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In this movie, we're going to select the ground and the tree using a pair of automated selection tools inside Photoshop. The Quick Selection tool and the Similar command. And I'm going to switch to the Quick Selection tool which is located directly under the Lasso. Notice that it has a keyboard shortcut of W and that's because the Quick Selection tool shares a flyout menu with the Magic Wand. After selecting the tool, I'll go up to the Options Bar and turn on the Auto Enhance check box. That's very important to the performance of this tool.
When Auto Enhance is turned off, you get very choppy, ragged edges. When it's turned on, you get smooth edges. Theoretically, that might cause a performance hit where Photoshop is concerned, but I've never experienced one, and you do get much better results. Now notice that I have this little Ghostbuster's cursor, and that's telling me that I can't currently use the tool and that's because I have two layers selected in the Layers panel. You can only edit one layer at a time in Photoshop. And the layer I want to edit is the background. So I'll go and click on the background to make it active and then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on its Eye icon to view the background by itself.
Now notice that I have a circular cursor, that's Photoshop's way of showing me that I'm using a brush, and that's how the Quick Selection tool works, you brush in the selection. I'm going ahead and zoom in a little bit here and pan over, so I can see the tree. And what I'd like you to do is drag around the tree like so, so you're painting around the tree over that cloud, over there on the right-hand side and then down. And once you do, you should select the entire sky inside of this image, which is fairly remarkable.
So what this tool is doing is it's evaluating the area that you're painting, and then selecting to the nearest image edge, that is an area of rapid luminance transition. So when you're painting in the brightness of the sky, the tool reaches out to the darkness of the tree and stops. Now what that means is it doesn't select the portions of the sky inside the tree. And it does select a few leaves here and there in the tree as well. To get that area of sky in the tree, we need to take advantage of a command under the Select menu called Similar.
Similar goes ahead and selects those colors that are similar to the selected pixels throughout the image. So it'll jump inside the tree. The thing is, it works according to a specific tolerance range that you set up using the Magic Wand. So before we choose that command, I'm going to switch from the Quick Selection tool to the Magic Wand tool, and there's our Tolerance option right there. It's set to 32 by default. What that means is 32 luminance levels. Now remember back to our discussion a couple of chapters ago of luminance inside of Photoshop, zero is black and 255 is white.
So if you had a white pixel selected and you set the Tolerance to 255, you would select all the other luminance levels as well, including black. But if we had a white pixel selected and the Tolerance was set to 32, then Photoshop would only scoot 32 luminance levels away from white, and just select the brightest colors inside the image. We want to select every bit of sky we can, so I'm going to open up that Tolerance value by increasing it to 100 and then pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept that value.
Now let's go up to the Select menu and choose the Similar command, and Photoshop goes ahead and grows the selection to include every little bit of sky it can find. Now we really want the opposite selection, in other words, we want to select the tree and the ground. It just so happened that it was easier to select the sky instead. And you can always reverse the selection after creating it by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Inverse command. And now, the tree and the ground is selected and the sky is deselected.
And that's how you select a complex region using a combination of the Quick Selection tool and the Similar command here in Photoshop. In the next movie, we'll make the selection outline its very best using a command called Refine Edge.
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