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Working with selections

From: Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 11

Video: Working with selections

Making a selection in a photograph allows you to edit part of a photograph without affecting the rest of the photograph. Let's open a couple of images into the Expert Edit workspace to take a look at the Selection tools there and some of the things that you can do with them. I'll select both of these and click the Editor button at the bottom of the Organizer and here in the Expert Edit workspace I'll go over to the toolbar where the Selection tools appear in the second section of the toolbar. There are three groups of Selection tools here, let's start with the geometric group. I'll select the Rectangular Marquee tool and in the image I'll click and drag and that creates a selection in the shape of a rectangle.

Working with selections

Making a selection in a photograph allows you to edit part of a photograph without affecting the rest of the photograph. Let's open a couple of images into the Expert Edit workspace to take a look at the Selection tools there and some of the things that you can do with them. I'll select both of these and click the Editor button at the bottom of the Organizer and here in the Expert Edit workspace I'll go over to the toolbar where the Selection tools appear in the second section of the toolbar. There are three groups of Selection tools here, let's start with the geometric group. I'll select the Rectangular Marquee tool and in the image I'll click and drag and that creates a selection in the shape of a rectangle.

The moving dashed lines are known as marching ants, those represent the boundary of the selection. Now whatever I do to the image will occur only inside of these marching ants. That could be anything from filtering to painting, to filling with color, to copying or moving. So for example, if I get the Move tool in the toolbar and I click and drag, only the selected part is cut out and moves. I am going to undo that change by pressing Ctrl+Z on the PC or Command+Z on the Mac and then I'll go back to the toolbar.

Let's take a look at the second group of tools. I am going to click on the Lasso tool and then I am going to come over to the image. Now before I use the Lasso tool I'm going to click outside of the existing selection. By default when you use either the Lasso tools or the Marquee tools and you click outside of a selection that eliminates the initial selection and let's you begin a new selection. The reason that's happening is by default the New Selection icon is active in the tool Options bar for all of those tools.

So with the Lasso tool I can try to make a selection by drawing free-form. So if I try to select the sky here I'm not going to be able to be very precise, but I do want you to see that with the Lasso tools when you get to the edge of an image you can just trace around outside the photograph in the document window and that will continue the selection around the boundary of the photograph. When I get back to the beginning I'll release my mouse and there is my very rough selection. And when I click outside of that selection that eliminates it and I am ready to make a new selection with another kind of tool.

I am going to click on the Quick Selection tool here in the toolbar. The Quick Selection tool is one of my favorites, it selects on the basis of color and tone. This is the same tool that we saw earlier in the Quick Edit workspace. When I use this tool I like to have a small brush tip as I do now. If my brush tip isn't small enough I can change the size with this slider here in the Quick Selection tool options or by using the Left bracket key on my keyboard which is right next to the P key.

As I drag, this tool is analyzing the color and tone of the pixels underneath my cursor and it quickly selects neighboring pixels of similar color and tone. Now this tool doesn't create a new selection every time you click, instead by default it will add to selection, as you can see by the enabled option down here in the tool Options bar. So if the tool doesn't get every part of the image that I want, I can just come and drag over that extra part and that gets included in the selection. And if I go too far, say I select part of the sky like that, then I'll come down to the tool Options bar and choose Subtract from selection and then move over that extra bit to remove it from the selection.

There are a couple of other tools here, the Magic Wand tool and the Selection Brush tool. To show you those I'll deselect, Ctrl+D on the PC or Command+D on the Mac, I am going to get the Magic Wand tool. With this tool if I click somewhere on the silo, the tool will automatically select contiguous or neighboring pixels of similar color or tone. But it often doesn't do as good a job as the Quick Selection tool, which I can move on the image. So with the Magic Wand if I needed to select more then I would make sure to click the Add to selection icon here in the toolbar and just click over some other areas of the image.

