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Understanding selections

From: Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Understanding selections

A selection isolates part of an image so that you can modify just that area. You could move, or delete, or fill, or paint, or filter, or add an adjustment to just a selected area without affecting the rest of the image. And that's really important for photographers, because you'll often have part of an image that just needs a little tweak, and you don't want to affect the rest of your photo. There are lots of different selection methods. The trick is choosing the best method for a particular selection. There are Geometric Selection tools here. If I click on the Rectangular Marquee tool, I can make rectangular or square selections.

Understanding selections

A selection isolates part of an image so that you can modify just that area. You could move, or delete, or fill, or paint, or filter, or add an adjustment to just a selected area without affecting the rest of the image. And that's really important for photographers, because you'll often have part of an image that just needs a little tweak, and you don't want to affect the rest of your photo. There are lots of different selection methods. The trick is choosing the best method for a particular selection. There are Geometric Selection tools here. If I click on the Rectangular Marquee tool, I can make rectangular or square selections.

The Elliptical Marquee tool is for making oval or circular selections. I'll get the Rectangular Marquee tool, and just to show you what it does, I'll click and drag in the image; it makes a rectangular selection that's defined by these moving lines, called marching ants. Now if I were to do something to the image, like press the Delete or Backspace key on my keyboard, only the area inside that selection boundary would be affected. I am going to undo that by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Undo. The shortcut, by the way, is Control+Z on the PC, Command+Z on the Mac, and that's an important one to remember, because you'll use it so often.

Now what if I want to get rid of the selection boundary? Well, that's another command. I'll go to the Select menu and I'll choose Deselect. And that's another one for which you should remember the shortcut, because you'll use it so much: Control+ D on the PC, or Command+D on the Mac. Under the next tool there are a number of Lasso tools that allow you to draw a selection. For example, the Regular Lasso tool is one that you can use to draw a selection freehand. Now it's really difficult to get a selection around just part of the photograph, but you can give it a try.

With any of Lasso tools, or the Marquee tools, if I were to click outside of this selection, watch what happens. The initial selection goes away, and that's because by default, in the options bar for these tools, the New selection icon is enabled. I am going to make another quick selection with the Lasso tool. Now let's say I wanted to add to that selection. In that case, I would go up and select this option: Add to selection. And now I can add to my initial selection here, or here, or here. If I want to subtract from a selection, I'll click on the next icon, Subtract from selection, and I can get rid of this part of the selection, and this part, and so on.

I am going to put that back to its default, and I'm going to deselect by pressing Control+D or Command+D. There are some other tools here that come in really handy when you want to select an area that's similar in color and tone. For example, let's say I want to select just the hat in this image. I could try that with the Magic Wand tool, but this tool is really hard to control. So when I do click with the Magic Wand like this, even if I have the Add to selection icon highlighted up here, it still is going to take me a number of clicks to get the whole hat.

So I'm going to deselect, Control+D or Command+D, and show you a tool that I think often does a better job: the Quick Selection tool. With this tool, I'll move into the image and I'll make my brush relatively small by pressing on the left bracket key, which is right next to the P key. Then I'll click and drag over the hat, and the Quick Selection tool quickly runs ahead of me selecting similar tones and colors to the ones I'm dragging over. So it does a pretty good job of selecting the hat right away. This tool is also able to recognize edges of objects; another advantage over the magic wand. If I select part that I don't want, like down here, then I'll go to the options bar for the Quick Selection tool, I'll click on this icon: Subtract from selection, and I'll subtract this little area. And then I'll go back and add to the selection, which is the default for this tool, and I'll get this last little bit over here. So now that I have this area selected, anything I do will affect only this area. For example, I could come over to the toolbar and select, from under the Brush tool, the Color Replacement tool. I happen to have blue as my foreground color.

You can click here and choose any color you want. And then I'll move into the image. I'm going to make my brush big by pressing the right bracket key, that's the second key to the right of the P key, and then I can just quickly click and drag to paint over the selected area. And this particular tool paints, but it doesn't lay down opaque color. Instead, it respects the tones of the photo underneath. Now I'll deselect; Control+D or Command+D. So that's an overview of the power of selection tools. To save yourself the most time and effort, the trick is to find the selection tool that works best for the job that you're doing.

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Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 10

29 video lessons · 5586 viewers

Jan Kabili
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