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Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos
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Refining a selection


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Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos

with Jan Kabili

Video: Refining a selection

After you make a selection with any of the Selection tools, it's always a good idea to open the Refine Edge dialog box, where you'll find powerful controls that you can use to fine tune a selection. Refine edge is useful whether you're working with a hard edge selection that needs to be smooth or blended--like the one I'm going to create in this image--or if you're trying to make a trickier selection around an object with a soft edge, like hair or a leafy tree. Let's start with a relatively hard edge selection. I'll select the Quick Selection tool here in the toolbar and then I'll come into the image, and I'm going to click and drag across the sky. And in just a nanosecond I have a selection of the sky.
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  1. 6m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Overview of the editing workspaces
      3m 34s
  2. 43m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 21s
    2. Making the most of the tools in Elements
      4m 6s
    3. Arranging the panels
      4m 32s
    4. Zooming and panning
      4m 3s
    5. Viewing multiple photos
      3m 51s
    6. Undoing
      5m 15s
    7. Cropping
      3m 46s
    8. Resizing
      7m 18s
    9. Saving images and examining formats
      6m 2s
  3. 19m 23s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 59s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      4m 33s
    3. Creating new layers
      6m 51s
  4. 38m 28s
    1. Why use selections?
      4m 20s
    2. Selecting with the marquee tools
      3m 56s
    3. Selecting with the lasso tools
      6m 40s
    4. Selecting by color and tone
      6m 22s
    5. Refining a selection
      4m 51s
    6. Selecting hair
      5m 42s
    7. Hiding content with a layer mask
      6m 37s
  5. 46m 54s
    1. Why use adjustment layers?
      5m 15s
    2. Adjusting color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 32s
    3. Correcting lighting with a Levels adjustment layer
      3m 32s
    4. Adjusting part of an image with an adjustment layer
      5m 19s
    5. Exploring auto adjustments
      3m 55s
    6. Improving shadows and highlights
      2m 14s
    7. Removing a color cast
      1m 47s
    8. Fine-tuning with Color Curves
      3m 16s
    9. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    10. Correcting camera distortion
      5m 32s
    11. Reducing noise
      2m 56s
    12. Sharpening
      6m 10s
  6. 20m 51s
    1. Creating a panorama
      5m 6s
    2. Merging bracketed exposures
      6m 0s
    3. Removing people from a scene
      5m 25s
    4. Combining group shots
      4m 20s
  7. 29m 24s
    1. Removing blemishes
      3m 42s
    2. Reducing wrinkles and circles
      4m 16s
    3. Enhancing eyes
      5m 19s
    4. Removing red-eye
      3m 15s
    5. Adjusting skin tone
      2m 21s
    6. Removing dust spots
      4m 7s
    7. Removing content
      6m 24s
  8. 52m 36s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      5m 18s
    2. Using the latest Camera Raw controls
      3m 16s
    3. Camera Raw basics
      6m 22s
    4. Making use of the histogram
      3m 45s
    5. Setting white balance
      3m 44s
    6. Adjusting lighting
      4m 28s
    7. Adjusting color saturation
      2m 9s
    8. Cropping and straightening
      3m 58s
    9. Reducing noise
      3m 33s
    10. Sharpening
      3m 38s
    11. Synchronizing edits to multiple photos
      3m 36s
    12. Outputting from Camera Raw
      6m 14s
    13. Using Camera Raw with JPEGs
      2m 35s
  9. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos
4h 17m Beginner Nov 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.

Topics include:
  • Arranging the panels and interface
  • Cropping and resizing photos
  • Creating new layers
  • Refining selections
  • Hiding content with a layer mask
  • Using adjustment layers
  • Correcting color, lighting, and contrast
  • Converting a color photo to black and white
  • Creating a panorama from multiple photos
  • Retouching blemishes and wrinkles
  • Making adjustments in Camera Raw
Subjects:
Photography Retouching
Software:
Photoshop Elements Elements
Author:
Jan Kabili

Refining a selection

After you make a selection with any of the Selection tools, it's always a good idea to open the Refine Edge dialog box, where you'll find powerful controls that you can use to fine tune a selection. Refine edge is useful whether you're working with a hard edge selection that needs to be smooth or blended--like the one I'm going to create in this image--or if you're trying to make a trickier selection around an object with a soft edge, like hair or a leafy tree. Let's start with a relatively hard edge selection. I'll select the Quick Selection tool here in the toolbar and then I'll come into the image, and I'm going to click and drag across the sky. And in just a nanosecond I have a selection of the sky.

