Fluid Mask - Frequently Asked Questions

Ordering

How do I place an order?
Most users prefer to place an order directly in our online shop at

http://www.vertustech.com/fluidMask/buy.html

You have multiple payment options and if you pay by credit card/debit card/Switch/Solo you will receive the delivery e-mail with the download link and serial number very swiftly. So you could get started straight away!

We know that some companies/organizations require a purchase order option. In that case we kindly ask you to contact our Sales team at sales@vertustech.com.
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How can I pay?
For online orders through our shop at

http://www.vertustech.com/fm_buynow.htm

We accept the following payment options:

Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB)
Switch Solo
PayPal
Wire transfer
Check/Money Order
Cash

Online orders are processed through our partner Cleverbridge. Cleverbridge processes the payment and delivery for us. The order confirmation with serial number and download link are sent out straight after your payment is completed.

If you place a Purchase Order directly through our sales team then please pay by wire transfer, check or PayPal. The necessary information will be sent to you with the order confirmation and invoice. POs are usually processed the next business day at the latest.
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Do you offer volume discounts?
If you want to buy larger quantities and see if we can cut you a deal then please contact our Sales Team at sales@vertustech.com. We will be happy to discuss this further with you.
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Can I place a purchase order?
Yes you can. For purchase orders we offer payments by wire transfer, check or PayPal. Please note that we cannot process credit cards if you choose to order by purchase order. If you would like to place a purchase order please contact our sales representative for your area - all contacts can be found here.

Purchase orders are normally processed the next business day.
Please note: Online orders through http://www.vertustech.com/fm_buynow.htm can be processed faster and you can pay by credit card.
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How is Fluid Mask delivered?
A download link and serial number is the fastest and most cost effective way of obtaining Fluid Mask. So that’s what we do! We send you a link where you can download the installer for Mac or Windows and provide you with a serial number. All the information you need to get started is always included in our order confirmation e-mail.

For online shop orders the order confirmation with

download link
serial number
receipt

will be sent from "cleverbridge" and the subject line will be “Reference #12345: Your order of Vertus's products”.
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I have placed an order but did not receive a confirmation. What’s going on?
If you placed an order online and your payment is completed then you should have received an order confirmation e-mail shortly after that. Have you checked your junk mail folder? It’s possible that your email program thought it was spam.

Watch out for an e-mail from "cleverbridge" with the subject line “Reference #xxxxx: Your order of Vertus's products”.

If you still can’t find it then just give us a shout, providing the details that you used in your order (first name, last name or company and e-mail address. Our support team at support@vertustech.com will be happy to look it up for you and send out another copy with your receipt, download link and serial number.
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Can I get a CD?
Sure you can if you want! When you place an order in the online shop then you will be offered a back-up CD in the shopping cart. Just make sure the box is ticked and place your order. You’ll receive a freshly printed CD in the post. Delivery time is 8-10 days depending on where you are located.
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When do I receive delivery?
Since most people order the download version the delivery is done by e-mail. The e-mail is sent to you right after the payment for the order is complete. So no long waits!

If you ordered a back-up CD, too, then you will receive that within a few days when you’re in Europe or 8-10 days to the rest of the world.
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My credit card could not be authorized. What should I do?
Have you checked with your credit card company that everything is fine with your card? You should do that first. When this question is cleared, then you can contact our online shop service Cleverbridge to provide them with your credit card data again. All other information for your order is already in the system.

When speaking to their customer service, please provide them with the following order reference number. They will be able to process the request very quickly.

Please find the contact details of the cleverbridge customer service team here.

Please note: cleverbridge at the above phone number cannot provide technical support for Fluid Mask and cannot answer questions about the product itself. If you need any help with Fluid Mask please contact Vertus at support@vertustech.com
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Trial

Where can I download the trial version?
You can register to download the trial version at

http://www.vertustech.com/fm_freetrial.htm

Simply register and you’ll get the link to the download. We’ll also send you some information to get you started – tips and tricks and where to find help.
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For how long can I use the trial?
The trial version of Fluid Mask 3 will be fully functional for 14 days. This should give you enough time to find out about the features and benefits. During your trial phase our team will be happy to assist, of course. If anything is unclear, please have a look at FAQ, Tutorials, manual, tool tips or ask our team at support@vertustech.com.
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Installation & Registration

