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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are a couple of selection tools in elements that select automatically on the basis of color and tone and those are the Magic Wand tool and the newer and often more effective, Quick Selection tool. I will show the Magic Wand tool by selecting it in the toolbar and then I'm going to go into the image with all of the Magic Wand options at their defaults and click in this area of the sky to see if I can select the entire sky. Well, the Magic Wand didn't do a very good job of that. What the tool does is looks at the pixel on which I've clicked and then selects a range of pixels of similar color and tone.
There are a couple of things that I can do with a Magic Wand to try to get a better selection. So I'm going to deselect by pressing Command+D on the keyboard and then I'm going to go up to the Options bar for the Magic Wand and I'm going to uncheck Contiguous. When contiguous is checked, the Magic Wand will only select pixels that are adjacent to one another in the image. With contiguous unchecked, it should select more pixels across the sky. I go back again and I click in approximately the same area and it did actually select more pixels, but it didn't select the entire sky.
So I'll try something else, I'll deselect by pressing Command+D and this time in the Options bar, I'm going to go to the Tolerance field. By default the Tolerance of this tool is set, so that it selects 32 levels of tonal values on either side of the tonal value of the pixel on which I've clicked. If I increase this number, it should select more pixels. So I'll highlight 32 and I'll just take a guess and type in 30. That's one of the troubles with the Magic Wand. It's really hard to predict what setting to use for tolerance and what pixels the tool is going to select.
Now I'll come in and I'll try one more time and this time I see that I almost got the entire sky in my selection. I think the easiest way to get the rest of the sky in this case is to go down to the bottom right of the document window and click and drag to make the document window a little bigger, so I have this area to work with around the photo. Then I'm going to go and select the Lasso tool, I am going to set to Lasso to add to the existing selection by clicking the second icon up here in the Options bar and then I'm going to just click and draw a big freehand selection around all those missing pixels.
Those are all that included in the selection. So as you can see the Magic Wand tool requires a lot of trial and error and some creative tactics to get it to work well. But by contrast, the Quick Selection tool can often do a better job. I showed you this tool in an earlier movie, but it's worth showing again because it works so well on so many images. I am going to deselect by pressing Command+D and then I am going to click on a Quick Selection tool and I'll come into the sky and I am going to start to click and drag and the selection moves right ahead in front of me.
Selecting on the basis of color and tone, but also looking for edges and that's what makes it work so well, particularly where there are some high contrast edges. So that's a look at the Magic Wand tool and the Quick Selection tool, both of which you can use to automatically select on the basis of color and tone.
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