Now that selection may look like a good one. But when you're looking at the marching ant's view of a selection you really can't see what's happening at the very edges of the selection. So I'll check that out by going into the Refine Edge dialog box. I can do that using the Refine Edge button in the options for any of the selection tools, or I can go up to the Select menu and choose up Refine Edge there. When your Refine Edge dialog opens, it may look slightly different than this one, depending on what view is selected here in the View menu. I'll click the arrow to the right of the View menu so you can see the various ways that you can view a selection.

Depending on the photo you're working on, one or another of these views will give you the best look at the edge of your selection, and that's what you're after. So generally when you I get into this dialog box, I'll use the F key to cycle through all these views, looking for the one that gives me the best view of the edge. So in this view, there's a red overlay on the non-selected areas. Here the non-selected areas are black; here they're white; here's a Black & White representation; here the non selected area is transparent. So if there were a photo on the layer below, we would be able to see it here and judge how the selection looked against that photo. And here it's just a regular view of the image.

I think in this case, I'll go with On White, and then I'll click outside this venue to collapse it. If you look closely, you can see that the edge of this selection really isn't smooth; it's actually quite rough. And that's because it was made with the Quick Selection tool, which doesn't have an anti-alias option to smooth out the edge like a Magic Wand does. So what I'm going to do here is use the sliders in the Adjust Edge area, which is where I go when I have a hard edge selection like this. First I'll zoom in, using the Zoom tool here in the Refine Edge dialog; I'll select it and I'll click in the image. And then I'll try using the Smooth slider to just smooth out that edge a little bit.

I don't want to go too far with any of these sliders or I'll end up with a blurry edge. Just to show you what the other sliders do, if I drag the Feather slider over to the right that does blur the edge on both sides of the selection. So if you ever use Feather to try to get a selection that will blend in well with another image, for example, use it with a very light hand. I'm going to put it back to 0 in this case. The Contrast slider will crisp up the edge, so I might put it just about there, in this case. And I can use Shift Edge to either expand or contract the edge of the selection. I'll just leave that at 0 for now.

I'll select the Hand tool in Refine Edge, and I'll just click and drag around the image, making sure that the selection is the way I wanted to be everywhere in the photo. The other parts of this dialog box come into play more often with a soft selection, and I'll show you that in a minute. For now I'm going to click OK, and then I'll go over to the toolbar and I'll double-click the Zoom tool to go back to a 100% view in the document window. Now I'll make use of my refine selection. I think the sky is a bit too contrasty, since I shot this photo at mid-day right up into the sky.

So to lower the contrast and maybe make it a little brighter, I'll go up to the Enhance menu, and I'll choose Adjust Lighting and over to Brightness Contrast. Now normally, I would make a Brightness Contrast adjustment using an adjustment layer rather than directly on the photo, as I'm doing here. But in the interest of time, I'll just take the Brightness slider here and I'll move it over to the right--brightening only the selected area, the sky--and I'll reduce the Contrast of the sky as well. I can see a before and after view by unchecking Preview and checking it again.

And when I'm happy with the result I'll click OK. And now I'll deselect by pressing Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac. So I'm pretty happy with that result. After I refine the edge of the selection to get a natural looking edge between the sky and the buildings. Let's take a quick look at another kind of image. Here I'd like to make a selection of the background, and to do that, I need to make a convincing selection of these small wisp of hair along the edge of the model's head. You could imagine that, that would be a really difficult task for any of the selection tools we've seen so far.

But that's where the Refine Edge dialog really shines. So stay tuned for the next movie where, I'll show you how to make a selection of a soft edge like hair, or an animal's fur, or the leaves of a tree, using Refine Edge.

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