Photoshop has very powerful masking tools, no doubt. I don't consider myself an advanced amateur in this area at all, as my Photoshop skills development is a work in progress. I was recently challenged to mask a photo to pull my cat out of this cluttered snapshot.
I had been reading Digital Photo Professional and seen an ad from Topaz Labs for a product called Remask The hyperlink will take you to the product page. Topaz is one of those great companies that enhance the usability of tools like Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. A lot of these powerful programs do all many of cool things, but their power also brings complexity and sometimes you just want faster and simpler.
Here's the image from the ad that caught my eye.
Frankly it looked a bit too good to be true. But I went to the site, downloaded the evaluation product and watched the tutorials at http://www.topazlabs.com/tutorials/remask.html#1
It all looked good and so I tried it with the silly cat snapshot.
Now this is not the cleaned up or completed image, it's the png of literally my first pass. What is so cool is that information like whiskers and fur are so well picked up and managed by the tool. I am sure I could do this in Photoshop. I'm not sure I could have done it in less than a minute.
The final "cat in space" is a pretty whacked idea and so I will spare everyone that outcome but I was able to focus my time on the result and not spend a lot of time in the masking process. Take a look at Remask. It's fast, it's awesome and if you will be doing this sort of thing, very inexpensive. I will be buying a license.