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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'm going to introduce you to Photoshop's 10 selection tools so you have an idea of how they work. Then in subsequent exercises I'll show you how to make the best use of them. I'm looking at an image called The wide road. jpg found inside your 08_selections folder. It comes to us from a group called LVI which is associated with Fotolia. I want you to see a curious thing about this image; I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on it. Notice these strange edges that we're seeing between the road and the sky.
And notice things go relatively okay here for a while and then turn super smooth, as if the landscape's been melted or something. We have these strange little orange dollops here and there. Then we have an intersection of grass and whatever former background this image originally came from. Then we have these stray grass flecks, right there, all set against this synthetic sky. Then if you take a close look at the road, it looks like it's been pretty severely stretched.
These are all the kinds of problems that I'm going to hopefully help you avoid over the course of this chapter and the many others in this series. Even so, I quite like this image. We're going to make great use of it, by the way, inside of our first project. It makes a great example of how the selection tools work. So we'll start things off with the Rectangular Marquee tool and its partner in crime, the Elliptical Marquee tool. You can get to them by pressing the M key. The Rectangle Marquee tool selects rectangles. The Elliptical Marquee tool selects elliptical regions inside of an image.
If those sound like two of the goofiest tools ever, I'm here to tell you, they are incredibly powerful. We are going to make outstanding use of these two tools in our first project. The goofy tools are these guys; the Single Row Marquee tool and the Single Column Marquee tool. I'll show you the Single Row Marquee tool. You select it. You click inside the image. You select a row of pixels across the entire width of the image, just one pixel tall. So it's good for web graphics. If you're trying to create a horizontal line or something like that for example, you would presumably be working on an independent layer, fill this selection with black or some other color and bang you got yourself a line.
Alright, I'm going to go ahead and switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool because I want to show you something here. If you want to deselect the image, and you're armed with either of the Primary Marquee tools, Rectangular or Elliptical, or you have the Lasso tool, you can just click off the selection in order to deselect it. The other thing you can do, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that deselection. You can also go to the Select menu and choose the Deselect command, or better yet, press Ctrl+ D or Command+D on the Mac. Alright, the next tools in the list are these guys right here, the three Lasso tool variations, all of which you can get to by pressing the L key.
The Primary Lasso tool here allows you to draw free-form selections and that's it. Now it's hard to be very careful with this tool especially if you're using a mouse. But I don't find that it performs all that much better if you're using a drawing tablet. I use it sparingly. So every once in a while, for just a little selection here or there, the Lasso tool comes in handy. The tool that I find to be more useful is the Polygonal Lasso tool because it provides more structure. Let me show you how that works. I'll go ahead and select it, press Ctrl+D or Command+ D on the Mac to deselect the image and begin clicking.
Notice all you do is click. You don't have to drag with this tool. You just click to set points in a free-form polygon. Then you either complete the selection by double- clicking or by going back to your first point and clicking. Then you've got yourself a selection. Now if you take a little more care than that, and you draw very carefully around a surface like this, you can create some very good selection outlines using this tool. Alright, I don't know what I'm selecting here but still I'm imagining there's something there in the sky.
I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. I'll switch now to the Magnetic Lasso tool. The Magnetic Lasso tool is the first of Photoshop's three automated selection tools. What is does is it looks for an edge inside of an image. An edge is an area of rapid luminance transition. And in case that sounds like gobbledygook, what I mean is an area that goes from dark to light very quickly. For example, this hump of vegetation here is an obvious edge. That's what the Magnetic Lasso tool wants to see.
What you do with this tool is you click with it. You don't drag. You never need to drag with this tool. You just click. Then you just start moving your mouse. I'm not even clicking anymore. The tool is just automatically setting down points as I move my cursor. So I do not have the mouse button down. If you do have the mouse button down, you'll just cause your finger a bunch of aggravation. There's no reason to do that. So just move along the edge like so, it will just sit there and select things. Then if you want to take control you can click to set a point. Then click at another location.
Click at a different location. Then click at the beginning to complete that selection outline. So again, used sparingly, this is a pretty great tool. All of these tools can be used in combination with each other as well. It's a very important point, and you'll see that before this exercise is out. Alright, I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+ Minus, Command+Minus on the Mac to zoom out. Switch back to the default Lasso tool. Then we're going to advance down here to these two guys: the Quick Selection tool and the Magic Wand, hence the W as the keyboard shortcut.
