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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.
There are times when you are going to want to act on just part of a photograph or another image, but if you don't have multiple layers in the image, that's difficult to do. That's where selections come in. Selections allow you to isolate part of an image and work on just that part, without disturbing the rest of the image. This movie is an introduction to selections, to show you why they come in handy, and then I will go into more detail about making and using selections in the rest of this chapter. So here, let's say that I want to change the color of just this pink balloon and nothing else in the image.
There's only a single layer in the image, so I can't rely on layers to isolate the pink balloon. Instead I will make a selection that contains just the pink balloon. There are lots of different Selection tools and methods, and I will cover some of those in the movies to come. For now I am going to use one of my favorite selection tools, the Quick Selection tool, which is located right here in the toolbox. Be sure to get the Quick Selection tool and not the Selection Brush tool for this example. With this tool, I will move into the image and I am going to make my brush smaller, because the Selection Brush tool tends to work better with the small brush.
So I will press the Left Bracket key a couple of times, and then I am going to click on top of the pink balloon and start dragging over it. The Quick Selection tool immediately moves ahead of me and creates this selection around just the pink balloon. Its selected the balloon based on its color and its tone, and it's even able to recognize the edges of the balloon. The animated dashes that you see here are called marching ants, and they represent the boundary of a selection. Now when I take some kind of action on this image, it will affect only the area inside the marching ants.
What I would like to do is to fill the selection with a color other than pink. To do that I am going to go up to the Edit menu, I am going to go down to Fill Selection. That opens this dialog box, where I can choose the color with which to fill the selection. I will go to the Use menu to do that, and I have a choice between whatever colors are in the Foreground or Background Color boxes, the choice to fill with a Pattern or with Black, Gray, or White. There's also a choice here Color, so I am going to click that to open the Color Picker.
In the Color Picker, I will use the sliders on this bar to move up to the blue area, as I showed you how to do earlier. Then in the area on the left, I am going to choose a shade of light blue with which to fill, and then I am going to click OK to close the Color Picker. Back in the Fill dialog box, I want to be sure to come down to the Blending mode menu and change it from Normal to Multiply. That will change the formula with which the blue color will blend with the tones in the pink balloon.
If I just left that at Normal, I would get a really solid graphic blue here, instead of a blue that lets the photograph show through. Now I am ready to click OK to fill the selection with blue, and that's the result. The blue blends with the pink on the underlying layer to give me this purple color, and I can even see the highlights in the balloon, all because I chose that Multiply Blend mode. Now, I still have the marching ants around the selection. How do you get rid of marching ants? You deselect. One way to deselect is to move up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Deselect.
But this is a command you are going to use so often that I strongly recommend that you memorize the keyboard shortcut for Deselect, which is Command+D. Either way the marching ants disappear and the selection is now gone. So the beauty of selections is that they allow you to work on just part of an image without affecting the rest of the image, regardless of whether or not your artwork is isolated on separate layers.
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