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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.
Some of these Selection tools have a special option for refining the edge of a selection boundary. One of these tools is the Quick Selection tool. I am going to get the Quick Selection tool in the toolbar and I'll make a quick selection of the land here by clicking and dragging with that tool. I'd like to fill the selected area with white by going up to the Edit menu and down to fill selection. I'll make sure that Blending mode is set to normal and I go to the use field and I'm going to choose white and then I'll click OK. Now I'm going to teach you a trick for hiding a selection without deleting it, just so that I can see pass these marching ants, I'm going to press the Command key and the H key on my keyboard.
I did that so that you can see that the edge of that selection is actually rather rough. If I wanted a smoother selection here, I could try to use the Refine Edge command. So I'm going to undo the fill by pressing Command+Z and then I'm going to bring back my hidden selection by pressing Command+H. Now I am going to refine the edge of that selection by going to the Options bar, for the Quick Selection tool and clicking Refine Edge. I find the same option by the way in the Magic Wand tool's Option bar, in the Lasso tool's Options bar, in the Polygonal Lasso tool's Options bar and up in the Select menu by choosing Refine Edge.
Any of those methods open the Refine Edge dialog box. The first thing to notice here is that there are several ways to preview the edge of the selection. The standard way shows the marching ants like this. But I'm going to click on this other icon, the Red icon, which displays the selection in the image not as marching ants, but rather as a mask, with this red overlay over the non-selected area of the sky and with the selected area without an overlay. I have done that because now I can see where the edge of my selection is impinging on the foreground elements here.
There are three sliders up here that I can use to refine this edge. I am going to take this smooth slider and drag it to 0 and the Feather slider and drag it to 0 and I'll leave Contract /Expand at its default of 0 as well, so that I can show you what these sliders do. If I have a little halo at the edge of a selection, as often occurs, I can try to use the Contract and Expand slider to get rid of that. If I drag the Contract/Expand slider to the left, notice that the selected area contracts. So I see more of the mask that represents the non-selected area at the edge of the mountains.
That isn't what I want in this case, but I just wanted to show it to you. I'll go back to the other way to show you what happens when I expand. Now I've expanded my selection of the mountains, so that is impinging on the sky. That isn't what I wanted either, I'm going to put Contract/Expand back to 0 in this case. I could try smoothing out the edge of the selection by dragging the Smooth slider to the right. That really doesn't do too much in this case, but notice when I move my mouse over the Smooth slider, down in the Description field, the bottom of Refine Edge, I get an explanation of what this control does.
It will help to remove any jaggedy edges along a selection edge. So if you do have jaggedy edges, try the Smooth slider. I am going to put that back and then I'm going to try the Feather slider. What Feather does, as described at the bottom of the dialog box, is to soften the selection edge with a blur. I usually don't add too much feather to a selection, but just a bit can blend the selection, making it softer and more realistic. I'll click OK and that takes me back to this view of the image with the marching ants.
Again I'm going to fill with White, Edit, Fill Selection, click OK and I'll hide my selection by pressing Command+H on the keyboard. As you can see, there's now much softer edge along the selection border and I could refine that selection even more by going back into Refine Edge and working with the sliders further.
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