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The Color Range command

From: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

Video: The Color Range command

Alright, a brief recap, I went ahead and dragged and dropped the glass image into the star background, then I set the new base glass layer to the Hard Light Blend mode and 80% opacity that allowed me to retain the base shadows and highlights from the glass image. Dropped away many of the midtones in order to reveal the star pattern in the background. Problem is that my highlights lack, I want them to appear as nice bright glint to go along with these stars in the background here.

The Color Range command

Alright, a brief recap, I went ahead and dragged and dropped the glass image into the star background, then I set the new base glass layer to the Hard Light Blend mode and 80% opacity that allowed me to retain the base shadows and highlights from the glass image. Dropped away many of the midtones in order to reveal the star pattern in the background. Problem is that my highlights lack, I want them to appear as nice bright glint to go along with these stars in the background here.

And I am going to do that by returning to the splash-in-glass image here that you can find inside the 10 masking folder. And I am going to select the highlight using the wonderful naturalistic organic Color Range command. But before we can do that, we need to get rid of our existing selection outline, otherwise the Color Range command will try to select inside of the existing selection and that would be a disaster. So go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to decimate any existing Magic Wand selection outline in the event you created one.

And now, I am going to switch back to the Marquee tool just so that I have this nice simple cross cursor. Then I am going to press the F key in order to enter the Maximize mode. Then, I am going to go up to the Select menu. I invite you to do the same and choose the Color Range command right here. And I think so highly of this command that I have gone ahead and assigned a custom keyboard shortcut. If you loaded my D-key shortcuts, then you will see that you can access the command by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O on the Mac, and that brings up the Color Range command right here.

Now, your preview may look different than mine, don't worry about that at all. Just know that this command works a lot like the Magic Wand tool. It's basically the Magic Wand on steroids as it turns out. Move your 1:56 EyeDropper cursor, notice you have got a little EyeDropper cursor here, move it out into the larger image window and then click on any old color inside of the image. And what that does is that goes ahead and nails that clicked pixel as the base color for your selection just as if you had clicked on that pixel with the Magic Wand tool.

But instead of seeing a new selection outline, you will see this mask preview right here, it's a little difficult to see what's going on. So I am going to click inside the background instead like so, and then I am going to add to the selection. I am going to add another base color by pressing the Shift key and clicking again. You may recall that Shift-clicking with the Magic Wand added a base color, well that's exactly what happens when you Shift-click with this little EyeDropper cursor hare when you are using the Color Range command, you add base colors to your selections.

So I am going to go ahead and click a few times. You can also Shift+Drag, as it turns out, to add colors on the fly, something that you can't do with a Magic Wand tool, there is a lot of stuff that the Color Range command can do that that the Magic Wand can't do. Now, check out this little Preview inside the dialogue box. It's showing you the selection as a mask. So instead of showing you the selection using marching ants, which are really actually not very helpful, it's showing you the selection as a very helpful mask. And you may recall when we are reading a mask, white means selected pixels, black means deselected pixels and gray means intermediate degrees of selection.

So you can have nice naturalistic transitions between your selected and deselect areas. Now, other things you can do, you can also by the way Shift-click inside of the preview if you want to and Shift+Drag inside the preview as well in order to add colors. And if you add too many colors like this, I have gone way too far at this point, then there is a couple of things you can do. One is you can press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac in order to take advantage of your one level of Undo that's available to you inside the Color Range dialogue box.

The other option is you can press the Alt key or the Option Key on the Mac and click on a color to remove it from the selection. And you can even Alt or Option+Drag if you want to, I am not going to do that because I get rid of pretty much my entire selection if I were to do that. But that is an option so you can subtract base colors from the selection by Alt or Option-clicking just as you can with the Magic Wand. Alright, I am going to go ahead and Shift-click in order to add back a little bit of base color here. Notice now this fuzziness value that's at the top of the dialogue box, it's analogous to the tolerance value associated with the Magic Wand tool.

So in this case, our default value of 40 is saying that Photoshop is going to go ahead and select 40 luminance levels brighter and 40 luminance levels darker than my base colors that I clicked and Shift-clicked on. But there is two differences between fuzziness and tolerance. For one, fuzziness is a dynamic control so it works on the fly. Notice that as I raise that fuzziness value, Photoshop goes ahead and adds to the selection. On the fly, it's not a static control as it is with the Magic Wand tool.

