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Is Refine Edge a destructive workflow?

Explorer ,
Nov 26, 2023 Nov 26, 2023

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Hello everyone. I've been wondering if the edits I make through the Refine Edge panel are destructive... I mean, let's say I use the Smooth parameter. If I confirm the edit and then I go back to the panel through my layer mask, I can see the parameter is now resetted to 0 value and I can't go back anymore! Am I mistake or what? Thanks.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 26, 2023 Nov 26, 2023

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It is non-destructive if you are working with a layer mask, but you can't step backwards so to speak.

What you can do is use Select & Mask in Mask Properties and contine to refine the mask, but there is still no way to step backwards.

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Explorer ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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So I was right, we can say it's a destructive workflow even if we use a layer mask. It just doesn't make sense. All we needed was the parameters keeping their values, that's all. So difficult for a powerful program such as Photoshop? Thanks for your answer anyway, you confirmed it to me.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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quote

So difficult for a powerful program such as Photoshop? 

So? 

If you don’ t want »Smooth« maybe »Feather« in the Properties Panel meets your needs. 

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Explorer ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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I'm sorry but I don't understand what you mean.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 27, 2023 Nov 27, 2023

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Have you thought through what a »non destructive« approach for this feature would actually mean?

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Explorer ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Let's make another example. I make a selection with a layer mask and I use
the Refine Edge panel to contract the border. Let's say I make a massive
change. I confirm the edit. I go back to the panel and I see the parameter
is now resetted. Am I not screw? How can you define this a non destructive
workflow?

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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quote
How can you define this a non destructiveworkflow?
By @Faby5FAE

 

It is and it isn't, depending on how you define "non-destructive". :] This has been the case since Layers and Adjustment Layers were added to Photoshop.

 

It isn't parametric-based, so no, you can't go back to the original settings. In that sense it is destructive.

 

However, as there are so many options to restore the original image and start again, it is also non-destructive. Being clunky from a workflow perspective does not equate to destructive in that sense.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Select and Mask includes the Refine Edge Brush Tool but also the Brush Tool. 
While the one is intended to process data from the image/layer the other takes plain manual input. 
So if the process would be non-destructive all those strokes would need to be stored separately and, if the image/layer is changed, some of them would need to update on the fly. 
That does not seem plausible in Photoshop at current. 

 

Smart/layered Layer Masks would certainly be an improvement (
https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop-ecosystem-discussions/smart-object-as-layer-mask/m-p/953691...
) but in the meantime one can use Smart Objects with Smart Filters in work-arounds – as the base of a Clipping Mask or as knockouts in Normal Groups for example. 

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Explorer ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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I think the only workaround here is to select a new layer with a layer mask
if one isn't sure about the edits. Anyway thanks everyone for your answers.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 28, 2023 Nov 28, 2023

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Is there something we can actually help you with? 

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Explorer ,
Dec 01, 2023 Dec 01, 2023

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I got the answers I was looking for. There's no way to go back to the
settings we set. Thank you.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 01, 2023 Dec 01, 2023

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I encourage you to pursue the SO-work-around – even if only as an academic exercise. 

Screenshot 2023-12-01 at 14.49.11.png

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Explorer ,
Dec 05, 2023 Dec 05, 2023

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LATEST
Ok thank you.

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