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Automatic selection tools

From: Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Automatic selection tools

There are a number of selection tools in Elements that select automatically on the basis of color and tone in an image. One of those is Magic Wand tool, which is located right here in the toolbar. I'm going to select that tool and then I'm going to try to select the sky in this image by clicking with the Magic Wand tool in his darker area of the sky. The Magic Wand tool looks at the color and tone of the pixel upon which I've clicked and then selects a range of similar colors and tones. It didn't do a terrific job with that click.

Automatic selection tools

There are a number of selection tools in Elements that select automatically on the basis of color and tone in an image. One of those is Magic Wand tool, which is located right here in the toolbar. I'm going to select that tool and then I'm going to try to select the sky in this image by clicking with the Magic Wand tool in his darker area of the sky. The Magic Wand tool looks at the color and tone of the pixel upon which I've clicked and then selects a range of similar colors and tones. It didn't do a terrific job with that click.

The problem with a Magic Wand is that it's really hard to predict exactly what it's going to select, as in this case. There are a couple of things that can try in an attempt to get a better selection with the Magic Wand. So I'm going to deselect by pressing Ctrl+D on my keyboard, and I'm going to go up to the Options bar for the Magic Wand and I'm going to uncheck the box for Contiguous. With Contiguous checked, the Magic Wand will select only pixels that are adjacent to one another. With Contiguous unchecked, I'll have a better chance of selecting various areas of the sky even if they're not touching one another.

To show you what I mean I'm going to try clicking again in approximately the same area and Elements does select similar colors and tones in other non-contiguous parts of the sky. But that isn't what I wanted either. I wanted the whole sky to be selected. So I'm going to deselect again by pressing Ctrl+D. And this time I'll expand the range of colors and tones that the Magic Wand tool is going to select by going up to the Options bar for the tool clicking in the Tolerance field and highlighting the default tolerance of 32 levels on either side of the color and tone of the pixel on which I've clicked.

I'll try setting the Tolerance to a larger number, maybe 50, but it's always a guess because there's no preview of what that number will do for me. I'll come back into the image again and I'll click and this time I've almost gotten a whole sky selected. There are just a few pixels over in this area that did not get selected. I could try to add to the selection by clicking this Add to Selection icon and clicking several more times with the Magic Wand. But I want to make the point that you'll often use more than one tool together.

So I think it would be quicker and easier in this case to select the Lasso tool from this slot, set it to Add to the Selection by clicking the second icon, the Add to Selection icon in the Options bar for the Lasso tool. Then coming into the image and just clicking and dragging a lasso that encompasses all of those stray pixels that I didn't get with the Magic Wand. Now I have the entire sky selected. So as you can see there is a lot of trial and error involved in using the Magic Wand.

Let me show you another tool that often does a better job and that's the Quick Selection tool. I'm going to minimize this image by pressing the minus sign on the top right of the document window, and then I'm going to double-click in the project bin another image that I have open. Say that I want to select the sky in this image. I'm going to try the Quick Selection tool, which is located here along with the Selection Brush tool that I showed you in the last movie. I'll move into the image and I'll start dragging and as I do, the Quick Selection Brush selects pixels of similar color and tone to those underneath my brush tip, and it's smart enough to know where the edges of the sky are located.

If I want to add to that selection, the Quick Selection Brush automatically switches to the Add to Selection icon up here in the Options bar after I've used it once. So I can click and drag in these other areas to add to that selection. Now I see that I included some of this green tree in the selection. If I don't want to include the green tree, I'll go up to the Minus option in the Quick Selection Tool Options bar and then I'll come into the image and I'll drag over the green tree and then if I wanted to, I could switch back to the Plus sign and try to get some of that blue back like that.

I'm going to fill in this selected area of the image with color by going up to the Edit menu, choosing Fill Selection, check that my blending mode is set to Normal and I'll come to the Use menu and I'm going to choose to Fill with White, and then I'll click OK. Then I'm going to deselect by pressing Ctrl+D on the keyboard. Notice that the edge of the white fill is pretty rough along the balloon here. One way to fix that is to use the Refined Edge commands that are accessible from the Options bar of any of the selection tools.

So I'm going to undo that fill by pressing Ctrl+Z on my keyboard twice and that leaves me with the selection active. If you don't have a selection you can go up to Select menu and choose Reselect, if it's not grayed out. Now I'm going to click the Refined Edge button here in the Options bar for a Quick Selection tool or any of the selection tools. That opens the Refined Edge dialog box. I'll click on its title bar and move it over, so you can see more of the image. I'm going to click the default button to set it back to its default settings, and then I'm going to select one of the two Preview options down here.

The first option currently selected is just a regular view of the marching ants selection. The second view shows the non-selected areas covered with a red overlay or mask. I'll use this view as I go to the Feather slider and drag it to the right. Notice that blurred the edge of the selected area and you can see a little bit of that blur, so that may be a little far. Maybe I'll go back to about two pixels, and I generally don't feather too much or I'll get an edge on my selection that's too blurry.

