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Photoshop CS4 for Photographers is an essential course for any digital photographer who wants to master the software's vast array of image enhancement techniques. Professional photographer and instructor Chris Orwig uses his own compelling images to demonstrate how the power of Photoshop can make photographers more passionate about their work. He covers many aspects of the application, such as working with RAW images, using curves and levels, making images snap, and enhancing bland photographs by converting them to black and white. Exercise files accompany this course.
Welcome to the chapter on selections. In the Photoshop community, there is this saying. "You have to select before you can correct." And the better that you can get at selections the better you will be at corrections. So we are going to learn some valuable things in this chapter and we are going to start off by talking about the Quick Select tool. Now this Quick Select tool was first introduced in Photoshop CS3. It is now part of CS4, it is a phenomenal tool, you will be using it all the time. All right, well, let's go ahead and select the file that we are going to work on annika.psd, double-click that one to open it up in Photoshop, F to go Full Screen View mode, Spacebar reposition the image.
Now you can select the Quick Select tool by way of shortcut. It is the W key or you can click on it in the Tools panel here. All right, well now that we have Quick Select here's what we are going to do. We are going to make our brush size a little bit bigger because I'm interested in selecting the background, making this back ground a solid color. Now because I'm going to select a large area I want to use a pretty big brush. So I'm going to press the right bracket key and that's going to increase my brush size. Then I'm going to go ahead and click and paint or click and drag around the edges of background. Now up here my brush is a little bit too big so I'm going to decrease the size, press the left bracket the key and I go ahead to continue to click and drag.
You will notice as I'm clicking and dragging it's finding the edge for me; it's finding the area of contrast. This little white corner down here, zoom in on that Command+Plus on a Mac/Ctrl+Plus on a PC, press the Spacebar and reposition, and let's move it over there, okay. And then left bracket key, I'm just going to get a nice small brush. And all I'm trying to do here is illustrate this idea that your brush size will help you get in the different detail areas. Now let's say that we are working around our image, in this case I'm holding down the Spacebar key to move around the image and I noticed that there was a problem, I'll create one. It went in too far. So I selected part of the fleece jacket, I don't want that, here's the way you can fix it. On a Mac press Option, on a PC press Alt. It changes the plus icon in the middle of your brush there to a minus icon we will now minus that or subtract that away, perfect. Double-click the Zoom tool; take it back to 100%.
Right, well the next thing that we need to do is to refine our edge. Now in order to refine the edge we need to choose one of the selection tools like the Quick Select tool or the Lasso tool or the Marquee tool, but I'll just choose Quick Select and then press Refine Edge. Now when I press Refine Edge I can all of a sudden ways see the edge of this particular selection, and I can see that in this case with this red rubellite overlay. Now there are a number of different options here, I can see the whole image, I can see there is a mask, I can see it on a white background or I can invert that and see it the other way. But let's go back to this red rubellite overlay. Now when I do that I notice that -- you know what, my selection has extended too far out, and it's extended too far out because of this particular contract setting that it remembered from when I previously use this menu. So I'm going to go ahead and increase that and then when I bring it up real high you can see that I'm going inside of that edge even a little bit further. Now I don't want to go inside of that, I want to get it right on that edge, that looks good, increase the contrast, radius just a touch, smooth it out, feathering how much transition do I want there, well not too much of a transition because it's going to be on a new color in the background. I think that looks nice. Click OK and now I have a new selection on that background.
Now if that selection isn't good enough I can go in and fix it some more. Again I'm going to do that by way of Refine Edge. Rather than showing you Refine Edge here I'm going to show you at another place. Okay, well now, I want to change the background. So I'm going to go to click on the Add Adjustment Layer icon and I'm going to choose Solid Color. Now when I choose a Solid Color in this case black I can begin to see the edge here, and I say, okay, that looks pretty good and let's make this white so we can see it in this white format. It will help us see little bit of the problem that we have here, click OK to apply that. All right, now that I apply that I notice it looks pretty good except I have a few little areas where I can see the blue and I wish this was just a little bit tighter. How can I modify that? I'll click in the Mask, I'll then navigate to my Masks panel and I'm going to choose Mask Edge, refine what, the Mask Edge, interesting. It's the same exact dialog as we saw before.
Now here what I can do is change the Contract and Expand so I can bring this in or out. I'm going to go ahead and bring that out just a little bit, and then I'll increase the contrast of the edge, I want it to be a little bit more hard, and I can view this a number of different ways, red rubellite overlay, just the image itself that would be really helpful, right, so I can see how far the selection extends into the background or not, so I'm going to bring that edge in, just trying to get some of those small little pieces of blue off which I was able to remove there. Smooth that out just a touch, just a touch of feathering.
Now a lot of times when you are doing this it's kind of tricky because of the marching ants. What you can do is press Command+H on a Mac/Ctrl+H on a PC to hide those. Again, that's a really important shortcut; write that one down, Command+H on a Mac/Ctrl+H on a PC. Bring them back, then I can also click on my Preview Before and after, and here you can see that all I have done these little edges down here I just brought that in a little bit further. Now that I have seen that, I realize it's a little bit too harsh so I'm going to try to smooth things out just a touch here. Make that a little bit more natural and click OK. All right, let's look at our Before and After, here is the Before and then the After, it looks pretty good, I can then double-click on the Color icon there and I can choose a new color for that background. And I want to just check out a couple of different colors to make sure that my background is looking good, that is, I'll go back to white and then click OK to apply that.
So in summary in this movie we looked at how we can use the Quick Select tool in combination with the Refine Edge option and then we create a mask and then we refine the edge of the mask. So one of the things that you can see here is you are going to start to use these different selection tools in combination with some of the other features inside of Photoshop. All right, I want to take one more quick look at the Quick Selection tool and we are going to do that in the next movie. See you then!
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