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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.
When you want to select areas that are similar in color, often the fastest way to do that is to use one of the Automatic Selection tools--either the Quick Selection tool here or down in this Options bar, or the Magic Wand tool. In this movie, I will show you both tools as well as a related tool, the Selection Brush tool. Let's start with the Quick Selection tool. With this tool selected, I am going to go to the Options and I'm going to check Auto Enhance in order to get the most accurate selection. This tool works best with a small brush tip. So I will move my cursor over the image, and I think in this case the default size is small enough.
So I'd like to select all of the red part of this train car. So I will just click on part of the red and start dragging. And the tool jumps ahead of me and makes a selection right up to the high contrast edge of the white lettering. What this tool does is as I click and drag, it is sampling the color and tone of the pixels under my cursor and then selecting contiguous pixels of similar color and tone. And it usually goes pretty fast like this. Another advantage to this tool is that after I make an initial selection like this, it automatically switches from Make a New Selection, to Add to Selection.
So I don't even have to bother coming back to the Options bar to get the rest of the red part of this car, I can just click and drag over these other areas of red. Now here, I would like my brush tip to be smaller, so I'm going to use the Left Bracket key on my keyboard, which reduces brush size. And then I will drag over this area, and I will do the same here, and here. Now I see I have selected a little bit too much, including this window and this white bar and a little bit down here. So now I will go down to the Options bar and I will choose Subtract from Selection, and then I will just run my mouse over the areas that I don't want to include in this selection.
And there's a little more here; you can work on the chrome pieces on your. Now that I have a selection, I might do something like change the color of the train car. To do that, I will go up to the Edit menu and down to Fill Selection. I'm going to use Color and that opens the Color Picker, where I'll choose a blue, and I will click OK. And then I will go to the Blending Mode. I don't want to lay down solid color; I want to retain that photographic tonality behind the color, like these dimensional bars on the train car. To do that, I'm going to change the Blending Mode from Normal to Color, and then I'll click OK.
And there's the result. So I think you can see why the Quick Selection tool is often the fastest method of selecting similar colors in a photograph. I am going to press Ctrl+D--that's Command+D on a Mac--to deselect, and now I want to show you a related tool: the Magic Wand tool. Sometimes the Magic Wand tool can come in handy too, but it doesn't offer you as much control as the Quick Selection tool. I am going to revert this image by going to the Edit menu and choosing Revert. And that sets it back to red. Now let's try to select the red parts of the train car with the Magic Wand tool.
I will go down and select the Magic Wand tool in the options for the Quick Selection Brush tool. I will leave all of its options at their defaults to start, and I will click in the red part of this image. And there's my initial selection. Well obviously, that isn't what I wanted. If I click somewhere else, I will get a different selection. So how can I get more control over the selection that this tool is giving me? Well, there are several things that I can do. First of all, I could come down here and uncheck Contiguous, which is checked by default. When Contiguous is checked, then the Magic Wand tool will select only pixels that are next to one another or contiguous, as you can see in the selection that we have here.
So I am going to uncheck Contiguous and then I'll try clicking with the tool. So now I have some red pixels selected even in non-touching or noncontiguous areas of the photo, here and in here and over here. But again, this is not the result that I wanted. So I could do two things: first I could use the Add to Selection option, the same kind of option that I showed you in an earlier movie about the Geometric Selection tools. So I will come down and I will select Add to Selection and then I'll continue to click and eventually I will click enough times that I probably would get a selection of the entire red background.
But if I happen to click on the wrong place as I just did, I get a lot of things selected that I don't want. And that's a very good example of the lack of control you have with this tool. So I am going to deselect-- Ctrl+D on the PC Command+D on the Mac-- and try one more thing and that is to increase the Tolerance slider. The Tolerance slider determines the range of pixels of similar color and tone that the Magic Wand will select. So if I increase the Tolerance slider, the Magic Wand should select more. The problem is it's always a guess as to where to place the Tolerance level.
So I'm just going to drag to the right and take a guess at 70 something. And then I'll move into the image and I will click, and I do get more selected, but again I have too much selected. So let me try that one more time. Again, I'll deselect--Ctrl+D or Command+ D--and I will try clicking on a lighter area of the red background, and that gives me a better result. Now I see that there are a few areas that I need to clean up. For example, I need to add some pixels over here and in here and there are just a couple of pixels down here that are selected that I don't want in my selection.
And that's where the Selection Brush tool can come in-handy. I will click on the Selection Brush tool, in the Options for the Magic Wand tool and it is set to Add to Selection, by default. So, I will come into the areas that I want to add to this selection and I will just paint over them. So the way this tool works is, it doesn't automatically select anything, it just allows me to paint in a selection. And when I need just small areas like this, this can be the most efficient way to do it. I will come over here and I will make my Brush size a little bigger by pressing the ] key on my keyboard, which is close to the P key on the keyboard, and then I will just quickly paint over these areas to add those pixels into my selection.
And I am happy with this selection. This tool actually did a better job of selecting the chrome for me over here, saving me a little bit of time that I would've had to spend with the Quick Selection tool on these areas. So sometimes, the Magic Wand tool can be your friend too. I am going to go back up to the Edit menu and choose Fill Selection, and I'll go with these settings and click Ok. And then I will deselect, Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac.
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