, thank you. I have tried it on the feathers. Increasing the whites is a new technique to me. I am astounded at how well the Magic wand worked after the whites were boosted.
I have not made any attempt to change the tolerance or refine the edges, just a straight selection with magic wand and fill with red. I attach my first attempt.
My first love is bird photography. Birds sit in trees and the background in South Africa is almost always a blown or boring sky. I can't wait to try this technique on one on my many images that conform to the above and change that sky. Have you any suggestions for refining the edge a little more?
I used your technique on the feather and hand image on which this thread is based. It gave me so much more licence to use all the information in the psd file, I was able to isolate and bring up areas our of the shadows. See final image attached. PS. My wife says I must remove the single hair highlight.