What are the system requirements?
Please note that Fluid Mask 3 system requirements can be found here
Note:Installation as stand-alone software possible
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Can I install Fluid Mask in Adobe elements?
Yes, you can. During installation of Fluid Mask 3 you will see the available versions of Photoshop and Elements on your machine. Just make sure that the check box in front of "Elements" is ticked.
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Is Fluid Mask available for both Macintosh and Windows users?
Yes, all versions of Fluid Mask are available for both platforms, Windows and MacOS. Don’t forget to check out the system requirements to see if Fluid Mask is compatible with your system setup!
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Do I need to uninstall the trial version once I purchased a license for Fluid Mask?
No, you don’t have to uninstall the trial version. If you already installed the trial version and then decided to buy the full version then simply use the serial number that you received upon delivery to unlock the trial.
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Do I have to register/activate my copy of Fluid Mask?
Yes, please. Only if you register your copy of Fluid Mask you can benefit from all the features. And it will be much easier for us to provide support when you need it, too!
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How can I register/activate?
We provide two ways of registration/activation:

Fluid Mask 2.0: In order to register Fluid Mask 2.0 you need an active internet connection on the machine you want to use Fluid Mask on. This machine does not have to be online continuously after registration. Fluid Mask will try and re-connect periodically to validate your license though (every three months).

Fluid Mask 3.0: For Fluid Mask 3 we offer two ways of registration and activation of your full Fluid Mask license:

Online registration:
This option requires an active internet connection on the machine on which you are installing Fluid Mask.
1. If you already installed the trial version of Fluid Mask please open Fluid Mask and go to > Help > Register.
2. Fill out the registration form and insert your serial key. The serial key should have been sent to after you placed your order for Fluid Mask 3 and has the format

240801-2865341-942073

Please make sure you copy/paste the serial key into the serial key field to avoid typos or mixing up digits and letters like 0 and O etc.

3. Click on the button to send the information.
4. The registration takes a few seconds. If it was successful you will see a pop-up window confirming that you are now registered.
5. You can either copy and paste your information from there into a file or to create an e-mail.
6. In addition you can see the message “You have a full license” when going to > Help > About Fluid Mask.

Registration by e-mail:
1. If you already installed the trial version of Fluid Mask please open Fluid Mask and go to > Help > Register.
2. Fill out the registration form and insert your serial key. The serial key should have been sent to after you placed your order for Fluid Mask 3 and has the format

240801-2865341-942073

Please make sure you copy/paste the serial key into the serial key field to avoid typos or mixing up digits and letters like 0 and O etc.
3. Click on the button to send the information. The registration takes a few seconds.
4. If Fluid Mask cannot detect an active internet connection or could not complete the registration for other technical reasons, then Fluid Mask will display your registration information in a new window.
5. You can either copy and paste your information from there into a file or to create an e-mail.
6. Please send the complete information displayed to registration@vertustech.com. It is important that the information we receive is complete and correct.

We will process your registration as soon as possible and provide you with a license code by e-mail. You can then use this license code to activate your full Fluid Mask license under > Help > Register in Fluid Mask 3.
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Do I need an active internet connection?
Fluid Mask 2.0:

In order to register Fluid Mask 2.0 you need an active internet connection on the machine you want to use Fluid Mask on. This machine does not have to be online continuously after registration. Fluid Mask will try and re-connect periodically to validate your license though (every three month).

Fluid Mask 3:

Fluid Mask 3 does offer an online activation. For those users who don’t want to connect their workstation where Fluid Mask is installed to the internet we offer an activation by e-mail, too. Instructions are displayed in the software during the registration process.
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How do I install Fluid Mask?
Before you start the Fluid Mask installation please make sure that Photoshop is closed.

You can install Fluid Mask as a plug-in to Photoshop (recommended) or as a stand-alone software.

Installation as a plug-in to Photoshop:
1) Download the appropriate installer of Fluid Mask for your system (.dmg file for Mac or .exe file for Windows).
2) Double click the downloaded file. The installation routine will start automatically.
3) Follow the on-screen instructions.
- One window will list all available Photoshop versions on your system. Tick the box in front of the Photoshop version you would like to use with Fluid Mask. If your version is not listed you may manually select the plug-in folder click here for more details.
NOTE: Whether or not you have Photoshop installed, Fluid Mask 3 will automatically install itself as a stand-alone version.
4) Follow the remaining steps of the installation wizard.

If the installation as a plug-in to Photoshop was successful, then Fluid Mask should show up in Photoshop under > Filters > Vertus > Fluid Mask. This is where you start the program as well: You need to load an image into Photoshop, then start Fluid Mask through the "Filter" menu. The image will then be loaded into Fluid Mask and you can start masking the image.

