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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
Let's see how we use the dialog box and its friend, the Eyedropper tool, in order to define hyper accurate selections and this is a great masking tool. So I was telling you that you just go ahead and click with the Eyedropper tool in order to define the base color for your selection and just as with the Magic Wand tool, the Color Range command looks for pixels that are similarly colored. But it goes ahead and selects both adjacent pixels and non-adjacent pixels alike. So if you look at the selection preview right here, you can see that the white not only extends into the background behind the hadrosaur, but also into its nasal cavity right there, which is completely surrounded by dinosaur skull. So it goes ahead and selects both non- adjacent and adjacent pixels, something to bear in mind. And you can mitigate that a little bit using this Localized Color Clusters function, which is new to Photoshop CS4. I'll show you that later but for now, here is what I want you to do.
Remember how you can Shift-click with the Magic Wand tool in order to add a base color, where you can do the exact same thing using the Color Range command. Now you have these buttons over here, these tools that allow you to add base colors or subtract base colors, ignore them; you don't have to worry about these Eyedropper tools because you can get them on the fly. So you press the Shift key and click, I'm Shift- clicking below the hadrosaur's jaw right there, and I add some more background colors to my selection. You can also Alt-click or Option-click in order to delete a base color from the selection. However, I don't find that works very well in most cases. Over time I have given up on that function essentially because I find it very difficult to predict, because what you are doing is you are saying, okay, go ahead and select colors that are like this one and then select colors that are like this one, but don't select colors that are like this one here, rule them out. That becomes a fairly complex equation for Photoshop to keep track of, even more complex I think for you to keep track of. So instead, here's what I recommend you bear in mind.
Let's say I Shift-click right here inside the dinosaur's orange skull or better yet, check this out. I'll just go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. You can Shift+drag with the tool. So if you Shift+drag across the dinosaur's skull, look at that. I went ahead and added a bunch of base colors to my selection with a simple Shift+drag right there, something you can't do with the Magic Wand tool. And just like that, I basically select the entire image. All right, so this one I go to -- I don't want to do that. That's too much; I have added too many colors. So just remember you have one level of undo, press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that last key color and you will go back to your previous selection right there.
Another thing that you can do to integrate more colors or fewer colors even into your selection. You can change this Fuzziness value right here. Now as with the Tolerance value that's associated with the Magic Wand tool up there in the Options bar where the Magic Wand is selected, that Tolerance value is measured in luminance levels and so is Fuzziness. So in this case, I have got a default value of 40 luminance levels going right now and that means that Photoshop is going to select 40 levels lighter and 40 levels darker than each of my base colors. However, instead of absolutely selecting the pixels that are associated with those luminance levels, it's going to slowly drop off my selection over the course of these 40 luminance levels.
So, by time we get 40 luminance levels away in either direction, either brighter or darker, the selection goes away. There is no selection anymore but it gradually declines over the course of those luminance levels, meaning that you get a very accurate organic selection going. So it's nothing like what you get with the Magic Wand tool; it's something much better. And you can modify this setting on the fly. So it's a dynamic adjustment, check that out and you can see the effects of your adjustment right here inside of the preview. So I'm going to go ahead and increase my Fuzziness value let's say up to about 90 for this image right here, and I have selected now most of my background and if you want to check it out in more detail and by the way, you can click or Shift-click directly inside the preview if you want to.
So that's an option as well. So you don't have to do it inside the image window; you can do inside the preview. Also notice you can see the image, if you want to, inside the preview or the selection by which it means the mask view of that selection. You can also control what you are seeing out here in the larger image window by changing the Selection Preview setting. So I might go ahead and set this to Grayscale, so I can see a mask version of my selection so far outside here in the image window and then inside of the dialog box, I might choose to see the image instead.
So a lot of flexibility here, a lot of options available to you. Everything is dynamic; it's just a thing of beauty. Notice that you'll see it reflected right there in the image window as I change that Fuzziness value on the fly. All right, but we are not done. I'm going to show you one more thing that's been added in Photoshop CS4. That's this guy right here, Localized Color Clusters. Stick with me.
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