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Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.
Once you've made an initial selection with one of the Selection tools you'll often need to adjust the selection boundaries to get them just right. For example, you might want to reposition a selection boundary or transform its shape so that it better fits the underlying image. And sometimes you're going to want to completely invert your selection. Let's take a look at how to make these kinds of modifications to a selection. To start with I'm going to make a selection, not a very good one, one that needs adjusting. I'll go to the toolbox and I'll select the Elliptical Marquee and then I'm going to come in and I'm holding my Shift key down to constrain to a circle and I'm going to drag, but I'm not going to get it in the right position there.
Now if I want to move this selection you might think to go to the Move tool, which is here in the toolbox and then drag inside the selection, but notice that the Icon is now changed to scissors and what that means is that if you click-and-drag a selection with the Move tool, you take with the selection boundary the underlying image. That isn't what I wanted to do in this case, so I'm going to undo by pressing Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on a PC. If I want to move just the selection boundary then I need to go back to the toolbox and choose one of my selection tools.
Any of the Marquee tools here, the Lasso tools here, or any of the tools in this slot, which are Color Selection tools that we'll cover in another movie. So I get one of my Marquee tools and then I'm going to come in and click-and-drag that selection boundary and it goes without the underlying content. So I can use this technique to get that circle more where I want it in the image, and then if it still isn't exactly right, I can go onto transform the shape of the selection. To do that I'm going to the Select menu at the top of the screen and I am going to choose Transform Selection.
That gives me this bounding box with anchor points. I can click on any of the anchor points with my cursor and drag in to modify the shape of the selection or drag out if I didn't get it exactly right until it looks the way I want it, and I can also reposition with this bounding box. When I am all done making the transformation, I have to go up to the Options Bar and click this checkmark to accept the transform. If I want to reject the transformation I click this icon next to the checkmark. I'll click the checkmark right now and the bounding box disappears.
Sometimes you're going to find that it is easier to select the opposite of what you actually want to select in the end. A good example of that is when you are making changes to a landscape and the sky is relatively open so that it's easy to select, but the foreground has all kinds of objects on it and so would be a little more difficult to select. So you might find it easier to select the sky and then to invert your selection to get the foreground so that you can make some adjustments to the foreground. To invert a selection you'll go up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and choose Inverse. This is another shortcut you may want to remember.
It is Shift+Command+I on the Mac or Shift+Ctrl+I on a PC. So keep your eye on the image and notice that now there is a selection boundary all around the outside of the image indicating that everything except the red circle has been selected. Just to prove it I'm going to go to the toolbox and select the Brush tool, which has some black paint here in the foreground color box, and I'm going to click-and-drag and you see the black paint only goes in the selected area, which is every place except for the circle.
Let me undo that by pressing Command or Ctrl+Z, and then I'll deselect by pressing Command or Ctrl+D. Let me show you one more way that you can modify a selection. I find this one really comes in handy. It's the ability to automatically expand a selection. I'll show you what I mean. I'm going to command with the Rectangular Marquee tool. Let's say I wanted to select this whole green area. An easy way to do it is just to click- and-drag a small rectangular selection there and then go up to the Select menu at the top of the screen and go down to the Grow command. And boom! I've now selected all of the green that is contiguous to the small rectangle that I initially selected.
By contiguous to, I mean that pixels are touching one another in this selected area. Now watch what happens if I go back to the Select menu and I choose Similar instead of Grow. Now Photoshop automatically selects all of the green in the photo, not just contiguous patches of green. So this is a great way to select a large area without going to the trouble of selecting everything. You can just make a small selection and let Photoshop do the heavy lifting for you. It's actually making the selection based on similar colors and tones.
So please keep in mind that your initial selection isn't necessarily your final selection. There are quite a few ways that you can modify your initial selections. You can move them with any Selection tool, you can adjust them with the Transform Selection command, you can invert them, or you can use the Grow and Similar commands I just showed you to let Photoshop do the work of making a larger selection for you.
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