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Automatic selection tools

From: Photoshop Elements 7 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. For this movie, I have opened two files, bookcliffs.jpg and dog3.jpg from the 08_03 automatic tools sub-folder inside the Chapter 8 exercise files. Let's say I want to select the sky in this image, so that I can adjust it without selecting the cliffs in the foreground. I might try the Magic Wand tool, which is located here in the Toolbox. With that tool selected, I'm going to come into my image, and I'm going to click on the sky. I'll click up here in the top left corner, where the sky is a bit darker than in the rest of the image. The Magic Wand tool looks at the color and tone of the pixel upon which you click, and then selects a range of similar color and tone. You can see it didn't a very good job in this image, and that's the problem with using the Magic Wand. It's hard to predict exactly what it's going to select.

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. For this movie, I have opened two files, bookcliffs.jpg and dog3.jpg from the 08_03 automatic tools sub-folder inside the Chapter 8 exercise files. Let's say I want to select the sky in this image, so that I can adjust it without selecting the cliffs in the foreground. I might try the Magic Wand tool, which is located here in the Toolbox. With that tool selected, I'm going to come into my image, and I'm going to click on the sky. I'll click up here in the top left corner, where the sky is a bit darker than in the rest of the image. The Magic Wand tool looks at the color and tone of the pixel upon which you click, and then selects a range of similar color and tone. You can see it didn't a very good job in this image, and that's the problem with using the Magic Wand. It's hard to predict exactly what it's going to select.

If the Magic Wand is not successful in selecting the entire area that you desire, then there are several things that you can try. I'm going to press Ctrl+D to eliminate this selection, and I'm going to go up to the Options bar for the Magic Wand, and I'm going to unclick contiguous there. Contiguous means adjacent to or touching. With contiguous checked, the Magic Wand will only select pixels that are next to one another. With contiguous unchecked, I think I have a better chance of selecting various areas of the sky. Let's take a look. I'll try again clicking in the top left here, and I did select more of the sky, but not enough. So again, I'll press Ctrl+D to deselect, and I'm going to try something else.

The tolerance determines the range of pixels that the Magic Wand selects. By default it's set to 32. I'm going to try setting the tolerance to a larger number. By clicking and dragging over 32, pressing delete, and just a guess, I'll try 50, and now I'm going to come in and click again in the upper left, and sure enough that did the trick. But as you can see, there is a lot of guesswork involved in using the Magic Wand. So let me show you another tool that often does a better job, and that is the quick selection tool. I'm going to press Ctrl+D to deselect, and I'm going to bring up another image to show you this tool. That's dog3.jpg, which is down here in my project bin, I'll double click that, and then I'm going to go to the tool box, and I'm going to select the quick selection tool.

The quick selection tool also looks at color and tone. Before I use it, I'm going to change the size of this brush tip to make it a bit smaller, and then I'm going to start clicking and dragging in this dark red area of the floor, and as I drag, the quick selection brush goes ahead of me, and tries to anticipate what I'm trying to select, based on color and tone. Now here it went a little too far, and instead of selecting just the floor, it also selected part of the dog's foot, but I can get rid of that very easily, by going to the Options bar at the top of the screen, and pressing the minus option here, and then coming in, and dragging over the dog's leg. That deletes that part of the selection, giving me just the selected area that I want. If I want to add to this selection, I'll go back to Options bar, and I'll press the option with the plus sign on it, and then I can come in and drag in this area, and select some more. If I come up here and drag, it goes a bit too far. So I'll go back up to the Options bar, select the minus sign, and come in here and making my brush small, so that it fits right in that area, I'll draw over the dog's ear, to delete that from the selection.

Let's see what happens if I fill in the selected areas with a color. I'm going to go the edit menu at the top of the screen and down to fill selection, and I'll click on use, and I'm going to choose white, and I'll click OK. Then I'm going to hide the selection temporarily, by pressing the Ctrl key and the H key, Ctrl+H, because I want to show you that the edges of the selection are quite rough, it just don't look right. One way to fix that is to use the refine edge commands accessible from the Options bar of any of the selection tools.

Let me show you how they work. First I'm going to undo the fill by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z. Then I'm going to bring back that selection, by pressing Ctrl+H, which hides or shows temporarily. I can control the edges of the selection by accessing the refine edge dialog box. I can get there by clicking the refine edge button, which appears in the Options bar for any of the selection tools. I'll click there, and that opens refine edge. In the refine edge dialog box, I'm going to click this red button, and that is going to show me another view of my selection. Instead of the marching ants that you see here, which tell me nothing about how smooth or soft the edge of selection is.

