Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
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.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 47901 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84110 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54076 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 90966 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.