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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.
Now I would like to explain what selections are and why you might want to use them. By making a selection you can apply an adjustment or an effect to a specific area of an image rather than the entire image overall. There are several tools available for making selections and the more you know about them, the easier it will be for you to complete difficult selections quickly without expending a lot of effort. Okay, I'm in the Bridge application and what I would like to do is locate a specific image within our catalog images, which are part of our exercise files, to open up in the Elements' Editing workspace. So let's go into the Edit menu and choose Find and where it says Criteria, Filename contains, I would like to type in leaf and then click the Find button. That brings up these images that have the word leaf in the filename. I would like to focus on the first image, leaf_and_dew_01. Double-click that to open it up in the Elements' Editing workspace.
All right so now what I would like to do here is explain why you would make selections. If you look over here in your Tools palette, you will see this second section between these two dividing lines and these are all of your selection making tools. Over here in the upper-left you have your Rectangular Marquee tool and your Elliptical Marquee tool. If you click on the tool, you can access either one of these, okay. Now these are great tools for selecting large areas of an image and again you would want to select those areas so that you can apply a specific effect or possibly make an adjustment to just those areas of the image.
I will show you what I mean. If I click and drag with the Rectangular Marquee tool as I'm holding down the mouse button and clicking and dragging. If I hold down the spacebar, I can actually move the selected area before I let up on the mouse button and then let up on both and I have made a rectangular selection around the main object here in our image, the leaf and it's shadow, right. So now when I have this area selected. I can inverse the selection by choosing Select > Inverse or using this keyboard shortcut of Command+Shift+I.
That's a good one to learn. And then I can press Delete and now I have a border effect. All right, so if I deselect by pressing Command+D or choosing Select > Deselect. I have now created a border effect on the fly, okay and I was able to do that by selecting a large area of the image with the Rectangular Marquee tool. Okay, let's Undo and then Undo again to get back to our original image here. I'm going to deselect and do the same thing with the Elliptical Marquee tool, okay maybe create a little vignette type of effect. Again I'm holding down that Spacebar to reposition and when I'm ready I let up, I have made my selection.
I'm going to this time, choose Select > Feather, add a pretty large feather. Actually, the last Feather I used was 100 pixels and that's actually pretty good. I'm going to leave that in there, click OK. I'm going to inverse the selection and then again press Delete. Okay, deselect, Command+D, and this time we have created an interesting little vignette effect and we were able to do so by selecting a large area of the image with the Elliptical Marquee tool this time. Let's Undo again couple of times. I can deselect by pressing Command+D.
Now the other instance where you may want to make a selection is to select a specific area in the image, not just a large area like we just did with the Elliptical and Rectangular Marquee Tools. But something much more specific and that's where these tools come in, the Lasso tool, Magnetic Lasso tool and Polygonal Lasso tool. We also have the Magic Wand and the Quick Selection tool; we also have a Selection Brush. Okay, so there is lot of different tools for making very specific selections, okay.
The best and the most powerful of all these tools for making very specific selections is the Quick Selection tool, just very quickly I will show you what I mean. If I hover over the leaf and let's say I just want to select the leaf and its shadow, what I can do, I'm going to resize the Quick Selection tool by using the right bracket key to increase the size. Click that a few times and then I'm going to click and drag over the leaf to select it and what it's doing, it's able to calculate exactly what is I'm trying to select.
It's looking for areas of high contrast in the image and if I want to add the shadow to it I can just click and drag over here. If I want to add the little stem of the shadow, probably I have to zoom in some and resize the brush. Let's go ahead and do that. Holding down Command and spacebar to temporarily access the Zoom tool, marqueeing over that area by clicking and dragging, resizing the brush with the left bracket key, hitting that several times. And then clicking and dragging right over it. I'm going to hold down the Option key and then click and drag just over this little area where it extended out beyond the area that I wanted to select.
That looks pretty good to me, I'm going to go ahead and fit in window by pressing Command+0 and now I have my selection. What we can do is go ahead and cut this onto its own layer, let's go ahead and press Command+Shift+J. We have it now on its own layer, cut form the background. If I select the Background layer I can fill that with white by pressing Command+Delete and now we have extracted a very specific selection on to its own layer. We can now combine with other imagery, if we wanted to we could bring in other photographs into here or we could drag this layer into another image, create a collage.
So that's an instance where you might want to make a very specific selection and again the strongest tool for doing that is the Quick Selection tool. All right selections are very powerful; they allow you to apply effects and adjustments to specific areas of your image. They are also great for selecting areas that you want to extract from an image like you can see here.
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