Airplane Propellors

I have this image which I wish to mask out the propellers properly. I thought maybe Refine Edge would do the work but it didn't success.

I would like to know what kind of tools I probably should use in order to achieve this.

3 Answers 3


I would say if you want to mask propellers then you need to create a new mask in propeller form :)

1) Create a new shape with three line. Here i will create a very simple form of the propeller, you can extend it in your test

enter image description here

2) Now rasterize the shape layer (right mouse button click on the layer and then click on "Rasterize layer") and assign a new filter "Radial Blur" with settings like on the screenshot:

enter image description here

3) Almost done! Now use "Scale" and "Skew" tools and give this form a proper perspective, like on the photo:

enter image description here

4) The "raw" mask is finished. You can try to refine the mask with different brushes and bring it to the right form (adapt it to the real propeller form). Now you can mask the
plane itself anc cut out the propeller using the mask we've just done for it:

enter image description here

The cutted propeller looks like this then:

enter image description here

Again, it's just my thought about how to create a mask for this approach. In reality you have to invest a lot of time in a good mask. I hope this helps.


Another technique to try without having to recreate the propeller from scratch.

Uses the images own tonal information as a layer mask. Result:


I simply duplicated the image layer, made a brightness/contrast adjustment then pasted the inverted result into the original layer's layer mask.


My method without redrawing the propeller is to cut out white space plus propeller (1) and then use them as a mask for a solid layer (2).

Its basically the lazy version of mast0rs solution. Dont mind the sloppy crop-out of the plane =)

crop of propeller layers final product

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