Installation as a stand-alone software:
1) Download the appropriate installer of Fluid Mask for your system (.dmg file for Mac or .exe file for Windows).
2) Double click the downloaded file. The installation routine will start automatically.
3) Follow the on-screen instructions.
- One window will list all available Photoshop versions on your system. Tick the box in front of the Photoshop version you would like to use with Fluid Mask. If your version is not listed you may manually select the plug-in folder click here for more details.
NOTE: Whether or not you have Photoshop installed, Fluid Mask 3 will automatically install itself as a stand-alone version.
4) Follow the remaining steps of the installation wizard.

If the installation as a stand-alone software was successful, then the folder > Vertus > Fluid Mask 3 will show up in your list of programs from where you can start it.
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On how many machines can I install Fluid Mask?
Most people work with a desktop and a laptop. Therefore we allow, just like Adobe, two registrations of the same user. So yes, you can install Fluid Mask on two machines.
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Fluid Mask has grayed out and I can't access the plug-in in Photoshop?
Photoshop will disable the plug-in if the image in question is not suitable for use with Fluid Mask.

Fluid Mask 1.0 requires images be 8-bit per channel rather than 16.

Both Fluid Mask 2.0 and 3 can handle 16-bit images.

The image data will also need to be in either RGB or CMYK mode, so you may need to convert the image to one of these modes prior to use. Grayscale images, for example, cannot be loaded into Fluid Mask.
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How do I open Fluid Mask after installation?
If the installation as a plug-in was successful then Fluid Mask should show up in Photoshop under > Filters > Vertus > Fluid Mask.
This is where you start the program as well: You need to load an image into Photoshop, then start Fluid Mask through the "Filter" menu. The image will then be loaded into Fluid Mask and you can start masking the image.

Fluid Mask 3 can be installed as a “stand alone” version as well. In that case you just click on the short cut that Fluid Mask created during installation.
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How do I install Fluid Mask as a plug-in for Photoshop?

For information on Fluid Mask and Photopshop CS6 see here.

For older versions of Photoshop, on first run Fluid Mask 3 will automatically offer you the chance to create a link within the Photoshop plug-ins folder, thus enabling Fluid Mask 3 for use as a Photoshop plug-in. You may do this again at any time using the menu entry “Help -> Enable plug-ins…”, useful for new installations of Photoshop.

If the installation as a plug-in was successful then Fluid Mask should show up in Photoshop under > Filters > Vertus > Fluid Mask. If you cannot find Fluid Mask in the Filter menu then it was probably not installed in the right folder in the Photoshop. The following paths assume you have Photoshop installed in the default location.

For Macintosh
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS2/Plug-ins/Adobe Photoshop Only/Filters or /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS2/Plug-Ins
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Plug-ins/Filters
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-ins or /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Plug-ins/Filters
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS5/Plug-ins
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS6/Plug-ins
For Windows
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Plug-ins\Adobe Photoshop Only\Filters
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS3\Plug-ins\Filters
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS4\Plug-ins
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Plug-ins or C:\program files (x86)\adobe\adobe Photoshop CS5\plug-ins\filters
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6:
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Plug-ins or C:\program files (x86)\adobe\adobe Photoshop CS6\plug-ins\filters
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Will Fluid Mask 3 run on 64-bit Photoshop?

For Macintosh: Adobe Photoshop CS5 can be launched in 32-bit mode, with which you can use Fluid Mask 3 as a plug-in. For instructions on launching Adobe Photoshop CS5 in 32-bit mode, please read the release notes of Photoshop CS5, or visit the Adobe Support Website.

For Windows: you can install both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Adobe Photoshop; Fluid Mask 3.2 works as a plug-in with the 32-bit version.

Fluid Mask 3 works as a stand-alone 32-bit application on 64-bit versions of Windows and Mac OS. For more information, consult your Operating System vendor on launching 32-bit applications.

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Support

Where can I get assistance?
You've already found our FAQs obviously, but if you cannot find the answers you require here we also offer;

Manual/Online help:
Fluid Mask 3 offers an integrated online help manuel explaining features and functionalities. You will find the documentation in Fluid Mask under > Help.

Online Tutorials:
For assistance with how to use Fluid Mask 3 as well as tips and tricks to achieve the best results visist our online tutorials.

