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Making geometric selections

From: Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Video: Making geometric selections

Making a selection is the way to isolate part of an image in Photoshop. Why would you want to isolate part of an image? So that you can work on just that area without affecting the rest of the image. Before we start making selections on this file I'd like to show you a couple of examples of why you might want to make a selection. Let's say that you were working on this photograph and you decided that you wanted to make the sky more contrasty but you didn't want to affect the color of the buildings. The way to do that is to first make a selection of the sky and then correct the contrast. Or let's say you're working on this file and you want to change the color of the yellow balloon but leave the color of everything else the same.

Making geometric selections

Making a selection is the way to isolate part of an image in Photoshop. Why would you want to isolate part of an image? So that you can work on just that area without affecting the rest of the image. Before we start making selections on this file I'd like to show you a couple of examples of why you might want to make a selection. Let's say that you were working on this photograph and you decided that you wanted to make the sky more contrasty but you didn't want to affect the color of the buildings. The way to do that is to first make a selection of the sky and then correct the contrast. Or let's say you're working on this file and you want to change the color of the yellow balloon but leave the color of everything else the same.

The first step is to make a selection of the balloon. Or let's say you have this shot of a water tower but the background has that white sky look that just isn't very appealing. So you want to take the water tower and its plants and put it against a more vibrant background. Yes, you would select the water tower and the plants even though that's a little more difficult than the other files I showed you, and then drag the water tower into another image. In this chapter I'll show you how to make all of the selections I just showed you, but first, let's go back to basics. You'll learn in this chapter that there are lots of Selection tools and features available to you.

The trick is knowing which of those is best suited for a particular selection. We are going to get started by looking at the tools that you'll use to make geometric shape selections, like squares, circles and most importantly shapes made up of straight lines, and that includes things like triangles and polygons and irregular shapes too. So how do you make a selection in the shape of a rectangle? I'm going to the toolbox and I'm going to click on the first of the Selection tools here, which is the Rectangular Marquee tool, and to make a rectangular selection all I'm going to do is come over to the image, click and holding the mouse down I'm going to drag and I'm dragging diagonally to the other corner of this rectangle and releasing my mouse.

These animated lines that you see are the boundaries of my selection. These are called the marching ants. Now what if I decided I don't want this selection? Then I'm going to deselect. The way to deselect is to go to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Deselect. This is something you're going to do all the time so it's worth remembering the shortcut, which is Command+D on a Mac or Ctrl+D on a PC. And by the way while I have this menu open, take a look and you'll see that there are lots of different commands here that are related to Selections. So if you're looking for a selection related command at any time, this menu is the place to go.

Now if I do want to deselect using that shortcut I'm going to press the Command key and the D key at the same time, Ctrl+D on the PC. And now I want to show you how you can constrain a rectangular selection to a square shape. To do that I'm going to hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and then I'm going to drag and then the portions of the selection will stay in the shape of a square no matter how big or small I make the selection. Now what's important here is to release your mouse before you release the Shift key. I'm going to deselect this selection by pressing Command or Ctrl+D and now let's talk about how to make a circular selection.

That requires a different tool, one that's hidden behind the Rectangular Marquee, so I'm going back to the toolbox and I'm going to choose Elliptical Marquee tool. And I'm going to come over and make a selection around this red circle. First I'll just draw an oval to show you that you can click-and-drag and make an oval in any shape or any size like this, Command or Ctrl+D to delete that selection. If I want to make a circular selection constraining that oval I have a couple of ways to do it. One way is to hold the Shift key down as you drag and that constrains the circle. But I actually don't like to do it that way, because in order to make the circle fit right on top of that red dot I have to use my free hand to hold down some other keys on the keyboard as I'll show you in a minute.

So instead Command+D or Ctrl+D to deselect I'm going to go up to the Options Bar for the Elliptical Marquee tool and I'm going here where it says Style and I'm going to choose Fixed Ratio. That fills in the Width and the Height with a one-to-one ratio, which is the ratio for drawing a circle. So now I'm going to come down into my image, I'm going to start with my cursor at the top left of the red circle in the photograph. This time I don't have to hold the Shift key. I'll just start dragging and I'm making a selection in the shape of a circle but notice that it moved away from the arc of the red circle in the photograph.

So here's how you do this. I haven't released my finger from the mouse yet and that's the important point. You have to leave your finger down the whole time on the mouse. So with the mouse pressed down, with my other hand I'm going to press the Spacebar and now with the Spacebar and the mouse down, I can move that selection boundary over so it just fits on top of the circle. And then I've released the Spacebar. If I wanted with my mouse down I could still tweak this a little, moving it bigger or smaller, and when I am all done, I'll release the mouse. Command+D, Ctrl+D on a PC to deselect. I'm going to go back up and change that Style to Normal so that next time I use this tool I'm not constrained to a circle.

Now I'd like to show you how to make one more kind of geometric shape and that is a straight-edged shape. For that I'm going to use a different tool. Tools here below the Marquee tools are the Lasso tools. The first of those is just a free- form drawing tool, the Lasso tool. I usually don't use that because you have to have a very steady hand to draw a smooth selection with that tool. But I do often use the Polygonal Lasso tool. So I'll select that one and then I am going to come over to my image and I'm going to start drawing a triangular selection around this block.

To do that I'll click once and then I'm releasing my finger from the mouse and I'm just going move the mouse down, and as I do I'm taking this line with the me. It's like a thread. When I get to the other corner of the triangle, I'll click there and then I'll go in the other direction moving the thread up without pressing the mouse and click there, and as I get back toward the beginning I can double-click or I can wait till I get to the beginning and I'll see that tiny circle next to the Lasso tool icon. I'll click there and that closes the selection that I'm making. Now you can use the same method with any shape that has straight edges, be it a polygon or a star or even a square.

The Geometric Selection tools that I've just showed you are very basic. They are just a starting place for learning about Photoshop selections. And they'll come in handy when you are trying to select anything in a photograph or build a graphic image that involves a geometric shape. Like any of the selection features, these tools allow you to isolate an area of an image so that you can affect just that area with an adjustment, a filter, a deletion or almost anything you can do to an image in Photoshop.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

103 video lessons · 67959 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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