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Selections let you isolate part of a layer to work on without affecting the rest of the layer. To show you what a selection looks like I'm going to select one of the simpler Selection tools in the toolbar, the Rectangular Marquee tool, which is used to make rectangular or square selections. I'll move into the image and create a rectangular selection by clicking in this pane of glass and dragging toward its bottom right corner. The animated dashes that you see are called marching ants, they represent the boundary of my selection.
Now whatever I do to the image will affect just the selected area on the selected layer. I have the window layer selected in the Layers panel which contains the photograph. There are many things that I can do inside of a selection. As just one example, I can fill the selection with color. To do that, I'll go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen, I'll choose Fill Selection, and that opens the Fill layer dialog box. First, I'll choose a color with which to fill the selection.
I could use whatever color is currently in the Foreground Color Box at the bottom of my toolbar, or whatever color is in the Background Color Box there, or I could fill with a pattern, or black, gray, or white. Or if I click on Color, that opens the Color Picker where I can choose a color to fill with. So I could move the Hue slider to an area of color and then choose the shade of that color over here. Or with the Color Picker open, if I move my mouse into the image, it changes to an Eyedropper, and I can sample a color right out of the photo, which is often a good thing to do, because then the color that's selected will match the colors in the photo.
So I'll click on an orange in the adobe wall, that selects that orange, and I'll click OK. I could fill with a solid orange, but I do want to show you what the Blending mode menu does here in the Fill layer dialog box. It's similar to the Blend modes in the Layers panel that I showed you in an earlier movie on managing layers. The Blend modes in the Fill layer dialog box control the way that the color with which I'm going to fill is going to interact with the colors on the layer below. So if I click and drag down in this menu and I choose the Color Blending mode, that will create a Monotone effect that will lay down color, but leave the tones of the photograph visible.
So I'm going to select Color there, and then I'll click OK to fill that selection with color, as you can see in the image. When I'm done using a selection, I want to deselect it. I'll go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Deselect, or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+D on the PC, or Command+D on the Mac. This is a common one so it's worth remembering. There are lots of other things that I could do to a selected area. I could copy a selection or move a selection. I could make a new layer from a selection, as I showed you how to do in an earlier movie on managing layers.
Another useful thing is to be able to stroke the outline of a selection. To show you that, I'm going to make another rectangular selection in this pane of glass, and then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and I'm going to choose Stroke (Outline) Selection. In this dialog box I have a number of options; I can choose the Width of the stroke; I'll set this to 3 pixels so you can see it. I'll leave the color set to its default of black. I can choose whether the stroke will be inside the selection border, at the center of the selection, or outside of it; I'll click inside.
And there are other choices here, which I'll leave at the defaults for now. I'll click OK, and if you look closely, you can see there is now a black outline under the selection border. I'm going to leave this selection active to show you one more thing that you can do to a selected area of a layer. I'll go over to the Effects panel and I'm going to apply an effect to this area of the window layer, which is selected in the Layers panel. I'll double-click the Film Grain Effect, for example, and that changes the appearance of the area inside my selection.
When I'm done with this election, I'll press Ctrl+D on my keyboard, Command+D on a Mac keyboard to deselect. I want to show you one more thing about selections, and that's how they interact with layer masks. I covered layer masks in detail in the last movie of the preceding chapter, and I showed you how you can add black, white, or gray pixels to a layer mask by either painting on the mask or using a gradient. Another way to automatically add black, white, and gray pixels to a layer mask is to first make a selection and then create the layer mask.
So let's say that I want to hide this area of this photo so that we can see down through this area to the Background layer below, which contains just plain blue. With my Rectangular Marquee tool I'm going to click and drag to select this pane of glass in the window, and then I'm going to invert that selection so that everything except the pane of glass is selected in the photo. To do that I'll go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Inverse, and now you can see the outside of my selection here around the entire document and the inside of the selection here around the window.
The window itself is no longer selected. So with that selection active, I'm going to go over to the Layers panel and create a New layer mask, the same way I showed you in the preceding movie, which is to click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. That adds this layer mask thumbnail to the selected window layer, and you can see the effect of this layer mask here in the document window. What it's doing is hiding the non- selected area, the area of the window pane, so that we can see down through this area to the Background layer below.
I'll show you the layer mask by holding the Alt key, that's the Option key on the Mac, and clicking on the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers panel. So you'll remember that I had everything selected except this small square, all of the selected area is filled with white on the layer mask, and as you know from the preceding movie, the white part of a layer mask reveals the content of the layer to which the mask is attached, so that's why we can see everything except for the non-selected area, the pane of glass, which has automatically been filled with black on the layer mask.
And where a layer mask is black, as you know, the black pixels hide the content of the selected layer. So I'm going to hold the Alt key or the Option key again and click on that layer Mask icon to bring back the regular view of the image. So that's how to use selections along with layer masks. There are other ways to use selections too, but that should give you a pretty good idea of what a selection looks like and some of the important uses for selections. In the next movies we'll take a closer look at some of the specific selection tools.
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