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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 am going to introduce you to a couple of commands that are inexorably linked to the behavior of the Magic Wand tool. And those are under the Select menu the Grow command and the Similar command both of which expand an existing selection outline according to the Tolerance value that you set for the Magic Wand. And then we'll finish off the exercise using the Inverse command. Now then before we can use Grow or Similar, I'd like you to understand how they work. I'm going to go ahead and switch back to Gradients.psd found inside the 08_selections folder, and I'm going to click in the top gradient in order to, in this case, since the Tolerance value is set to 12, select 12 luminance levels lighter and 12 luminance level darker than the click point.
Now, watch what happens when I go to the Select menu and choose the Grow command. Photoshop goes ahead and expands the selection outline another 12 luminance levels brighter and darker than the former selection. So in other words, if I didn't want to expand quite as much, I would press the Enter or Return key in order to highlight that Tolerance value, change it to say 6 and then go up to the Select menu and choose Grow, and we expand the selection outline just a little bit, just 12 luminance levels.
If I want a bigger expansion, then I'll press Enter or Return, go ahead and select that Tolerance value. Let's change it to something like 60 this time around. Then go to the Select menu, choose Grow and I am going to get a whopping big expansion of that selection outline. So it's always looking to the Tolerance level. Alright, I'm going to go ahead and reset that guy to 12 so I can demonstrate similar to you. I'll press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Then I'll click in that top gradient once again, go to the Select menu and did you notice how every time I chose Grow, we stayed inside the top gradient? Well, if you want to jump the gap so that you're selecting both gradients, then you choose Similar.
That is the difference between these two commands. And obviously, I like that behavior better. I found it to work better in my own images which is why if you laoded dekeKeys, you have a keyboard shortcut of mash your fist M, which is Ctrl+Shift+Alt+M on the PC and Command+Shift+Option+M on the Mac. And that goes ahead and expands the selection, 12 luminance levels in either direction and selects those exact same colors in the bottom gradient. Now, here's something else to note about the behavior of this command. And it's pretty darn obscure, but I've never seen this demonstrated.
I'm going to go ahead and turn on the red bars layers here inside the Layers panel. Press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image, turn on Sample All Layers up here in the Options Bar. Obviously the Magic Wand is respecting the contents of all layers. So it's seeing the composite image. But now that Sample All Layers is turned on so too to both Grow and Similar. So if I choose the Grow command, I'm going to stay inside that top sliver of a gradient. If I go to the Select menu and choose the Similar command then I'm going to expand into the other gradients, but I'm going to avoid all the red bars.
Whereas, notice if I turn Sample All Layers off and go to the Select menu and choose the Grow command, then I am going to grow this selection according to the contents of just this selected layer which is the background layer and nothing more. So Sample All Layers affects Grow and Similar, just FYI. Alright, so how do we apply this information to the Manly Saw image which is the image in progress here? Well, I am going to make sure that my Tolerance value remains at 12, Anti-alias on, Contiguous on, Sample All Layers off for what it matters, since this is a flat image, and then, I'm going to go up to the Select menu and I could choose either command.
It's really not going to make any difference here, because after all the sky is wrapping all the way around the saw here. So both commands are going to perform just about the same. I'm going to choose the Similar command in order to expand the selection like so. And if you don't quite get the entire image selected, ignore for the moment that we've selected into the saw, the problem is we haven't selected enough sky. So if that happens to you, you can go up to the Select menu and choose Similar again. Now you may ask, hey Deke! You keep having a problem there. Why don't you change your Tolerance value? Why don't you raise it? If I do raise it, I stand not only the chance of selecting yet more of this saw, which is something I'm going to have the readdress later, but I might also start selecting into the yellow body or something along those lines.
So what I'm going to do instead is try the similar command one more time, and of course, I could invoke it from the keyboard if I want. That's one of the reasons I've given it a keyboard shortcut, is so that I can do it over and over again. And if I still don't get everything, why then, I can take advantage of my other selection tools. For example let's switch to the Lasso tool for a moment here, and I'm going to zoom out so that I can see the perimeter of the image. And I'm going to press the Shift key so that I can add to my selection, and I'll drag around this little bit of garbage there in order to select it.
Now, I am going to switch my Rectangular Marquee tool which is a great cleanup tool, and I'm going to Shift+Drag along the top of the image, and I'm going to Shift+Drag along the right-hand side of the image in a couple of passes so that I don't select into the saw. And that's it. We now have the sky completely selected along with a little bit of the saw blade, which as I say we're going to have to take care of later. Now then, because I don't want to select the sky, I actually want to select the glove and saw. So exactly the opposite of what I've selected so far, I'll go to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command or press Ctrl+Shift+I, Command+Shift+I on the Mac, and I have now selected the hand, the saw and a little bit of a blade.
We'll try to fill in that blade using the Quick Selection tool in the next exercise.
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