Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
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.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 49515 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84582 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54429 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 91507 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.