When I click to red box, I see a red mask on top of the areas that are not selected, and this gives me a visual interpretation of what the edge of that selection looks like. So keep your eye here on the top of the dog, as I come up to the controls in the refine edge dialog box and move them. I'll start with the feather control. Feather actually blurs the edge of a selection, making it softer. As I drag the feather control to the right, you can see the edge of that selection get much softer, that's way too much. I'm going to go back, so we have just a subtle, soft blur on the edge of the selection. The smooth control smoothes out a jagged selection, and the contracted expand control makes a selection either bigger or smaller. I'm going to click OK, to go back to the regular view of the selection. And now let's see what happens, if I fill this selection, by going to the edit menu, down to fill selection, and I fill it with white again, and then I'll delete my selection by pressing Ctrl+D, and you see that we have a much softer, more realistic looking edge, than we had before we used the refine edge controls.

So those are just a couple of the automatic selection tools that you find in Elements. You can see that they make the job of selecting complex areas a lot easier than it would be with manual tools.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training

94 video lessons · 9037 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 9m 23s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. What is Photoshop Elements?
      6m 59s
    3. Using the example files
      1m 30s
  2. 22m 34s
    1. Understanding the Organizer's catalog system
      3m 17s
    2. Getting photos from files and folders
      5m 41s
    3. Getting photos from a digital camera
      7m 27s
    4. Getting photos from offline media
      3m 7s
    5. Getting photos from a scanner
      3m 2s
  3. 35m 0s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 30s
    2. Viewing photos
      2m 19s
    3. Selecting photos
      1m 52s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 7s
    5. Renaming photos
      1m 57s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      1m 56s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      4m 50s
    8. Stacking photos
      7m 33s
    9. Moving files
      4m 1s
    10. Backing up
      2m 55s
  4. 31m 50s
    1. Tagging photos
      8m 38s
    2. Finding photos by tags
      3m 57s
    3. Tagging face photos
      3m 1s
    4. Using albums and Smart Albums
      7m 43s
    5. Finding photos with Text Search
      3m 34s
    6. Finding photos from the Find menu
      2m 57s
    7. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 0s
  5. 16m 27s
    1. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      5m 28s
    2. Comparing photos
      4m 9s
    3. Using Date view
      2m 54s
    4. Using Map view
      3m 56s
  6. 33m 3s
    1. Automatically fixing photos in the Organizer
      7m 58s
    2. Semi-automatically fixing photos with Quick Fix
      10m 39s
    3. Using the Guided Edit mode
      4m 33s
    4. Fixing group shots automatically
      3m 44s
    5. Removing stray content with the Scene Cleaner
      6m 9s
  7. 57m 41s
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      4m 46s
    2. Opening a file
      2m 6s
    3. Creating a blank file
      4m 36s
    4. Using tools
      8m 5s
    5. Setting Edit preferences
      4m 31s
    6. Adjusting Color settings
      5m 18s
    7. Using the Undo History command
      3m 48s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 7s
    9. Resizing photos and adjusting resolution
      8m 23s
    10. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 24s
    11. Saving files
      6m 37s
  8. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      4m 38s
    2. Working in the Layers palette
      4m 4s
    3. Using layer masks
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 50s
    1. Understanding selections
      1m 15s
    2. Manual selection tools
      6m 20s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 25s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 50s
  10. 40m 53s
    1. Straightening and cropping
      2m 46s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment
      2m 41s
    3. Adjusting with Levels
      5m 0s
    4. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 14s
    5. Using Color Curves
      4m 44s
    6. Removing a color cast
      4m 9s
    7. Correcting skin tone
      2m 20s
    8. Reducing digital noise
      2m 47s
    9. Sharpening photos
      6m 27s
    10. Editing raw photos
      6m 45s
  11. 25m 21s
    1. Using the new Smart Brush tool
      5m 50s
    2. Using the Smart Brush Detail tool
      3m 13s
    3. Dodging and burning
      1m 58s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      3m 51s
    5. Removing content
      2m 9s
    6. Using the Red Eye tool
      1m 11s
    7. Using the Whiten Teeth tool
      1m 48s
    8. Using the Blue Skies Tool
      1m 28s
    9. Using the Black/White tool
      1m 13s
    10. Converting color to black and white
      2m 40s
  12. 22m 10s
    1. Applying filters
      6m 21s
    2. Applying effects
      3m 53s
    3. Using layer styles
      5m 13s
    4. Using shapes
      4m 49s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      1m 54s
  13. 7m 34s
    1. Creating text
      4m 6s
    2. Editing text
      1m 58s
    3. Warping text
      1m 30s
  14. 38m 38s
    1. Making a photo book
      10m 0s
    2. Making a photo collage
      8m 10s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      10m 11s
    4. Making a panorama
      3m 50s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      4m 6s
    6. Using automated actions
      2m 21s
  15. 9m 50s
    1. Using email and Photo Mail
      4m 42s
    2. Printing your photos
      2m 55s
    3. Using Quick Share
      2m 13s
  16. 19m 17s
    1. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 33s
    2. Viewing and sharing your photos online
      6m 0s
    3. Backing up and synchronizing albums online
      6m 28s
    4. Accessing ongoing inspiration from Adobe.com
      3m 16s
  17. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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