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The Color Range command

From: Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

Video: The Color Range command

When the area of an image that you want to select can be clearly defined based on color values, the color range command can be very helpful. For example, with this image, I can use the color range command to create a selection of the blue of the sky or the various yellows, oranges, and other tones that are found in the leaves. To get started I'll make sure that my background layer is active. In this case, that's the only layer that I have For this image and from the Select menu I will choose Color Range. That will bring up the Color Range dialog. By default the initial selection will be based on a foreground color so right now I have a selection that is based on black, since black is my foreground color. The selection preview is shown here in the color range dialog. The white areas indicate areas that are selected.

The Color Range command

When the area of an image that you want to select can be clearly defined based on color values, the color range command can be very helpful. For example, with this image, I can use the color range command to create a selection of the blue of the sky or the various yellows, oranges, and other tones that are found in the leaves. To get started I'll make sure that my background layer is active. In this case, that's the only layer that I have For this image and from the Select menu I will choose Color Range. That will bring up the Color Range dialog. By default the initial selection will be based on a foreground color so right now I have a selection that is based on black, since black is my foreground color. The selection preview is shown here in the color range dialog. The white areas indicate areas that are selected.

And the black areas indicate areas that are not selected. Of course, this small thumbnail can be a little bit difficult to evaluate. But in a moment we'll take a look at how we can utilize the image itself to preview our results. I'll move the dialog out of the way so that we can see that image a little bit better. And our first step is to sample my initial color. So I'll go ahead and click in the image to define an area that has a color value I would like to include in my selection. That means I'm using the eyedropper, since that tool is active by default in the color range dialogue. And also, it's important to bear in mind that I'm using my sample colors option because I want to choose specific colors to include in my selection. With that initial color identified, now I can switch to the plus eye dropper and then click in the image in order to identify additional colors that should included in the selection. In fact I can also click and drag in order to sample a variety of colors as I'm essentially painting across the photo.

At this point looking at the preview in the color range dialogue, you can see that it looks like we're getting a pretty good selection started here. But of course that's a small view of the image. And so I need to check to make sure I'm really getting a good result. For that I can use the selection preview option. The default is none so that I just see the normal image without any Indication of the selection. I also can choose a grey scale view, which is essentially a larger version of the thumbnail we're seeing in the color range dialog. I can choose black matte, and that will cause the selected areas to appear normal, and the non-selected areas to appear black.

White matte is the exact opposite. Once again the areas that are selected will appear normal. And the non-selected areas will appear white. Or, I can utilize the Quick Mask option. This makes use of the setting for quick mask mode. The default is a red color that places an overlay on de-selected areas of the image. So the areas of the image that are selected once again appear normal. But areas that are not selected appear with this red overlay. In this particular case, that won't work very well because that red interferes with the colors in the fall colors, but I can also change my Quick Mask settings if needed, in order to get a better look.

But in most cases I'll actually just make use of the Gray Scale option. That's a larger version of the preview that I'm already seeing in color range, because I'm seeing that same preview for the full image. And I can even zoom in, of course. But right away we can see there are some grey areas that are not completely selected. They are partially selected. And I want them to be included in the selection. And so I will paint in some of those areas. It can be helpful at times to switch back and forth between the none option and then the greyscale option so that you can very clearly see whether or not an area that is not currently selected should be included in the final selection.

In this case there isn't too much ambiguity so, I'll just Paint along some of the areas that it looks like I need to add to that selection. I also want to make sure to click on some of the branch areas, so that those colors will be included. And then I can switch back to the none option as I need to in order to see the overall image and get a better sense of where things are. I can also Also utilize that Gray scale option and again, once I get to this point, that's when Quick Mask would tend to be a little bit more helpful. I'll zoom in on a portion of the photo for example and you can see quite clearly where that mask edge is.

In other words where the red overlay is being painted on top of the leaves for example Versus areas that are included in the selection, so we can see for example, if there are any areas of leaves that include the red overlay, and those I would want to add to the selection. And because that red overlay is translucent I can get a pretty good sense whether or not an area is just a hole in the reef, for example, or if it's actually part of the leaf and therefore should be included in the selection. So you can make use of these various selection preview options, but in most cases I find that that greyscale option provides a pretty good sense of whether or not I have a good selection created.

We can then adjust for the fuzziness and fuzziness is actually a really good name for this particular option. It essentially combines a couple of different capabilities. When I increase fuzziness, I am creating a more fuzzy selection. In other words, a selection with some feathering applied to it. But I'm also sampling additional areas of the image. But that setting is specific to the colors that I've sampled. Let me show you exactly what I mean. I'll go ahead and switch to the None option for Preview, and then I'm going to subtract some color values from my selection.