There's usually some cleanup to do with the Magic Wand tool and that's when I'll reach for the third tool the Selection Brush. This tool lets me paint in a selection wherever I move my mouse. So if I want to add these little areas to the selection, I'll just paint over them. And I'll paint over this part to add that in. And here I need to subtract some from the selection, so I'll choose the Subtract from selection icon in the tool Options bar for the Selection Brush and I'll just paint away the parts of the windows that I don't want to include. Now this is also a difficult tool to control, but it's sometimes useful for just cleaning up an area.

And now I could fill this selected area with color, I could move it; I could copy it and whatever I do will affect only the selected area of the photo. I am going to deselect once more, Ctrl+D on the PC Command+D on the Mac, because I want to show you how to select an entire image to start to make a composite. To do that I'll go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Select All. I'm now going to copy the entire selection, this entire photo, by going to the Edit menu and choosing Copy. Then, I am going to click on the other open image on its tab to display it in the document window.

This photo has a more interesting sky than the plain blue photo in the silo image. So I'm going to paste the silo image on top of this photo and then cut the sky away in the silo image using a selection. I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Paste. That paste's in the copied silo image on it's own layer in the Layers panel. With that silo layer selected I am going to go down to the Options bar and I'm going to click on the Quick Selection tool, I'll make sure that I am either creating a new selection or adding to the selection and then I'll run that tool over the sky to select just the sky in the silo.

Now normally, at this point I would click Refine Edge and smooth out the edge of this selection. But in the interest of time I'm just going to press the Delete key or the Backspace key on my keyboard to delete the selected area, the plain blue sky from layer 1 and then I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D to deselect. And what I've done is cut away part of layer 1. If you look at the little thumbnail on layer 1 you can see the transparent area where I've cut away the plain blue sky. And through that transparency we can see down through to the more interesting sky on the background layer below.

So that's an overview of some of the Selection tools and some of the many things that you can do with them here in the Expert Edit workspace.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 11
Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 11

39 video lessons · 6267 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 9m 19s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. What is Elements?
      2m 36s
    3. Getting acquainted with Elements workspaces
      5m 45s
  2. 19m 37s
    1. Working with catalogs
      4m 22s
    2. Importing and using the exercise files
      3m 41s
    3. Importing photos from your computer
      2m 49s
    4. Importing photos from your camera
      4m 50s
    5. Importing photos from iPhoto (Mac only)
      3m 55s
  3. 11m 9s
    1. Cropping in Photo Fix
      4m 52s
    2. Applying one-click adjustments in Photo Fix
      4m 27s
    3. Fixing red-eye in Photo Fix
      1m 50s
  4. 27m 6s
    1. Working in Quick Edit
      6m 8s
    2. Adjusting lighting
      3m 41s
    3. Adjusting color
      4m 4s
    4. Making selective adjustments
      4m 33s
    5. Retouching with the Healing Brush tools
      4m 53s
    6. Saving edited images
      3m 47s
  5. 8m 46s
    1. Working in Guided Edit
      2m 56s
    2. Correcting skin tones in Guided Edit
      2m 44s
    3. Applying a vignette in Guided Edit
      3m 6s
  6. 32m 46s
    1. Touring the Expert Edit interface
      4m 49s
    2. Working with layers
      8m 55s
    3. Working with selections
      6m 18s
    4. Improving photos with adjustment layers
      5m 37s
    5. Editing automatically with actions
      2m 34s
    6. Adding text
      4m 33s
  7. 36m 37s
    1. Touring the Organizer
      4m 30s
    2. Managing files and folders
      4m 35s
    3. Organizing using People
      8m 43s
    4. Organizing using Places
      5m 1s
    5. Organizing using Events
      3m 28s
    6. Keyword tagging
      4m 12s
    7. Grouping photos into albums
      6m 8s
  8. 10m 1s
    1. Making a photo creation
      7m 39s
    2. Outputting a photo creation
      2m 22s
  9. 11m 6s
    1. Sending photos by email
      4m 49s
    2. Sharing photos to Facebook
      3m 9s
    3. Exporting photos
      3m 8s
  10. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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