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Using the automatic selection tools

From: Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

Video: Using the automatic selection tools

Some of the selection tools do a lot of the work for you selecting automatically based on color, tone, and contrast in your image. One of those tools is the Magic Wand tool. I'm going to select the Magic Wand in the toolbar, and then I'm going to move into this image and I'd like to select these grain silos. So I'm going to click right here in the middle of the silos, and that does select some of the silos but not all. This is often the case because what the Magic Wand does is it looks at the pixel on which I clicked, and then it selects other contiguous pixels that are within a particular range of similar color and tone to the pixel that I clicked on.

Using the automatic selection tools

Some of the selection tools do a lot of the work for you selecting automatically based on color, tone, and contrast in your image. One of those tools is the Magic Wand tool. I'm going to select the Magic Wand in the toolbar, and then I'm going to move into this image and I'd like to select these grain silos. So I'm going to click right here in the middle of the silos, and that does select some of the silos but not all. This is often the case because what the Magic Wand does is it looks at the pixel on which I clicked, and then it selects other contiguous pixels that are within a particular range of similar color and tone to the pixel that I clicked on.

So when you get a result like this that's not complete with this tool, what can you do? You could try going up to the Options Bar and unchecking Contiguous and going to the Tolerance field and increasing the range of tones that are selected by typing over the default number 32 levels with some other number. I never know what number to type here, it's always just a guess. I'll randomly type 50 in there, and then I'm going to deselect pressing Ctrl+D on the PC or Command+D on the Mac and I'll give it another try, clicking again on the grain silos.

Now this time, the Magic Wand did select more of the grain silos but not all. So the only thing left to do would be to go up to the Options Bar and click the Add to Selection icon and then start clicking on these other parts of the grain silo hoping to add them in relatively quickly to the selection. Another alternative would be to completely deselect and try to select the sky rather than the grain silos because all of the sky is pretty similar in terms of color and tone and then inverting the selection to have the silos selected.

Now I'd like to show you one more tool that I often use to clean up a Magic Wand selection or a selection with another automatic tool. And that is the Selection Brush tool. The Selection Brush tool is located here behind the Quick Selection tool in this flyout menu. The Selection Brush tool is just like a paintbrush. It lets me paint in a selection any way that I want. So it's not really an automatic tool, it just helps me to clean up after the automatic tools. So let's say I want to include in this selection this little yellow area.

I'll just paint over it with the Selection Brush tool using a small brush tip. Here's another little place that I want to add in. So that's the Selection Brush tool. Now let's open another image by going down to the Project Bin and double-clicking on this photo of windows. I'd like to select this yellow part of the window. Let me show you what the Magic Wand tool does with an image like this that has lots of variation in color and tone. If I get the Magic Wand, even with Contiguous unchecked and the Tolerance increased, if I click here on the yellow pane, I get a virtually unusable selection.

So I'm going to deselect, Ctrl+D on the PC, Command+D on the Mac, and I'm going to get a different tool, one of my favorite selection tools from this flyout menu, the Quick Selection tool. The Quick Selection tool also selects based on color and tone, but it does that in a smarter way. It's able to see the edges so it knows where to stop for one thing. So with this tool, I'll move over the image, I'm going to make my brush tip smaller by pressing the Left Bracket key. This tool often works best with a small brush.

And then I'll click and drag over this yellow pane of glass and it's very quickly selected for me without unwanted pixels selected as well. If I want to add to this selection, the tool automatically adds to the original selection. I don't even have to go up to the Options Bar and do anything to make that happen. So I'll click and drag over this pane of glass as well to add this to the selection, and I'll do that down here as well. Now I'm going to make a little bit an error on purpose. I'm going to go too far and include the blue pane of glass as well because I want to show you what to do in this case.

I'll go up to the Options Bar and I'll select Subtract from Selection, and then I'll move back into the image and drag over the blue pane of glass and that quickly removes that from the selection. There is one thing to keep in mind about the Quick Selection tool, and that is you don't always get a soft smooth edge to your selections with this tool. So to fix that, whenever you make a selection with this tool, I urge you to go into the Refine Edge dialog box where there are sliders that you can use to soften and smooth any selection.

I'll show you how to do that in another movie. Now let's look at one more automatic tool, and that is the Magnetic Lasso tool. I'm going to open another image, double- clicking on this photo of a car in the Project Bin. I'd like to select the pink door with the dog. I know the Magic Wand tool isn't going to do a good job here because there are too many variations in color and tone. I could use the Quick Selection tool on this door and I will do that for you in a later movie, but that will get me a selection that has rather jagged edges and that I'm going to have to spend time smoothing out in the Refine Edge dialog box.