And then I'll switch back to the gray scale view. You'll see, of course, that I have a selection that doesn't include all of the fall colors anymore. But if I increase the fuzziness value, you'll see that I gradually increase the range of colors that are being included in the selection. But only similar colors to those that I've already sampled are being added to the selection. So you'll notice that I'm significantly altering the selection in the leaves but I'm not encroaching on the sky. Because the colors I sampled are being taken into account. So this can be very helpful in increasing the quality of the selection, because I don't have to worry too much about expanding that selection into areas that I don't want selected.

Of course in most cases, it's best to use a relatively low setting for fuzziness, and to sample additional colors as needed, in order to produce a great selection. So, I don't I don't want to just increase fuzziness after selecting a couple of colors. Rather, I want to use a relatively low setting for fuzziness and then sample additional colors in order to expand that selection. And in fact, I might even reduce fuzziness while I'm working so that I can make sure that I'm sampling a good range of color values within the image. But in situations where I have adjoining colors that are similar to each other And I want to have a little bit of a transition for the effect I'm going to add later, then I might increase that fuzziness at least a little.

It will help to soften up the overall transitions for the selection in the image. So often times, a little bit of fuzziness can be a good thing. It just depends on your particular needs for the selection and what you're going to use that selection for For. At this point though it looks like I have a pretty good result for my selection. Notice that I can also invert my selection on the fly, so I can switch to a selection of the sky versus the tree. But in this case I want that tree to be selected so I'll go ahead and click OK. And now I have a good selection of that tree and it was relatively easy to make based on the color values within the tree.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop
Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

51 video lessons · 10797 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
  2. 46m 26s
    1. Selections, alpha channels, and layer masks, oh my!
      5m 48s
    2. Anti-aliasing and selections
      6m 6s
    3. The case for not feathering selections
      6m 50s
    4. Adding, subtracting, and intersecting
      7m 31s
    5. Inverting a selection
      3m 4s
    6. Mixing and matching selection tools
      2m 32s
    7. Using Deselect and Reselect
      3m 47s
    8. Temporarily hiding a selection
      2m 7s
    9. Saving and loading selections
      6m 14s
    10. Using the cursor for selections
      2m 27s
  3. 51m 42s
    1. The Rectangular Marquee tool
      8m 24s
    2. The Elliptical Marquee tool
      6m 2s
    3. The Lasso tool
      4m 55s
    4. The Polygonal Lasso tool
      6m 27s
    5. The Magnetic Lasso tool
      10m 9s
    6. The Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    7. The Magic Wand tool
      10m 12s
  4. 38m 38s
    1. Selecting the border of an existing selection
      1m 50s
    2. The Color Range command
      7m 19s
    3. Focusing a Color Range selection
      2m 55s
    4. Selecting faces with Color Range
      2m 31s
    5. The Pen tool
      5m 40s
    6. Selecting by luminosity
      3m 39s
    7. Selecting from a channel
      6m 13s
    8. Transforming a selection
      4m 4s
    9. Quick Mask mode
      4m 27s
  5. 50m 46s
    1. Combining layers into a single document
      1m 49s
    2. Layering images manually
      1m 55s
    3. Assembling a panorama automatically
      3m 1s
    4. Advanced blending
      4m 0s
    5. Painting to hide and reveal
      3m 24s
    6. Creating a selection-based composite
      2m 43s
    7. Select, then paint
      3m 28s
    8. Advanced mask cleanup
      6m 18s
    9. Creating an edge-fade effect
      2m 23s
    10. Using a filter to add an artistic edge
      3m 6s
    11. Using a brush effect to add an artistic edge
      5m 30s
    12. Transforming a masked object
      1m 51s
    13. Unlinking image and mask
      2m 53s
    14. Matching composite images
      2m 17s
    15. Adding layer effects with masks
      2m 21s
    16. Reviewing layer masks
      3m 47s
  6. 28m 58s
    1. Painting in an adjustment
      3m 20s
    2. Shades of gray
      3m 14s
    3. Using the Gradient tool
      4m 4s
    4. Adjusting a selected area
      1m 42s
    5. Creating a vignette effect with masking
      2m 13s
    6. Using a layer group
      3m 34s
    7. Working with multiple masks
      4m 5s
    8. Refining an adjustment mask
      6m 46s

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