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Magic Wand and Grow

From: Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Magic Wand and Grow

In this movie, we're going to select that giant sunflower that appears at the foreground of the final composition, and we're going to do so using a combination of the Magic Wand tool and the Grow command. Now in the end, we want to select the sunflower. However, it's pretty complicated by comparison to its background. So we're once again going to select the background and reverse the selection. So if you're working along with me, select the Magic Wand tool below the Lasso tool. If you don't see it there, select the tool from the Quick Selection tool flyout menu.

Magic Wand and Grow

In this movie, we're going to select that giant sunflower that appears at the foreground of the final composition, and we're going to do so using a combination of the Magic Wand tool and the Grow command. Now in the end, we want to select the sunflower. However, it's pretty complicated by comparison to its background. So we're once again going to select the background and reverse the selection. So if you're working along with me, select the Magic Wand tool below the Lasso tool. If you don't see it there, select the tool from the Quick Selection tool flyout menu.

And then just to restore the default settings, I'm going to right-click in the Magic Wand tool icon on the far left side of the Options Bar and choose the Reset tool command. And that resets all the options except this Sample Size option that it shares along with the Eyedropper, and I'm going to go ahead and change that back to Point Sample so Photoshop tracks just the pixel upon which I click. Now this is a pretty straightforward tool to use, but a lot of folks don't understand what's going on under the hood. What you do is you click on a pixel and then Photoshop grows the selection to include all similar colors.

However, as you can see here, it's not selecting the entire background and that's because the selection is based on a Tolerance value. The Tolerance is set to 32 by default, meaning that Photoshop is going to select 32 luminance levels brighter and 32 luminance levels darker than the pixel upon which I clicked. And it's going to do so on a channel-by-channel basis and average the selection accordingly. Also worth noting is Contiguous is turned on by default. What that means is Photoshop is just selecting adjacent pixels as opposed to, for example, dark green pixels that are located on the other side of the sunflower if there were such a thing.

Now I mentioned that the Wand works on a channel-by-channel basis because the tool works best with high color images. I'm going to switch over to the Channels panel and you may recall from the previous chapter that I was telling you that high intensity color is caused by dramatic differences between the channels. And so if I click on a Red channel, you can see that the sunflower appears very bright against the dark background. In the Green channel, the sunflower is only slightly brighter than this background overall. And then in the Blue channel, the whole darn image is nearly black.

And as a result, we have a ton of channel difference to work with, the Magic Wand tool really likes that. All right, I'm going to switch back to the RGB Composite, switch back to the Layers panel as well. Ideally what you'd be able to do is increase the Tolerance value. For example, let's say, well, apparently my Tolerance isn't set high enough. I'll take it up to 50, or something along those lines, and the selection would update, but that doesn't happen because it's a static control. So what you have to do if you want to add to the selection is press the Shift key and then click again in order to add to the selection, and I might Shift click over here as well.

And that selects almost everything, but there's a lot of background that isn't selected so far, which is where the Grow command comes in. Go up to the Select menu. You'll see that Grow and Similar appear right next to each other. They are actually variations on the same command and they are both linked to that Tolerance option that we just changed to 50. The Similar command will select all similar colors whether they are adjacent or not. The Grow command will just select the adjacent pixels. So in our case, Grow is the best bet because we just want to select this adjacent region of background.

So I'll go ahead and choose the Grow command and that selects almost everything. You can see that we're still missing this little corner of background, and I can add it in by Shift+Clicking with the Magic Wand tool. Or another way to work by the way, I'm going to start over actually. Press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac and I'm going to restore this Tolerance value to 32, and I'm going to click and Shift+Click and so forth inside the image. And I can spend a lot of time doing that or I could just increase the Tolerance value like crazy, let's say to a 100, and then go up to the Select menu and choose the Grow command and the deed is done.

Because the Grow command is essentially using every selected pixel and then growing the selection based on a tolerance of a 100 luminance levels, which means it's going to select a ton of the image, and because we have so much contrast, the selection does not leak into the petals of the flower. Now as I say, we've selected the background, we really want to select the flower. So go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command. And now let's prepare the flower for placement in the larger composition by giving the current image a layer mask.

So the background is selected. If you want to both convert this flat image to a layer and give it a mask, then just drop down to the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and click, and both operations are done at once. Then I'll go ahead and rename this layer, daisy. I'll go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command and then I'll go ahead and call this image Masked daisy. Make sure the Format is set to PSD, that the Layers check box is turned on, and then I'll click on the Save button. And now we have a masked and layered image, thanks to the Magic Wand tool working in combination with the Grow command.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals
Photoshop CC One-on-One: Fundamentals