Now the Quick Selection tool is a relatively recent tool. And the Magic Wand tool is a very, very old tool inside of Photoshop; it's a Photoshop 1.0 tool. This guy is a CS3 tool, for what it's worth. The Quick Selection tool allows you to paint in a selection. So you get this little brush, and then you just drag with it in order to select into an edge like so. So it automatically grows the selection outline to fill in what it considers to be the edges. It's an easy tool to use. However, it's a difficult tool to manage because you don't really have any control over its behavior.
Alright, I'm going to go ahead and drag down here into here a little bit as well. Notice, see? Why did it not select that little region right there? I have no idea why it left that open. Anyway I can click on it to go ahead and select it. But still, you'll get more of a sense as we work through these exercises. Alright, I'm going to now select the Magic Wand tool and the Magic Wand tool selects luminance ranges inside of Photoshop. So you can select your shadows or your highlights, or your midtones. Because it evaluates luminance differently in different color channels, you can use it to select regions of color.
For example, if I click in the sky, then Photoshop's going to automatically grow that selection to include all adjacent and similar colors in that sky, as gauged by these options up here in the Options Bar. So you do have a fair amount of control over the behavior of this tool. It tends to be much maligned; you'll sometimes hear people call it the tragic Wand tool. However, more than anything else, it's just old technology. It can work very nicely as long as you reign in your expectations. Alright, anyway I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that new selection.
I want you to see how Photoshop treats a selection outline as a full-fledged citizen of the image. You can undo it. You can redo it. You can move it if you want to. I could drag it to a different location. I could even drag and drop it between different images, so a lot of options available to you. You can add to a selection. For example, if I go and grab my Marquee tool and I switch to this setting right here in the Options Bar that says Add to Selection, then I can go ahead and finish off this selection outline just by dragging across the lower region of the image.
Now the selection is done. So you can see, how powerful these tools are, when used in combination with each other. The selection outline that we're seeing right now, I created using the Magnetic Lasso tool, the Quick Selection tool and the Rectangular Marquee tool working together. So a different tool from each one of the three slots. Alright, I'm going to switch back to that first setting. This is very important that you do this too, if you're working along with me, because you don't want to be forced to add to the selection every time you use the tool. The final selection tool is not really a selection tool because you don't modify selection outlines with it, you modify selected pixels.
It's the Move tool. It allows you to move the selection to a different location. You can drag-and-drop between images. You can drag layers around. You'll see that tool in all kinds of detail. What I'm going to do in the case of this image, just to finish things off, is I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. And because I'm working on a flat Background layer that brings up the Fill dialog box here inside Photoshop CS5 . By default Use is set to Content-Aware. If you're working long with me, make sure it is on your end too. Then I'm going to go ahead and click on the OK button.
Now this is going to take a few moments. Basically what Photoshop is doing is it's going to the deselected portion of the image, the sky and it's trying to call detail from the sky and then map it onto the road below. So it's quite a complicated process. So it does take a little time to pull off. We're accelerating things a little bit inside the video. Your Progress may be slower. Then notice that Photoshop fills the selection with the contents of the deselected portion of the image. It goes ahead and maps that sky onto the selection as well.
By mapping I mean notice that it's actually curving to fit the contours. Sometimes it's repeating. It's doing all kinds of weird stuff. Anyway, at this point, I'm now going to fade this new sky with the original landscape, by going up to the Edit menu and choosing this command Fade Fill, Ctrl+Shift+F or Command+Shift+F on the Mac, brings up the Fade dialog-box. I'm going to switch the Mode. I could switch for example to Overlay in order to get this crazy reflection effect right here. It doesn't look exactly right though. I prefer in the case of this effect Multiply, which basically uses the sky to darken the image, as if the sky is somehow casting a shadow.
Then I'll click OK in order to accept that effect. I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Zoom in and press Shift+Tab to hide my right side palettes. There is my final truly goofy effect, thanks to the flexibility of the selection tools here inside Photoshop. Now let's get a sense for how they really work.
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