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Inverting selections

From: Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth

Video: Inverting selections

Before you make a selection, my advice is to take a second to analyze the image, and consider whether it's going to be easier to select what you're ultimately after, or the opposite of what you're after. In this case, for example, I'd like to select the foreground items: the stoplights and the street sign. But I'm guessing that it's going to be quicker and easier to select that solid color background, the light-blue sky, then to use the Invert command to invert that selection to select the foreground items. I'll give it a try using the Magic Wand tool.

Inverting selections

Before you make a selection, my advice is to take a second to analyze the image, and consider whether it's going to be easier to select what you're ultimately after, or the opposite of what you're after. In this case, for example, I'd like to select the foreground items: the stoplights and the street sign. But I'm guessing that it's going to be quicker and easier to select that solid color background, the light-blue sky, then to use the Invert command to invert that selection to select the foreground items. I'll give it a try using the Magic Wand tool.

With the Tolerance option in the Options bar set to its default of 32, I'll click in the blue sky. That selects most of the sky on the first click. I'll hold down the Shift key, and I'll click in this area down here that wasn't included in the initial selection. That's an almost perfect selection of the sky. But my ultimate goal isn't to select the sky in this case; it's to select the foreground items. So, I'll go up to the Select menu, and I'll choose Inverse. Now I've got the stoplights and the street sign selected.

To confirm that, I'm going to select the Brush tool. With a contrasting color, in this case white, I'll click and drag over the image. The areas where the white appears are the selected areas. That confirms that I do have the foreground, and not the background selected. Because sometimes I find it's a bit difficult to tell, particularly in a more complex image than this. I'm going to press Command+Z on the Mac, Ctrl+Z on the PC to undo those white paint strokes. I might clean up this selection a bit more by selecting the Lasso tool in the toolbar, and then making sure that in the Options bar, I have the Add to selection icon selected.

Then I'll come into the image, and I'll click and drag around those small marching ants that indicate a couple of pixels inside of the street sign, and the stoplights that didn't get fully selected. So, the next time you're making a selection, do take a second to analyze your image and consider whether it's going to be faster and easier to select the opposite of what you really want, and then use the Invert command to select the items you're really after.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth
Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth

47 video lessons · 22238 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 28s
  2. 30m 22s
    1. Changing part of an image
      5m 2s
    2. Using Content-Aware Fill
      5m 31s
    3. Compositing images
      4m 18s
    4. Correcting part of a photograph
      3m 51s
    5. Replacing a sky
      4m 46s
    6. Cropping an image
      1m 8s
    7. Building an object
      5m 46s
  3. 18m 52s
    1. Understanding selections and masks
      7m 26s
    2. Deselecting and reselecting
      2m 23s
    3. Hiding selection boundaries
      3m 15s
    4. Moving selection boundaries
      2m 14s
    5. Inverting selections
      2m 9s
    6. Selecting all
      1m 25s
  4. 17m 8s
    1. Transforming selections
      3m 16s
    2. Combining selections
      7m 31s
    3. Expanding selections
      6m 21s
  5. 41m 48s
    1. Selecting hair, pt. 1
      6m 26s
    2. Selecting hair, pt. 2
      6m 6s
    3. Removing color fringe
      5m 17s
    4. Selecting an object with hard and soft edges
      6m 55s
    5. Anti-aliasing vs. feathering
      9m 9s
    6. Working with Refine Mask
      7m 55s
  6. 16m 14s
    1. Selecting rectangles with the Rectangular Marquee tool
      6m 29s
    2. Selecting ovals with the Elliptical Marquee tool
      4m 44s
    3. Selecting straight edges with the Polygonal Lasso tool
      5m 1s
  7. 18m 9s
    1. Selecting freehand with the Lasso tool
      4m 57s
    2. Selecting precisely with the Pen tool and paths
      7m 32s
    3. Snapping to edges with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      5m 40s
  8. 28m 11s
    1. Selecting painlessly with the Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    2. Making the Magic Wand tool work for you
      5m 23s
    3. Selecting colors with the Color Range command
      5m 39s
    4. Changing colors with Replace Color and Hue/Saturation
      5m 16s
    5. Working with the Background Eraser tool
      6m 20s
  9. 20m 55s
    1. Selecting layer transparency
      3m 31s
    2. Selecting image luminosity
      3m 47s
    3. Increasing contrast in Camera Raw
      8m 40s
    4. Fine-tuning a color channel selection
      4m 57s
  10. 17m 1s
    1. Saving selections for reuse
      6m 2s
    2. Loading and modifying saved selections
      4m 54s
    3. Sharing selections between images
      6m 5s
  11. 13m 54s
    1. Cleaning up selections in Quick Mask
      4m 42s
    2. Filtering selections in Quick Mask
      2m 34s
    3. Painting selections in Quick Mask
      2m 10s
    4. Making Step and Repeat web buttons in Quick Mask
      4m 28s
  12. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

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