Photoshop: Make Work Path From Selection problems

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The current 'Make Work Path From Selection' feature does a really bad job. I don't think this feature has had any love or attention for years.If it worked properly (creating smooth curves and not chopping off parts of the image), this could save me hours of work.Can you please update this feature to be more accurate?
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c rose

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Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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What do you mean by "does a really bad job"?
And what do you mean by "worked properly"?

No, it hasn't changed in many years, and has received very few complaints over those years.
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c rose

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Here are a few examples I just quickly created now. The selection was made using an alpha channel (which I know is 100% accurate). I then made the selection into a work path using the 'make work path from selection' and attached is the result. The straight lines are not always straight and corners are cut off. I believe this to be a 'bad job' of creating an accurate path and by 'worked properly' I mean, I think it should make accurate paths from selections.

Unless I am missing some options for this function? Any advice would be great.
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c rose

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Here are a few examples I just quickly created now. The selection was made using an alpha channel (which I know is 100% accurate). I then made the selection into a work path using the 'make work path from selection' and attached is the result. The straight lines are not always straight and corners are cut off. I believe this to be a 'bad job' of creating an accurate path and by 'worked properly' I mean, I think it should make accurate paths from selections.

Unless I am missing some options for this function? Any advice would be great.

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Chris Cox

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Ah, I see. The selection -> path conversion is not designed to deal with grayscale values, but with hard edged selections. You may get better results by thresholding or brightening your image (So you have a black and white mask) - then making a path from the selection.
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c rose

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Hi Mr Cox,

Thank you for your response. However, my alpha channel is just solid black and white (with hard edges), there are no gradients or grey areas.

Another simple exercise is to make a circle selection using the ellipse marquee tool. Then try making a work path from that. You will see if you zoom in that it has not done a great job of accurately creating a simple path. Yes, I know that is what the shape tool or pen tool is for but I'm just pointing out that the principle is the same. Making a work path from a selection never gives you an accurate result (unless your selection is a perfect square or triangle).

I have been working in a team creating images for artworkers and print for 10 years and every time a new version of Photoshop is released, I/we are always hopeful that this feature has been updated (as well as being able to select multiple path for deletion).

May I ask if you have tried to get an accurate work path from selection?

Thank you
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Chris Cox

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You showed gray values, and an inexact path that would result from a low tolerance or a lot of darker gray values.
Making a path from a selection is not an exact thing - there is a lot of room for interpretation of what an accurate path would be (how closely do you follow the pixels).

Odd that you've had problems for so long, and yet we've heard so few complaints...
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c rose

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I did not show the alpha in my examples, just the result of the 'made path' from my alpha selection.
"how closely do you follow the pixels?" is a good question. I work for an engineering company that makes consumer products. A large percent of our product imagery is computer rendered and is supplied with an alpha channel from the software (Maya). This alpha channel is pixel perfect and great for easily placing the product on various backgrounds. However, we also use other software that does not support alpha channels, so I have to manually draw a clipping path around the product (which can take hours!). In the ideal world, I would select the alpha channel and make a work (clipping) path from that selection. But as you can see from my result it chops off corners and makes straight lines wonky.

I am also surprised that no one else has raised this matter, although it has taken me at least 8 years to do so! Perhaps its a feature that people hardly use? But it is one that would save me (and the business) a lot of time.

Does what I write make sense?

Thanks
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Chris Cox

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It gets used quite a bit. But getting a clean path around an object will take some manual editing - the computer can only approximate what the true edge is from the pixel values.
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c rose

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That's a shame because manually editing can sometimes take longer than just creating a new one. I was hoping that the computer approximations would get better over time or have more options with new versions... hence my request for a feature update.
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Tim Bradfield

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Could the Devs at Adobe please look at this issue again.
I receive hundreds of images from a supplier every day, and each one has to be checked for resolution, and clipping-pathed before it can be used in production - this is our standard.
It takes hours of my time just clipping these images, I would love the convert selection to path function to be more accurate - getting the average value between dark and light and mapping the curve  or something.

Currently it creates either a jagged edge following the pixels, or completely misses the mark.

