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Introducing the Color Range command

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Introducing the Color Range command

In this exercise, I'll introduce you to the Color Range Command. Now because it was originally designed as a kind of replacement for the Magic Wand tool, it's best understood in the context of the wand, so we'll start things off with a brief wand refresher, then we'll move into the Color Range command and you'll see how it's similar to the Wand, but it produces better results. I'm going to switchover here from the Quick Selection tool to the Magic Wand tool and, by the way, if you're working along with me you should see vertical guideline to the center of this image. If you don't see it press Ctrl+; or Command+; on a Mac.

Introducing the Color Range command

In this exercise, I'll introduce you to the Color Range Command. Now because it was originally designed as a kind of replacement for the Magic Wand tool, it's best understood in the context of the wand, so we'll start things off with a brief wand refresher, then we'll move into the Color Range command and you'll see how it's similar to the Wand, but it produces better results. I'm going to switchover here from the Quick Selection tool to the Magic Wand tool and, by the way, if you're working along with me you should see vertical guideline to the center of this image. If you don't see it press Ctrl+; or Command+; on a Mac.

Now I've gone ahead and restored the default settings for both the wand and for the eyedropper, by the way, so the eyedropper set to Point Sample, because that affects the performance of the Magic Wand tool. Now I'll go ahead and switch back to the Wand. Notice that the Tolerance is set to 32 as by default. If I click right there on that vertical guideline I'm going to select 32 luminance level lighter and 32 luminance level darker as averaged across all three of the color channels, but let's say that's not what I want, I want a higher tolerance value. So I'm going to raise that guy to 120 let's say and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac.

My selection outline does not change, because that's a static modification, so I have to press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac and start again to create a larger selection. I'm going to click a little bit to the right of the guideline and because of the way this gradient was designed that helps me better center the selection. Notice because the Contiguous check box is turned on we're just selecting adjacent pixels, we're not jumping the gap, so that we can see what the selection looks like I'm going to switchover to the Channels panel and I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on that save selection icon to bring up the New Channel dialog box and I'll call this wand selection and I'll click OK.

Now click on the wand selection channel, so we can take a look at it press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac to deselect the image and I'll zoom in and you can see that even though the Anti-alias check box is turned on, we have nothing in the way of gray pixels going on here this is a jagged selection outline and that's because of the dithering that's inherent in the gradient. And dithering, by the way, is a random variation in the coloring of neighboring pixels that helps the gradient look smoother. However, it doesn't work very well with the Magic Wand tool. Anyway I'm going to zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on a Mac, let's see how things work similarly but better with the Color Range Command, I'll switch back to the RGB image then, if you're working along with me go ahead and tap the D key to ensure that you've got your default color selected.

In that way you'll get the same results as me then go up to the Select menu and choose the Color Range command or if you load a dekeKeys you can press that keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O, because this is such a great command I wanted to make sure you have easy access to it. Now I will go ahead and choose the command, what we're seeing here are the default settings, so you should still see the full-color image out here in a Image window, if you don't change your Selection Preview to None and you should also see a black rectangle in the center of the dialog box, if you see something else if you see the full-color image, for example, go ahead and click on Selection and that is what we're seeing.

So all the selected pixels in the image all the pixels that color range is going to select that is, are white meaning, it's not going to select anything at this point and everything that is not going to select is shown as black and so the Color Range command is showing us what the selection will look like as a mask. As I say so far we don't have anything selected, because we haven't defined the base color, you do that by clicking with this little eyedropper in the Image window, so I'm going to click right there on that center guideline and you'll see now that I'm starting to select some pixels.

So in other words the eyedropper is your magic wand when you're working inside the Color Range command. By default, this Fuzziness value set to 40, it works a lot like the tolerance value. In that we're selecting 40 luminance level lighter and 40 luminance level darker. However, there are two big advantages to it, for one thing, it's dynamic. So if I go ahead and increase that Fuzziness value to say 120, then I'm expanding the selection down here in the Selection Preview on the fly.

Also it's a gradual drop off. So in other words the color on which I clicked is absolutely selected, the colors that are 121 luminance levels away are absolutely deselected and everything in between is partially selected based on how close in color it is to that base color the color on which I clicked. So we've got this nice gradual drop off that's more in keeping with the continuous tone image. Also notice that the selection jumps the gap, so Color Range is always selecting non-adjacent pixels.

Now in next exercise I'll show you how this localized color clusters function allow you to sidestep that a little bit, but it works very differently than the Magic Wand tool. All right now I'm going to click OK in order to generate the selection outline and notice even though we were seeing the selection as a mask, Color Range goes ahead and generates a selection outline and that's always true unless you're working inside of a layer mask. All right, now that I've created this selection I'm going to go ahead and save it off by Alt+Clicking or Option+ Clicking on that save selection icon and I'll go ahead and call this one color range, and then I'll click OK and now we can compare the two.

Press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac there is our wand selection, doesn't jump the gap jagged as all get out and there is the Color Range selection it does jump the gap, but it also generates these very soft selections as you can see it's doing a brilliant job of following that contouring and dithering pattern at work inside the gradient. All right, so there is your introduction to the Command. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to work with the other functions inside the Color Range dialog box.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 29335 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
      52s
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
      55s
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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