Vertus Fluid Mask
- Fastest, most accurate cut-out tool available; new Color Workspace
- No path creation, standalone version can output only PNGs
Fluid Mask 3 is the best cut-out tool on the market. It's just as adept at producing cut-outs of simple objects such as product photos as it is at helping you create better compositions from intricate images with hair and similarly coloured foreground and background.
Price$ 239.00 (AUD)
As every creative knows, cut-outs are a pain. Extracting objects from backgrounds by hand is one of those mundane jobs that takes time that could be spent more creatively.
Fluid Mask automates the creation of cut-outs, an area where it faces strong competition from the likes of OnOne's Mask Pro 4.1 and Digital Anarchy's Primatte 3 for Photoshop.
It's also up against Photoshop CS3 itself, which added the Quick Selection tool -- although this is simply one step up from the original Magic Wand.
Fluid Mask runs as a plug-in for Photoshop, as well as a standalone application. Using it as a stand-alone application is suited to creating a large number of cut-outs, as Fluid Mask runs faster without Photoshop running beneath it. However, it can output only PNGs, so further processing is necessary before use in production. Even as a Photoshop plug-in, Fluid Mask 3.0 is noticeably faster than the previous version.
There are three main toolsets for creating cut-outs within Fluid Mask 3.0. As before, the software will create a Web of similarly-coloured areas that you can select areas that you want to keep or remove in a 'painting-by-numbers' fashion, best for objects with hard edges. For intricate details such as hair, you can paint areas as 'keep', 'remove' and 'blend', with it working out the detail in the 'blend' area.
The latest version of Fluid Mask adds the Color Workspace, which allows you to keep or remove pixels based on shade. It gives you a graph or colour map of two properties selected from hue, lightness, saturation, red, green or blue. You can then draw on areas to keep, remove or blend.
The Color Workspace provides an excellent way to touch up areas that are too small or fiddly to do using Fluid Mask's other tools, or even manually.
The new Patch tool lets you mark out areas and work on them without affecting the rest of the image. Patches allows you to work on nooks and crannies and tufts of hair individually without ruining the rest of your image.
For example, when cutting out a full-length shot of a person, you'd use the 'painting-by-numbers' technique for their clothes, then use the Patch tool to paint on their hair. Then use Patches to fine tune problem areas.
However, while the rest of the interface has been moved to a CS3-style panel structure, the Color Workspace and Patch controls are in floating palettes that often get in the way. It also doesn't run as a Smart Filter -- a hindrance when you need to go back and change a cut-out after seeing how it interacts with other elements of your composition. Now it can produce paths instead of alpha channels, which can be a timesaver for designers.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HTC U11 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Gigabyte Aero 15 corporate gaming laptop review
- 3 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 4 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft apologizes after a rogue Windows 10 preview build causes chaos
- Skype's major redesign prioritizes helpful bots and a smart camera over traditional video chats
- All-electric satellites are ushering in zippier in-flight internet access
- Why Microsoft's ARM-based Windows 10 laptops still have a lot to prove
- Microsoft shows the power of its Pen with a new Whiteboard app and other upgrades
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- MSI GL62M 7RDX gaming laptop review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCMultiple Front End Developers - BRISBANE | React.js | Angular.js | Node.js |WA
- FTTest AnalystSA
- FTASP.NET DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Network Architect - CloudVIC
- CCICT System TrainersACT
- FTSales Client Services Manager (Mid-market)QLD
- FTSenior Siebel Integrator/Developer - Canberra/MelbourneACT
- FTClient Onboarding ManagerNSW
- FTDesktop EngineerOther
- FTSoftware Asset Management Co-ordinatorOther
- FTSenior Software Engineer | Data Feeds | SaaS FintechOther
- FTPMO Project ManagerOther
- TPSolution Architect | Azure | CRMQLD
- FTSales AssociateACT
- TPHelpDesk Analyst (Access Control Team Leader)ACT
- CCTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- TPProject Officer (PMO)VIC
- FTNetwork SpecialistOther
- FTProject Coordinator - Digital Applications (IT)Other
- FTSenior PHP Developer/Team LeaderNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure Business AnalystVIC
- FTTest Manager - Applications - NSW GovernmentOther
- FTDigital DesignerOther
- CCGen System AnalystNSW