Secondly, I will go ahead and switch this selection preview here to grayscales so that we can see the mask big and beautiful here inside the image window. Notice that we have got all kinds of grays at our disposal and that is because fuzziness is an incremental selection control so it doesn't go ahead and select all 138 of these luminance levels in each direction, it incrementally selects them, so that only the colors that we clicked and Shift-clicked on, only our base colors are 100% selected, the other colors are slightly less and less selected as we move farther and farther away from them in terms of luminance levels until we get 138 luminance levels away in either direction, at which point the pixels are not selected at all, they are black.

Now, that's great because it means that the Color Range command is doing an amazing job of matching the organic information inside the image. So it will result in a naturalistic selection outline, something you can't really achieve using the Magic Wand tool. Alright, I am going to change that selection preview back to none so that we can see the full color version of the image. The final thing I am going to tell you about here is this invert checkbox, which allows you to reverse the selection. So it's just like the Inverse command under the Selection menu.

Those are the important controls inside the Color Range dialogue box. We will put those controls to work to select the highlights inside of the image inside the very next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

129 video lessons · 39058 viewers

Deke McClelland

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  1. 1h 15m
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
      2m 5s
    2. Selecting glass and water
      5m 23s
    3. Establishing a base layer
      4m 0s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 19s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 25s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 4s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 55s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 21s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 26s
    16. Blurring the layer mask
      5m 51s
    17. And that's just the beginning...
      1m 15s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Edge-enhancement parlor tricks
      1m 30s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 47s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 14s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 25s
    8. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      6m 23s
    10. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 4s
    11. Leave More Accurate off!
      2m 29s
    12. Turn More Accurate on
      2m 58s
    13. The Advanced options
      5m 17s
    14. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 18s
    15. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 0s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Why the heck would you blur?
      1m 20s
    2. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      7m 16s
    3. The Linear Box Blur
      2m 58s
    4. Median and its badly named progeny
      6m 3s
    5. Surface Blur and the rest
      5m 36s
    6. The Motion Blur filter
      3m 2s
    7. The Radial Blur variations: Spin and Zoom
      5m 55s
    8. The Captain Kirk-in-love effect
      6m 50s
    9. Averaging skin tones
      6m 2s
    10. Addressing the stubborn patches
      6m 0s
    11. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      4m 8s
    12. Blurring surface details
      7m 2s
    13. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      7m 52s
    14. Reducing digital noise
      8m 22s
    15. Smoothing out JPEG artifacts
      6m 1s
  4. 45m 28s
    1. Behold, the layered composition
      1m 13s
    2. The Layers palette
      5m 8s
    3. Enlarging the hand
      4m 40s
    4. Erasing with a layer mask
      6m 28s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 3s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 42s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 2s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 27s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 8s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 46s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 24s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 17s
    8. Introducing layer comps
      5m 52s
    9. Saving your own layer comps
      6m 40s
    10. Final footnotes
      5m 9s
  6. 1h 23m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 4s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 44s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 35s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      5m 38s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 52s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 53s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 13s
    12. The comparative modes
      7m 25s
    13. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 2s
    14. The brush-only modes
      8m 11s
    15. Blending groups
      7m 10s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. At this point, there is a great shift...
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 39s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 42s
    6. Replaying the last transformation
      3m 50s
    7. Second hand and shadows
      5m 0s
    8. Series duplication
      3m 23s
    9. Skews and perspective-style distortions
      6m 43s
    10. The envelope-style Warp function
      7m 32s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 2s
    13. Viewing layers and the mesh
      4m 18s
    14. Incrementally undoing undesirable effects
      4m 5s
    15. Twirl, pucker, and bloat
      2m 2s
    16. Push, mirror, and turbulence
      4m 37s
    17. Protecting regions with a mask
      3m 41s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 31s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 7s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 30s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 54s
    5. Exporting the gridlines to a layer
      4m 45s
    6. Cloning an image from one plane to another
      7m 58s
    7. Blending the image into its new home
      6m 31s
    8. Healing away the sockets
      7m 48s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 27s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 50s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 35s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 15s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 38s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 37s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 15s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 11s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 11s

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