So this looks to me like the perfect selection job for the Magnetic Lasso tool, which lays down curved line segments that will give me just the kind of smooth edge selection that I'm looking for. I'll go to the toolbar and I'll click on the Lasso tool slot and from there I'll choose the Magnetic Lasso tool. I'll move into the image and I'm going to start selecting right here by clicking to add an anchor point, and then I'm going to release my finger from the mouse. I'm not going to press on the mouse, I'm just going to move the mouse along the edge of the door here, and as I do, the tool is creating line segments and automatically making anchor points to fasten the line segments to the edge.

When I get to a corner, I could try to let the tool set its own anchor point where I can click to make sure that the anchor point is in the right place. And then I'll just continue quickly around the curved edge. Now if I make a mistake and move in toward the door, I may get an anchor point that I don't want like the black one that you see. So let me show you how to back up and remove an anchor point. Again without clicking on my mouse, I'll just move backwards and when I get back beyond that anchor point that I don't want, I'll press the Delete or Backspace key on my keyboard once and that will remove that anchor point.

Each time I press Delete or Backspace, one more anchor point goes away. I'm just going to finish up this job quickly, moving along the edge without pressing on my mouse. When I get back to the first anchor point, I'll click on the first anchor point to close the selection, and now I have a nice smooth curved selection of the door. The automatic selection tools that I showed you in this movie which are the Magic Wand tool, the Quick Selection tool, the Selection Brush tool, and the Magnetic Lasso tool can really save you time and effort.