Vertus Support Team:
We offer e-mail support via support@vertustech.com or you can submit a ticket via our support portal directly. We operate standard US business hours, and provide a next day response time on standard support requests.
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Do you have tutorials for Fluid Mask?
We do indeed. We have a bunch of tutorial videos for all Fluid Mask versions available at the following page:

Fluid Mask Tutorial Pages

You can either watch them online, or you can download them to your machine and watch later.
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Do you have a blog with news?
Yes, we do.

To view or join the forum please go to:
http://www.vertustech.com/blog
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Masking & Blending

I get “Out of memory” error message when working with Fluid Mask.
Fluid Mask uses a number of sophisticated algorithms which need to operate on large buffers of memory. Depending on the image and the level of complexity, it could use up to five times the size of the loaded image.

Often a re-installation of the program does solve quite a few error messages like “dead library” or “out of memory”. The out-of-memory issues are not new; a few customers have experienced this issue before.

What also helps is to use the “Workspace resolution” to reduce the processor power needed to process an image. If you set the workspace resolution to 1:2 or 1:4, for example, you will reduce the resolution of the image in Fluid Mask, but only on the workspace tab. That means you don’t actually loose any quality in the image – the image itself is not changed. It is purely the view and the amount of image information that Fluid Mask uses to detect edges.

The team here has been testing around for a while with different settings (mostly using 16-bit 24MPix images) to reproduce the "out of memory" error messages.

After a lot of changing settings and trying combination of settings we found a possible solution.
We also did some more research on the web and found the following info which suggests that our experiments were right:

http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/320005.html

has some interesting info, including in particular:

Out of memory errors
"Camera Raw, as well as other plug-ins and filters in Photoshop, use large contiguous chunks of RAM, sometimes up to 100 MB per image. You may see out of memory errors when these plug-ins cannot access enough contiguous RAM because you don't have enough RAM or the RAM is too fragmented.

If you occasionally get out of memory errors, restart Photoshop to defragment your RAM. If these errors occur frequently, decrease the memory usage in Photoshop in 5% increments to see if giving less memory to Photoshop allows Camera Raw and other filters and plug-ins the amount of contiguous RAM that they need.”
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How do I save my mask?
Sometimes you just can’t finish the work in Fluid Mask and want to continue some other time. In that case you do not have to perform a cut-out and the “clean the rest up” next time you use Fluid Mask. Instead, you can save the work done already and the masks applied as a “project”.

Go to the menu > File in Fluid Mask and click the option “Save project as”. Fluid Mask will allow you to save all settings, masks, regions, edges etc. as a project in a .vfmp file (vertus fluid mask project). This file format is specific to Fluid Mask.

Next time you want to continue working on an image you can open your image in Fluid Mask again. Then choose the option > File > Load Project and browse to the .vfmp file that you saved.
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How do I reload my saved mask?
Start Fluid Mask with the image to which the saved mask is applicable. Then from the File Menu choose “Load project” and find your VFMP file using the file browser.
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What image formats can be opened in Fluid Mask?
*coming soon*
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What is the best image file format to work with?

A RAW file is best. If this needs to be compressed and you are asking what is the best file format to use, the first thing to mention is please avoid JPEGs as they are too lossy and leach out the very information we need to do a good job finding edges. JPEG2000's are better but PNGs are better still.
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Why can't my mask find an edge? - Improving edge selections
There are several reasons why Fluid Mask might not be able to find an edge and below are some of the things you can do to "find" one:

Sometimes the Workspace's resolution is not high enough to catch fine edges such as hair ends and other fine detail. Workspace resolution is automatically determined based upon the speed of your computer and the size of the image. It is there to speed workflow for big images (high number of pixels) as they tend to slow Fluid Mask down.

You may override this setting using the “Edge Detection Options” on the right hand side.

Sometimes the color detail setting for the Workspace is not high enough - the Local Brush can appear too aggressive as selections "spill" over an edge.

Adjust the options under “Edge finding” and “Edge blending” to refine the image analysis depending on color and texture of the image.

And sometimes there just is no edge…the eye-brain "sees" one when what it is actually doing is constructing one. Zoom in at pixel level to check. Typical "tricks" are edges which turn out to be a series of broken lines.
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I can't see the mask?
You are painting a mask with one of the brushes, but you can’t see it? Make sure you have the Mask Opacity slider turned up! The slider is at the bottom right of the Fluid Mask interface.
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Improving edge blending?
Edge blending works best when there are clean selections of Keep and Delete mask. If the wrong selections are made and there is some mask "bleed" over an edge then the algorithms become confused and blending goes wrong. Make sure your selections of Keep and Delete mask are free from contamination. Make small adjustments to Keep and Delete masks to improve blending and use methods to improve mask selections described in: "Why can't my mask find an edge? - improving edge selections"
Use the Test Render as you go to check the quality of your masking / blending.