There is a lot of room for improvement here.
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Joshua Walker

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In case anyone is still having issues with this... hit the ALT key when you click the make path from selection button. It will bring up the "tolerance" dialogue box, set it to 0.5 pixels. :)
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Tim Bradfield

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Just saw this popup in my email!
Setting the tolerance to 0.5 pixels results in a very jagged line, especially on curves.
Setting tolerance to 1 pixel, the line misses the mark.
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Bill Bones

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Yeah. Setting the tolerance doesn't help. Wish Adobe would address this issue. 
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eartho

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Sorry, but this tool has never done a good job and probably never will. It was never meant to produce accurate or perfect paths, only to give you a starting point. 

It's always been a "dumb" tool and the only way to really improve would be to incorporate some sort of deep-learning AI wizardry... which i imagine won't be a priority any time soon.
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Pedro Marques

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The algorithm behind this, "Make Work Path...", should be having new options with other calculation options. I called it Bezier Curves, for example.
Not only to have the pixel Tolerance as the only argument.
We could always decide which would have better results. I have posted a first preview of what that upgrade could be.
Please add other ideas if you have.
An please vote it.

This was invented already in the past as a plugin, but it was 32bit only and they don't upgrade it anymore. So I know it is possible.

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/photoshop-new-advanced-make-work-path-from-se...
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Mat Weller

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Seriously, in all these years there's never been an iteration where MAKE WORK PATH from a selection results in a path that in any way resembles the selection. As Chris says above, you can draw a perfect circle selection, then hit MAKE WORK PATH and what you get will not be a circle at all. Which is maddening because the selection is limited to pixels and the paths are not—if anything, the path should be significantly more precise, but it never, ever is. If Adobe ever figures this out, the resulting time saved will raise the productivity of every creative department in every company in the world by 20% on the day it's released. Has anybody at Adob ever worked in Creative? Talk about low-hanging fruit...
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c rose

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I first created this post over 3 years and still nothing! How do we get Adobe people to see it still has merit!?
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eartho

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"as soon as InDesign makes clipping by masks possible."

i've got great news for you... InDesign now has access to alpha channels and layer masks! Well, only since 2001, so you may not have heard about this feature yet...

And you can also toggle layers and layer comps through InDesign to create layouts using a single psd. But again, only since 2001, so you may not have yet discovered...
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Mat Weller

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You're right. And a delight to hear from.

I misspoke. If you want to work in PSDs, which can often be problematic and foolish in a variety of ways, then yes, you can use alpha channels/layer masks. If you're working in JPGs and dependent on paths and wonder why PS can't create a path as accurate as a hard-edged layer mask, then it would appear you're out of luck.
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eartho

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" PSDs, which can often be problematic and foolish in a variety of ways,"

Seriously? Working in psd format across the Adobe suite has never once been an issue for me, or any one i work with, in the past 15 years. I do very high-end work for big brands and send my files out for production all the time. Never a problem.

"why PS can't create a path as accurate as a hard-edged layer mask"

that's not what paths are good for - never have been and never will be. If you need an accurate-as-pixel mask, you use pixels, not paths. 
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Mat Weller

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I'm sure you're right. Your way is the only way work is done and this topic was started for no reason whatsoever. Have a great day, if you're capable.
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PECourtejoie, Champion

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Pedro, that’s my message, stats can be a nice tool, but they can lie, if misinterpreted.
Would be perfect for the team to have the stats of a function that is used once or twice, then abandoned...
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way phat

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I suspect the reason there are so few complaints about this product, and usage statistics would bear this out, is people try it once or twice and realize it's a lowly gimmick not worth trying again, and move onto something else rather quickly. Much like, say, the magnetic lasso tool.

Both are tools that noobs think are gonna be such time savers, but which anyone who's stayed with photoshop for any period of time has abandoned, for the better, ages ago.
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PECourtejoie, Champion

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That is what I meant by the second part of my answer...
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Pedro Marques

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So, there's hope. 
If you want statistics form the ones that "did not returned", I have lots of them. Data from the real world.
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Jerome Alexander

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The best way to combat this is to use Corel Draw. It is MASSIVELY superior in this respect (as it is in many others, in fact!). Photoshop has it uses but why it is considered such an industry standard is beyond me.
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Tim Bradfield

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Corel Draw is not Mac compatible unfortunately.
I would download a trial to test it but I only own Macs.