December 26, 2006

Male-pattern baldness -> Great Photoshop feature

Sometimes it’s the smallest, weirdest things that drive feature development.  In the case of the new Quick Selection Tool & Refine Edge command*, hair loss played a key role.

As of this past summer, Photoshop engineers Jeff Chien and Gregg Wilensky had been cranking away on these tools for a while & had them working well for hard-edge selections.  As luck would have it, Jeff’s mane is a little thin on top, and Gregg is more folliclularly challenged.  So, when Jeff returned from vacation to Taiwan, he was rather unhappy to find that Quick Selection was selecting only his head, missing the wispy bits of hair on top.  As he proclaimed while making a quick whiteboard self portrait, "I need to keep all the hair I’ve got!"

The desire to do a better job with irregular edges like hair got the guys thinking about new solutions, resulting in new algorithms we’ve been calling TrueEdge.  You can see the kind of refinement possible via the Radius & Contrast controls in this screenshot. Pretty cool, eh?  Viva Mother Nature (sorry, guys!). ;-)

*For a video intro to the tools, you can consult Deke McClelland or Dave Cross.

Posted by John Nack at 11:02 AM on December 26, 2006
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