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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to gauge the quality of a selection outline in the Quick Mask mode, and then address any problems you may see. I'm still working inside ManlySaw image.jpg found inside the 08_selections folder, and if you're working along with me I'd like you to visit the History panel once again, so that you can see how long our list of history operations has become, and because my Quick Selection wasn't really all that quick to create, you can see how many times I had to click and drag with a tool. I want to go ahead ad back it up in memory by creating another snapshot.
So I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click that little Camera icon, and then I'll go ahead and call this guy quick blade and click OK, and now I have another snapshot. So if I click on selection safety, I'm going to see the magic wand state of that saw blade, and if I click on quick blade I'll see the most recent version of the selection outline. Now notice that all the individual history states are now dimmed, what that tells you is if you start to perform a new operation, for example, I'll just drag with the Quick Selection tool once again, they're all going to go away.
I still have my snapshots including the one that Photoshop created automatically for me when I opened the image. However, all the individual History states have been jettisoned, if you don't like that watch this, you can go up to the Edit menu and choose Undo Quick Selection or press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac and not only will that undo that last state, it will restore all of your History states as well. So this is one of the geniuses of having a single level undo that's independent of the History structure inside Photoshop. Anyway I'm going to go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of the History panel and click on Quick Selection once again, so I retain all of my states as many as I can keep anyway, up to 20 by default, and I'll hide the History panel.
And now I'm going to go ahead and enter the Quick Mask mode by clicking on this icon at the bottom of the toolbox or you can press a Q key both to enter and exit the Quick Mask mode. Now what we're seeing for starters is a kind of rubylith metaphor if you're familiar with old-school techniques and what that means is anything that's not selected has a red overlay and anything that is selected we see the actual image with no overlay and you can zoom out from the image and take it in if you want to. But that's not really going to help us gauge the quality of the saw blade.
I'm going to zoom back in, and I am going to visit my Channels panel for a moment here, and notice that Quick Mask appears as a temporary channel at the bottom of the list. It's actually a temporary alpha channel, we'll learn more about Alpha Channels when we take a look at masking in the mastery portion of this series. But note that I can see this mask independently of the image if I just go ahead and turn the image off. So if I click that eye in front of RGB then I just see the mask by itself. In which white represents the selected portion of the image and black represents the deselected portion, and you can actually paint in this mode you can paint white to add to the selection, you can paint black to delete from the selection, but right now all I'm doing is looking at this selection and thinking ye gads.
I'd zoom out a little bit for a moment just so I can take in the body of the saw which actually looks pretty good. It's a little jagged in places but the Magic Wand tool did a pretty good job, whereas the newer and supposedly improved Quick Selection tool has done just a ghastly job on this blade. Now your results may vary, buy in my case. I'm going to say I don't like this selection outline, I think I can do better with a different tool. So I'm going to press the Q key to escape the Quick Selection mode or I could click that icon at the bottom of the toolbox once again.
And I'm going to go over to the History panel and I'm going to go ahead and scroll up to that selection safety state and click on it in order to restore that state and get rid of the stuff I did with a Quick Selection tool or I could figure out the exact state in the list that I want to keep, and that would be right here, Select Inverse before my first quick selection. Either one is going to work. I'll go ahead and close the History panel. Now I'll switch over to the Lasso tool, like so, and I'm going to press the Alt key, I want to get rid of this garbage here, so I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and I will drag around this area in order to deselect it, and now it's gone, good.
The next step is to grab the Polygonal Lasso tool, and I'll scoot things over just a little bit here and then I'm going to press the Shift key so I can add to the selection and I'll click right here, and now I can release the Shift key because I've already instructed Photoshop I'm adding. I can see the Plus sign so everything is good to go and I'll click, click like so, click at this and right there, click right there. I'm kind of making up detail right now because it's so blurry, click at this point, and then I'll just go back. I'm not going to click along every one of those teeth, I'm not insane.
So I'll just come back to the body of the saw, like so, and then double-click at about that location and I go ahead and select the entire saw blade, awesome, and it's actually going to do a really great job, I'll show it to you in a minute, but first I want to show you a top- secret technique, in case you want to know, now some of you are going to roll your eyes and go, why would I want to do that? But just in case I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo the addition of that saw blade and I'm going to switch back to the Standard Lasso tool. You can get to the Polygonal Lasso tool by pressing the Alt key before you start using the tool, and that would be the Option key on the Mac.
But that technique only works when there is no selection outline going inside the image. We have a selection outline that we have been spending a fair amount of time on so we don't want to ruin it. And if I press the Alt or Option key at this point, then I'm going to get the Subtraction function. So the question is, how do I add to a selection using the Standard Lasso without switching tools and take advantage of the polygonal function? And I'll show you how that works, again be prepared to either love it or hate it. It's up to you, I'm just going to show it to you.
Go ahead and press the Shift key in order to add to the selection outline, begin dragging with the tool, release the Shift key, press and hold the Alt or Option key and then release the mouse button and begin clicking, like so. So that's how you take advantage of that polygonal function when you're in the process of using the Standard Lasso tool. Again, I'm going to demonstrate that again because it's a little weird, I'll undo by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. You press the Shift key, you begin drawing with the Lasso.
That way you're starting to add to the selection. Release the Shift key, keep the mouse button down, press and hold Alt or Option on the Mac, keep that key down now and now release the mouse button and click. But I still have the Alt key down, I don't have shift down anymore but I still have Alt or Option down, and I'll go ahead and trace that area like so and then all I need to do at this point is release the Alt or Option key and Photoshop goes ahead and completes the selection for me. Now let's press the Q key in order to enter the Quick Mask mode once again and that looks a lot better to me, it's not nearly so choppy, it doesn't have an definition to the blade, to the individual teeth in the saw blade, but you know what? I'm okay with foregoing that in the interest of getting smoother results.
Now I'm going to go ahead and turn off the RGB image once again so I can see my mask, and you can do that from the keyboard if you want to, I know I'm slinging a lot of keyboard shortcuts out here, but here is one, you can press the Tilde key and the Tilde key is the one directly above the Tab key or to the left of 1 key on an American keyboard and Tilde turns the RGB image off and it turns the RGB image on. So I'm going to press the Tilde key again in order to hide the RGB image, see the Quick Mask by itself, and there is one problem, one remaining problem right here. And that's this little thing right there, if I press the Tilde key to once again visit the RGB image we can see that that's a little bolt on the edge of the saw, so we've got to clean it up.
I'll press Tilde again to make the RGB image go away. I'm going to go get my Brush tool. You can also press the B key if you want to. I'm going to right-click with that tool on the Image window, I'm going to leave the Size at 13 pixels which is the default setting and I'm going to increase the Hardness to 100%, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key a couple of times in order to hide that panel, and I will click, but I need to make sure I have the right color selected. Right now if I were to click, I'd paint with black because that's my foreground color. So undo that, I'm going to click the Switch icon right here or press the X key to make white my foreground color and then I'll click again maybe click one more time in order to clean up that little mark.
All right, we're ready to use the selection outline, let's press the Q key in order to exit the Quick Mask mode. Our selection outline is good to go just one more thing that we ought to do and because we've spent so much time making this selection everything we wanted it to be. I think we ought to save it along with the image and I'm going to show you how to do that in the next exercise.
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