102 video lessons · 20692 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 35m 44s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 51s
    2. Opening from the Windows desktop on Windows 8 NEW
      6m 16s
    3. Opening from the Windows desktop on Windows 7 or earlier UPDATED
      5m 48s
    4. Opening from the Macintosh Finder UPDATED
      7m 10s
    5. Opening from Photoshop or Bridge
      3m 52s
    6. Opening through Camera Raw
      5m 11s
    7. Closing one image and closing all UPDATED
      5m 36s
  2. 52m 47s
    1. Navigating your image
      40s
    2. The dark vs. the light interface UPDATED
      6m 2s
    3. Navigating tabs and windows
      4m 32s
    4. Panels and workspaces
      6m 20s
    5. Zooming incrementally
      6m 22s
    6. Zooming continuously
      2m 43s
    7. Entering a custom zoom value
      2m 25s
    8. Scrolling and panning images
      2m 31s
    9. Rotating and resetting the view
      2m 11s
    10. Cycling between screen modes
      3m 10s
    11. Using the Navigator panel
      3m 38s
    12. Using Retina and HiDPI displays
      4m 3s
    13. Adjusting a few screen preferences UPDATED
      8m 10s
  3. 1h 2m
    1. Digital imaging fundamentals
      1m 45s
    2. Image size and resolution
      6m 34s
    3. The Image Size command
      6m 9s
    4. Common resolution standards
      4m 7s
    5. Upsampling vs. real pixels
      7m 59s
    6. Changing the print size
      8m 15s
    7. Downsampling for print
      5m 14s
    8. Downsampling for email
      6m 22s
    9. The interpolation settings
      6m 40s
    10. Downsampling advice
      5m 5s
    11. Upsampling advice
      4m 15s
  4. 53m 20s
    1. The layered composition
      1m 40s
    2. Introducing the Layers panel
      4m 12s
    3. Adding, scaling, and aligning layers
      5m 27s
    4. Dragging and dropping layers
      4m 36s
    5. Stack, reveal, and rename
      3m 1s
    6. Opacity, history, and blend mode
      6m 5s
    7. Duplicating a selected portion of a layer
      5m 32s
    8. Applying a clipping mask
      3m 58s
    9. Blending inside a clipping mask
      4m 10s
    10. Finishing off your artwork
      3m 13s
    11. Creating a new layer and background
      4m 24s
    12. Layering tips and tricks
      7m 2s
  5. 26m 13s
    1. The art of the save
      54s
    2. Four things to know about saving UPDATED
      5m 59s
    3. Saving layers to PSD
      6m 34s
    4. Saving print images to TIFF
      4m 48s
    5. Saving an interactive image to PNG
      3m 40s
    6. Saving a flat photo to JPEG
      4m 18s
  6. 32m 16s
    1. Honing in on your image
      1m 43s
    2. The new and improved Crop tool
      4m 35s
    3. Editing your last crop
      6m 29s
    4. Cropping to a specific ratio or size
      5m 57s
    5. Straightening a crooked image
      4m 44s
    6. Filling in missing details UPDATED
      6m 44s
    7. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      2m 4s
  7. 44m 51s
    1. First, there is brightness
      2m 12s
    2. How luminance works
      4m 18s
    3. The three Auto commands
      3m 27s
    4. Automatic brightness and contrast
      6m 5s
    5. The Brightness/Contrast command
      2m 47s
    6. The dynamic adjustment layer
      4m 4s
    7. Editing adjustment layers
      3m 52s
    8. Isolating an adjustment with a layer mask
      3m 31s
    9. Introducing the histogram
      4m 58s
    10. Measuring an adjustment
      3m 34s
    11. Using the Shadows/Highlights command
      6m 3s
  8. 44m 33s
    1. And second, there is color
      1m 31s
    2. Identifying a color cast UPDATED
      3m 34s
    3. Correcting a color cast automatically
      3m 57s
    4. Changing the color balance
      6m 10s
    5. Compensating with Photo Filter
      3m 11s
    6. Adjusting color intensity with Vibrance
      3m 29s
    7. Correcting color casts in Camera Raw
      5m 46s
    8. The Hue/Saturation command
      5m 26s
    9. Summoning colors where none exist
      4m 8s
    10. Making more color with Vibrance
      4m 27s
    11. Making a quick-and-dirty sepia tone
      2m 54s
  9. 55m 46s
    1. Making selective modifications
      1m 10s
    2. The geometric Marquee tools
      6m 1s
    3. Aligning one image element to another
      4m 59s
    4. The freeform Lasso tools
      3m 59s
    5. The Polygonal Lasso tool and Quick Mask
      5m 19s
    6. Cropping one selection inside another UPDATED
      6m 15s
    7. Creating rays of light
      4m 44s
    8. Quick Selection and Similar
      4m 11s
    9. Making it better with Refine Edge
      4m 56s
    10. Integrating image elements
      2m 39s
    11. Magic Wand and Grow
      5m 17s
    12. Refine, integrate, and complete
      6m 16s
  10. 53m 48s
    1. Your best face forward
      1m 0s
    2. Content-Aware Fill UPDATED
      6m 11s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      5m 36s
    4. The more capable "standard" Healing Brush UPDATED
      5m 55s
    5. Meet the Clone Source panel
      3m 53s
    6. Caps Lock and Fade
      4m 57s
    7. The Dodge and Burn tools UPDATED
      5m 1s
    8. Adjusting color with the Brush tool UPDATED
      6m 35s
    9. Smoothing skin textures UPDATED
      5m 57s
    10. Brightening teeth
      4m 0s
    11. Intensifying eyes UPDATED
      4m 43s
  11. 49s
    1. Until next time UPDATED
      49s

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