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In Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac Essential Training, Ted LoCascio teaches casual photographers how to organize, edit, and share their digital image libraries using this powerful software package from Adobe. He tours the included Adobe Bridge application, used for importing and organizing photographs, and explores every feature of Elements itself. He demonstrates how to navigate the Elements workspace, which is used to correct and improve images, combine them into projects, and produce slideshows, photo books, web galleries, and more. Ted also explains how to get the most out of each editing mode, and shares tips for correcting, retouching, and sharpening photographs. Example files accompany the course.
With this movie I would like to focus on how to make difficult selections quickly and easily using the Quick Selections tool. I'm currently in the Bridge application and I'm viewing our catalog images from our exercise files. I would like to locate a specific image to work with and to do that I'm going to go under the Edit menu and I will choose Find. And where it says Filename contains, I'm going to type in flower and then click Find. Okay so we have only images that have the word flower in their filename now displayed in the Content panel and I would like to select this image here, flower2.jpg. With it selected I'm going to double-click on it and open it up inside of the Elements' Editing workspace.
Okay now what I would like to do is actually make a selection of the flower here all the way around the flower. And so you can see there is some intricate detail here, a lot of intricate curves. So this is somewhat of a difficult selection. The reason I want to make this selection is because what I would like to do is blur some of the background surrounding it okay. It's a little bit more in-focus back here, actually then it is even up here. It's like the focus is just slightly off in the camera. So in order to try to balance this out I want to try and blur this a bit in order to have a match maybe say, what's blurred down here. Okay. And to do that I need to make a selection of the flower first, in order to invert it and then work with the surrounding area. So how do we make this selection? Well there are lots of tools over here to make selections with as you know. If we take a look at these tools in here the Lasso tool, the Magnetic Lasso tool and the Polygonal Lasso tool.
If I were to choose the Lasso tool and try to trace around this flower it would be very, very difficult. It would take an extremely steady hand to be able to do this. It's really not meant for this kind of selection. Okay because it's really meant to be more of a free form kind of thing. All right like something much, much looser like that. So that's really not the best tool to make that selection. We also have the Magnetic Lasso tool, which actually has a bit of automated feature. It's actually going to follow along the path that you tell it and once you click in an area of high contrast like say right here at the flower's edge.
And then trace around the path. That's going to be looking for areas of high contrast and then add those little points around it. So it's making a little path for you and then ultimately you will have a selection. Okay so this is not a terrible tool for making selection like this but it is a little bit tedious and sometimes it can get tripped up, okay. Because if you fall into some areas that aren't containing a lot of contrast then you wind up with the path going astray. Okay, you notice how it's starting to try and want to creep into the leafy areas in the background, because it is getting a little bit tripped up.
Okay, so this particular tool, although not a horrible tool, is not exactly perfect either for making this kind of selection. All right I'm going to go ahead and double-click. That closes the selection. Now we can see our marching ants. Go ahead and deselect that by pressing Command+D. We also have the Polygonal Lasso tool. This one doesn't have any automated features but it does allow you to click and drag, click and drag to create a path of your own. It doesn't show any point like the Magnetic Lasso does, but it doesn't allow you to create any curves. Okay so in other words these are all just little straight lines. Okay, so it's really meant for selecting items that are of geometric shapes.
So that's not exactly that that's tool for this selection either Command+D. All right then we have the Magic Wand over here. Now this one is an automated selection tool and what you need to do is just click in an area with the tool and it will try to guess what it is trying to select. It will reach into your image based on the Tolerance Settings, which is up here. The default setting is 32. Let's start with that. I will press Return to apply that then I will just click in the flower. All right so now what it did is it reached in as far as I told using the Tolerance setting and try to guess what we were trying to select here.
And it wasn't quite far enough. We have to actually increase the Tolerance setting in order to reach further into the image and accept more neighboring pixels. Let's go ahead and increase that by just scrubbing to the right. And try again. Okay now that did a better job. We have most of the flower okay but we have a couple of areas in here that should also be selected like right there and right there and through here and then we have some areas in here that I would like selected as well that were not selected properly. Okay so if we wanted to we can undo again or Deselect, Command+D. Either one. Increase the Tolerance setting again and click a third time and we got a little bit further and that time wasn't too bad. It was almost a good selection still little bit off down here and that's where you can get in to using some of these other tools in order to edit a selection like this.
Okay you can hold down Shift+Add and then circle around those areas and that's where these tools can sometimes be useful. But I say rather than doing all that having to try three or four different Tolerance setting with the Magic Wand and then edit the selection tool with one of these guys I think the better think to do is just work with the Quick Selection tool. I want to show why. Let's go ahead and deselect again by pressing Command+D start over this time with the Quick Selection tool. Now the Quick Selection tool works with a brush size that's what we were seeing here. The little target icon and a brush and really all you need to do is size the brush the larger the area you want to cover the larger brush you should choose and you can use the bracket keys. The Right Bracket keys to increase the size of the brush just like working with the Brush tool. Or the Left Bracket key to decrease to size of the brush.
All right so since it's the pretty large area I'm going to go ahead and increase the size of the brush and then just click and drag in the area and it calculates what I'm trying to select. It can tell what I'm trying to select just by clicking in that area. It's looking again for areas of high contrast just like the Magnetic Lasso tool only it's doing a much, much better job. Look at how great that is. Now I didn't have to deselect and enter a new Tolerance setting each time. All I had to do was click and drag. It's just amazing. Let's go ahead and make the brush smaller this time because I want to add some of this area down here all right. Now I'm going to zoom in some. I'm going to hold down Command and spacebar and then draw the whole marquee over the area that I want to add to the selection. I want to resize the brush using the left bracket key. In order to sort of match the area that I want to add and then just click and drag.
Okay I don't even have to hold the Modifier key. I can just click and drag to add that area to the selection I'm just clicking ones on those little areas in there. All right if I want to subtract any areas hold down the Option key and then click and drag. If I need to resize the brush to be a little more specific do that and then click in those areas think I do want this though. So we don't want to get too crazy in here. Okay so we can do a lot of our editing with the Quick Selection tool. Okay we don't have to necessarily default to using the freeform Lasso tool in order to edit the selection if we don't want.
Now this doesn't have to be perfect in here because the area behind it is already blurred. Okay we were dealing with the Blur effect. But that's close enough. I think that's good what we have. So I can go ahead and fit this in window by pressing Command+0. Take a look at my selection overall. All right, that was pretty painless. It wasn't a whole lot of editing that I needed to do and I didn't have to enter a bunch of different Tolerance settings and keep trying and trying again like I did with the Magic Wand. All I had to do is just size my brush and click over the area I wanted to select and it can find the areas that I'm looking for. Just like that, quickly and easily. So that's why most of the time most of the time when I'm making detailed selections like this, I just go right to the Quick Selection tool. Always try that first. If for some reason I need to clean this up using the Lasso tool and holding down the modifier keys to remove things or add things, I will but very rarely does that happened because most of it can be done using the Quick Selection tool. All right so that's how you can make complicated selections quickly and easily using the Quick Selection tool.
Now that I have made my selection I can go ahead and apply my Blur effect the inverse of it or if I wanted to I can use this selection to apply adjustment to the selected area or I could extract the flower. There are all kinds of different things that you can do with this kind of selection.
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