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In the real world selecting is a matter of reaching out and touching. Let's say you are talking to a friend and you're referring to say a starfish, cause you're in the ocean, talking to a friend. If there's any confusion about which starfish you mean, you can reach out and touch it. It's very easy to interact with real- life objects on an object-by-object basis. Photoshop lets you modify real life, but it doesn't live into real world. Try as you might, Photoshop doesn't let you select the starfish by reaching out and clicking on it because Photoshop doesn't perceive the starfish as an independent object.
Instead, the program sees pixels. Every pixel looks a lot like its neighbor. So where you and I see starfish, Photoshop sees a blur of subtle transitions largely without form or substance. So if you want to select the starfish, you have to tell Photoshop exactly which group of pixels you want to modify. Fortunately the program offers a wealth of selection tools to help you do just that. Some tools select regions of colors automatically, others look for edges, and still others require you to painstakingly define the selection by hand.
All can be used together to forge the perfect outline, one that exactly describes the perimeter of the element or area that you want to select. And you could do it on dry land, as you're about to see.
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