Edge blending happens within the Blend Mask (blue) area - or where there is no mask (if Keep and Delete masks are present in the Workspace, Fluid Mask assumes that areas not assigned a Mask are Blend Mask areas). If this area is not wide enough such as around edges with fur, then blending will appear contaminated with background colors. If this occurs try painting Complex Mask using an exact brush over the present Keep and Delete masks at the edge to thicken it up making sure to untick the “Protect Mask” check boxes above the work space.

If, after many different attempts to improve edge selection in a particular part of an image you still find the blending is not right you may need to use the Force Edge Tool from the main tool palette. Draw a vector along the required edge and then paint the masks up to the vectored edge. Set the width of the edge using the slider in the Tool options.
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I’m trying to paint over masks that I already applied, but nothing happens. What am I doing wrong?
You are probably trying to paint over protected masks. If you have, for example, applied the red Delete Mask and the green Keep Mask already and now want to refine your mask with applying the blue Blend Mask, then you need to make sure that the check boxes “Protect Mask” above the Workspace are unchecked. The check boxes work like overwrite protections for each of the masks. Uncheck the appropriate boxes and try again.
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My Mask has speckling / too many holes in it?
This is caused by unevenness in the area being masked. Use the Clean picker from the main Tool palette. Set the aggressiveness of the Clean tool using the slider in the palette and chose the mask to be cleaned using the picker. The Clean tool can only work on one mask type at a time.

Use a less aggressive Clean setting for fine masking such as around lattices otherwise you will remove a lot of the features you are trying to preserve.
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How does Fluid Mask compare with the new QuickMask tool in Photoshop?
*coming soon*
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Color Workspace/Patch – What are the different view modes for?
In 1D mode, a histogram is drawn of channel-value against frequency, in which the height of each bar is the frequency of any color with the band value corresponding to the horizontal axis channel-choice, normalized so that the largest height fills the display vertically.

The choice of channel for the vertical axis is used to determine the sort-order for colors used to fill the displayed bar for each value.

Each bar is filled with blocks of color whose vertical size correspond to the relative frequency of sampled pixels with the corresponding channel value of the vertical channel-choice menu, sorted from low value to high. The color of each block is calculated from the two displayed channels values for that block, with the weighted (by frequency) mean of the third channel value for all pixels matching the two displayed channels.

In 2D mode, no frequency information is displayed. It's simply a 2D plot in which the color plotted at a given point is the weighted (by frequency) mean of all the sampled colors corresponding to that point.

One easy way to think of the histogram display is as a 2D display (1) with vertical gaps removed so that all the blocks rest on top of each other, and (2) with each block stretched vertically according to the frequency of that value-pair in the two chosen channels.
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My PNG file does not load into FM. Why?
During our tests we came across a couple of PNGs that just wouldn’t load into Fluid Mask. So, stubborn as we are we went off and checked the files in a very helpful little utility, the “pngcheck”.
The tool is downloadable from

http://www.libpng.org/pub/png/apps/pngcheck.html

It allows you to examine a PNG file to see if it is a valid file. We found that the PNGs that we were testing with were _not_ valid. When you perform a check the pngcheck tool will return an output that won’t be helpful to most of us. But the last line of the output will be something like

ERRORS DETECTED in [etc.] in blossom.png

Or

No errors were detected in [etc.] tested.

So basically if there is something broken to do with the image’s compression you will see that an error was detected. Apple's preview tool seemed to be able to load it anyway, and saving it from there generates a PNG which Fluid Mask _can_ read. What magic it uses to work around the brokenness of the file we don't know.

So, if you come across a PNG file that you cannot load into Fluid Mask, try loading it into Apple’s Preview first. This may produce a slightly corrupt-looking file, but then Fluid Mask does at least seem able to load it.
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The edge of my mask is too jagged?
There maybe a few reasons / solutions for this:
bullet It is a heavily compressed jpeg and the "blockiness" of the jpeg you normally see when you come to print the image is coming through. Try loading a less compressed image.
bullet Image scaling may be too aggressive. If the image is not too large/big in file size try changing the “Workspace Resolution” to 1:2 or 1:1.
bullet Another solution is to use the Smooth mask picker from the main Tool palette. This smoothing eliminates jagged mask selections and pulls away the mask from the edge.

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