So give them a try.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training

140 video lessons · 9223 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 23m 48s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Getting around Elements
      6m 9s
    3. Exploring the differences in Mac versions of Elements
      5m 41s
    4. Working with Organizer catalogs
      6m 16s
    5. Using the exercise files
      4m 44s
  2. 21m 39s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      5m 35s
    2. Importing photos from a camera
      4m 44s
    3. Importing photos from a computer
      3m 1s
    4. Importing photos from an iPhoto library
      5m 27s
    5. Importing photos from external drives
      2m 52s
  3. 31m 24s
    1. Working in Thumbnail view
      4m 10s
    2. Working in Folder Location view
      4m 33s
    3. Reviewing photos in Full Screen view
      4m 55s
    4. Editing and organizing in Full Screen view
      7m 20s
    5. Comparing photos in Side by Side view
      4m 10s
    6. Displaying photos in Date view
      2m 40s
    7. Viewing photo information
      3m 36s
  4. 47m 47s
    1. Using keyword tags to categorize photos
      6m 42s
    2. Organizing keyword tags
      4m 25s
    3. Finding photos by keyword tag
      3m 39s
    4. Automatically tagging people
      8m 21s
    5. Using automatic smart tagging
      5m 36s
    6. Assigning ratings to photos
      4m 9s
    7. Creating albums to organize photos
      5m 7s
    8. Creating smart albums
      5m 52s
    9. Stacking photos to reduce thumbnail clutter
      3m 56s
  5. 24m 35s
    1. Finding photos that are visually similar to each other
      4m 3s
    2. Searching for an object in a photo
      3m 45s
    3. Finding duplicate photos
      4m 50s
    4. Searching by text
      5m 59s
    5. Exploring the Find menu
      4m 27s
    6. Finding photos in the Timeline
      1m 31s
  6. 22m 41s
    1. Deleting photos
      4m 30s
    2. Renaming photos
      2m 24s
    3. Moving photos
      3m 58s
    4. Reconnecting missing files
      4m 37s
    5. Changing photo dates
      4m 29s
    6. Backing up
      2m 43s
  7. 16m 14s
    1. Choosing an editing workspace
      4m 37s
    2. Autocorrecting with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      3m 47s
    3. Photo finishing with the Organizer's Photo Fix options
      4m 2s
    4. Changing a Photo Fix adjustment
      3m 48s
  8. 22m 10s
    1. Editing with assistance: the Guided Edit workspace
      6m 27s
    2. Retouching a photo the step-by-step way
      7m 55s
    3. Creating a dreamlike Orton effect
      1m 8s
    4. Simulating shallow depth of field
      4m 11s
    5. Creating a collage using Picture Stack
      2m 29s
  9. 29m 26s
    1. Quick improvements: introducing the Quick Edit workspace
      3m 28s
    2. Applying Quick Edit corrections
      4m 8s
    3. Adjusting lighting
      4m 0s
    4. Correcting color
      4m 20s
    5. Fixing red-eye, improving skies, and touching up photos
      6m 28s
    6. Sharpening images
      3m 10s
    7. Saving in Quick Edit
      3m 52s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Full control: introducing the Full Edit workspace
      5m 19s
    2. Tips for using the editing tools
      3m 50s
    3. Customizing panels
      5m 10s
    4. Undoing your work
      6m 22s
    5. Zooming and navigating
      4m 41s
    6. Saving images and examining file formats
      4m 50s
    7. Working with multiple documents
      4m 0s
    8. Creating a file from scratch
      2m 57s
    9. Customizing Editor preferences
      4m 7s
  11. 25m 42s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 3s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      7m 19s
    3. Tips for working with layers
      4m 25s
    4. Understanding layer masks
      6m 55s
  12. 29m 59s
    1. Understanding selections
      6m 49s
    2. Using manual selection tools
      4m 42s
    3. Modifying selections
      4m 20s
    4. Using the automatic selection tools
      7m 11s
    5. Refining selections
      4m 50s
    6. Saving selections
      2m 7s
  13. 23m 52s
    1. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush tool
      2m 50s
    2. Retouching skin with the Healing Brush tool
      6m 7s
    3. Retouching with the Clone Stamp tool
      1m 58s
    4. Using the Content-Aware option in the Spot Healing Brush to remove content
      3m 13s
    5. Touching up photos with the Smart Brush tools
      7m 22s
    6. Using the Dodge, Burn, and Sponge tools
      2m 22s
  14. 1h 0m
    1. Understanding color management
      7m 23s
    2. Understanding adjustment layers
      6m 49s
    3. Adjusting part of a photo
      6m 16s
    4. Correcting contrast and brightness using Levels controls
      5m 6s
    5. Enhancing color with Hue/Saturation
      4m 32s
    6. Improving shadow and highlights using Shadow/Highlight
      2m 36s
    7. Adjusting lighting and color using Color Curves
      3m 53s
    8. Removing a color cast
      2m 11s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      3m 15s
    10. Reducing noise
      3m 53s
    11. Sharpening images
      6m 43s
    12. Processing multiple photos
      8m 19s
  15. 23m 6s
    1. Resizing and changing photo resolution
      7m 1s
    2. Cropping photos
      5m 35s
    3. Straightening photos
      2m 35s
    4. Adding canvas around photos
      2m 43s
    5. Changing a photos orientation using the Recompose tool
      5m 12s
  16. 23m 50s
    1. Combining photos using the Place command
      5m 21s
    2. Using a layer mask to hide a background
      6m 26s
    3. Blending images using a gradient
      8m 18s
    4. Blending images using Blend modes
      3m 45s
  17. 24m 2s
    1. Creating text
      6m 22s
    2. Editing text
      3m 49s
    3. Creating text on a selection
      6m 1s
    4. Creating text around a shape
      3m 51s
    5. Creating text on a custom path
      3m 59s
  18. 22m 43s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 24s
    2. Adding effects
      2m 6s
    3. Adding layer styles
      7m 38s
    4. Making shapes
      5m 17s
    5. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      2m 18s
  19. 42m 14s
    1. Understanding Camera Raw
      3m 35s
    2. The Camera Raw interface
      5m 16s
    3. Adjusting color using the white balance controls
      4m 41s
    4. Controlling lighting and contrast
      6m 26s
    5. Enhancing photos with the Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation controls
      2m 39s
    6. Cropping and straightening
      2m 12s
    7. Reducing Noise
      2m 24s
    8. Sharpening
      6m 46s
    9. Outputting from Camera Raw
      4m 43s
    10. Processing multiple photos in Camera Raw
      3m 32s
  20. 56m 43s
    1. Creating a photo book
      6m 50s
    2. Completing the photo book
      10m 5s
    3. Creating a photo calendar
      8m 19s
    4. Creating a photo greeting card
      5m 17s
    5. Making other photo creations in the Create workspace
      2m 8s
    6. Outputting photo creations from the Create workspace
      2m 50s
    7. Creating a photo slideshow in Windows
      8m 45s
    8. Completing the photo slideshow
      3m 31s
    9. Making a scrapbook page from scratch in Full Edit
      8m 58s
  21. 41m 34s
    1. Printing photos
      8m 30s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages in Windows
      5m 23s
    3. Printing contact sheets and picture packages on a Mac
      8m 33s
    4. Ordering prints from the Organizer
      4m 22s
    5. Sharing photos by email from the Organizer
      3m 46s
    6. Sharing photos with Photo Mail in Windows
      5m 3s
    7. Sharing photos on Facebook from the Organizer
      3m 42s
    8. Sharing photos on Flickr from the Organizer
      2m 15s
  22. 7m 34s
    1. Signing up for an Adobe ID
      2m 20s
    2. Sharing online albums from the Organizer to Photoshop.com
      5m 14s
  23. 40s
    1. Goodbye
      40s

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