I can also try to smooth out the selection by dragging the Smooth slider to the right and I can contract the area covered by the selection by dragging to the left or expand the area covered by the selection by dragging to the right. I'll leave things at that and I'll click OK. Now I'm going to try to fill that area again by once again going to the Edit menu and choosing Fill Selection and clicking OK. Then I'll deselect by pressing Ctrl+D. Now I have a smoother softer edge to the area that I'd selected and then filled with white.

I think you'll find that the Automatic Selection tools, the Magic Wand and particularly the Quick Selection tool, come in really handy when you're selecting complex areas, making it a lot easier than it would be with manual tools, and the ability to refine your selection in the Refined Edge dialog box can help you make selections more quickly and efficiently.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

106 video lessons · 8504 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 10m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 35s
    3. Launching the Welcome screen
      3m 12s
    4. Touring Elements
      4m 20s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. Working with catalogs
      3m 16s
    2. Getting photos from your hard drive
      2m 49s
    3. Changing thumbnail display options
      4m 35s
    4. Getting photos from a camera or card
      9m 43s
    5. Getting photos from a CD/DVD or an external drive
      4m 46s
    6. Getting photos from a scanner
      4m 36s
  3. 43m 15s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 44s
    2. Viewing photos
      5m 11s
    3. Selecting photos
      2m 58s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 39s
    5. Renaming photos
      2m 7s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      2m 0s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      5m 24s
    8. Stacking photos
      8m 9s
    9. Moving files
      4m 43s
    10. Backing up catalogs
      4m 20s
  4. 52m 4s
    1. Applying keyword tags
      8m 33s
    2. Finding photos by keyword tags
      3m 41s
    3. Finding photos with the Keyword Tag Cloud
      1m 56s
    4. Applying Smart Tags
      4m 29s
    5. Automatically tagging people in photos
      7m 54s
    6. Applying star ratings
      2m 48s
    7. Organizing photos in albums
      4m 10s
    8. Organizing photos in Smart Albums
      6m 44s
    9. Finding photos with Text Search
      4m 31s
    10. Finding photos from the Find menu
      5m 10s
    11. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 8s
  5. 29m 18s
    1. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      11m 12s
    2. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 10s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 22s
    4. Using Date View
      3m 41s
    5. Mapping photos
      4m 53s
  6. 56m 46s
    1. Applying Photo Fix options in the Organizer
      8m 22s
    2. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      6m 12s
    3. Applying Quick Fix controls
      11m 10s
    4. Using Quick Fix tools
      11m 2s
    5. Working in Guided Edit in the Editor
      4m 45s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      9m 18s
  7. 1h 12m
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      5m 5s
    2. Opening files in Full Edit
      2m 13s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 57s
    4. Using tools
      6m 11s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      4m 22s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 18s
    7. Using Undo History
      5m 56s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 30s
    9. Creating a blank file
      5m 58s
    10. Photo resizing and resolution
      9m 59s
    11. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 8s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 49s
    13. Saving files
      7m 47s
  8. 17m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 28s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      4m 51s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      9m 17s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Understanding selections
      2m 27s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 6s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 27s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 54s
  10. 1h 0m
    1. Cropping and straightening
      3m 49s
    2. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      2m 54s
    3. Applying adjustment layers
      7m 53s
    4. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    5. Merging multiple exposures
      6m 33s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 54s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      3m 39s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 21s
    9. Correcting skin tone
      2m 34s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      4m 4s
    11. Sharpening photos
      7m 42s
    12. Working with raw photos
      9m 52s
  11. 24m 50s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      7m 52s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      4m 26s
    3. Dodging and burning
      2m 18s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      5m 17s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 41s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 16s
  12. 31m 3s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 8s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 16s
    3. Running automated actions
      1m 51s
    4. Using layer styles
      6m 6s
    5. Using shapes
      8m 12s
    6. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      3m 13s
    7. Converting color to black and white
      3m 17s
  13. 9m 29s
    1. Creating text
      5m 8s
    2. Editing text
      2m 59s
    3. Warping text
      1m 22s
  14. 38m 50s
    1. Making a photo book
      8m 26s
    2. Making a photo collage
      9m 0s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      11m 25s
    4. Stitching a photo panorama
      4m 3s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      5m 56s
  15. 33m 54s
    1. Printing photos
      2m 58s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages
      4m 58s
    3. Sending photos by email and Photo Mail
      5m 57s
    4. Burning photos to CD/DVD
      1m 17s
    5. Ordering prints and books
      1m 59s
    6. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 15s
    7. Sharing photos online at Photoshop.com
      7m 40s
    8. Backing up and synchronizing online
      3m 40s
    9. Getting inspiration from Adobe.com
      2m 10s
  16. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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