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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 show you how to save a selection outline along with an image. My policy is, if you spend more than five minutes on a selection outline you ought to go ahead and save it. That way you can come back to the selection later if you need to modify it further, and in the event you crash you're protected. So let me show you how that works. I've got this selection outline that I've been working on here inside the ManlySaw image.jpg file. I'm going to go up to the Select menu; there is a couple of different ways to work her. Go up to the Select menu and choose the Save Selection command.
And that brings up the Save Selection dialog box which allows you to save the image in the current document or another open document of the exact same size. For example my Ad composite.psd image has exactly the same pixel dimensions so I could save the selection to that file instead, which might not be a bad idea because after all, the saw is ultimately going to be part of that composition. But instead I'm going to go ahead and save the selection inside of this image which is ManlySaw image.jpg, I'll create a new channel and I can even name the channel if I want to and I'll call it saw selection, like so, and then I'll click OK.
And notice this creates a new channel here inside the Channels panel, and this is by the way an Alpha Channel. So you've created an Alpha Channel inside of Photoshop. White represents the selected region, black represents the deselected region and in case you're worried this is kind of apples and oranges, I mean a moment ago like if I were to just press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. A moment ago I had a functioning selection outline and now all I have is a black-and-white image, what are these two have to do with each other? Well, they are one in the same thing in Photoshop's eyes.
This is how Photoshop sees the selection outline. White on the inside of the selection, black on the outside of the selection, and you can turn this Alpha Channel back into a selection in a heartbeat as I'll show you. All right, let's go ahead and back- step a couple of steps here by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z that would be Command+Option+Z, Command+Option+Z on the Mac to restore the selection outline and get rid of that new channel, because I want to show you a quicker way to work. If you just want to store the active selection inside the same image then you go to the Channels panel as I've done and you can get to it by going to the Window menu and choosing Channels or if you loaded dekeKeys, press Alt+F7, Option+F7 on the Mac, and then drop down to this icon at the bottom of the panel.
Save selection as channel click on it, it's that simple, and so we've just created a channel. Now it doesn't have a name, last time we were able to name the channel. If you want to name it at the same time go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, and instead of clicking on this icon press the Alt key or the Option key and click on it. And that forces the display of the New Channel dialog box and call it saw selection, like so, and then click OK, and we have an Alpha Channel inside the image. Now I'm going to be so bold as to go to the Select menu and deselect or press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac because I might want to do something else inside this image, maybe I want to retouch some details, what have you? I don't need the selection outline hanging out because after all I've gone ahead and saved it.
And by the way if you really want to ensure that you've saved the selection along with the image you need to actually save it. Now this is a JPEG image and JPEG images cannot accommodate Alpha Channels. So you'll need to go to the File menu and choose the Save As command or press Ctrl+Shift+S, Command+Shift+S on the Mac. And then I recommend if you're saving an Alpha Channel along with a layered image, an image that has layers in it in other words, then you would save it to the Photoshop PSD format, but if you don't have any layers as I don't then I recommend you switch to TIFF instead.
You're just going to get better compression out of it and this is lossless compression incidentally. And I'm going to go ahead and call this new file Saw with mask and I'll put it in the 08_selections folder for you. Make sure that Alpha Channels is turned on, and that's very important, ICC Profile: Adobe RGB (1998) ought to be on as well. As a Copy, definitely off; Use Lower Case Extension doesn't matter. Click Save, and then this is something else that matters. By default if you've never done this before Image Compression will be set to NONE.
You do not want that, you want LZW Compression turned on. It's a universally compatible compression these days and it's lossless and it does a great job specifically of compressing masks so that you have a smaller file on disk. Pixel Order should be left to its default which is Interleaved. Byte Order doesn't matter, you can select your system or the other system either way is going to work for you, click OK, and you have now saved that selection along with the image. Now at this point you're probably wondering how you get the selection outline back because you're going to need it in the next exercise, and here's what you do, one of two ways, you can either go up to the Select menu and choose the Load Selection command, and I'm just showing you the commands even though they are speedier tricks because a lot of people prefer to work with them.
I'll choose Load Selection, you make sure that the document is set to your current document, which it is, I just got down saving it as Saw with mask, Channel: saw selection, it should show that automatically, you want Invert off. You're making a new selection, you click OK, your selection outline is back. Did you lose anything? Going from the selection outline to the Alpha Channel and back to the selection outline, not a detail, it is a lossless conversion back-and-forth. You can do that as many times as you want and you will still have absolutely the exact same selection outline.
All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image. Here's the other way to load a channel as the selection, this is the way I'd advise you to do it because it's very handy, very quick. You make sure you're looking at the Channels panel once again, you drop down to the Alpha Channel, you press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and you click on it. So you Ctrl+Click on any channel, Command+Click on the Mac to load it as a selection outline. In our case of course we want to Ctrl+ Click or Command+Click on saw selection, and we are now ready to apply the selection outline to the task of moving the Saw into the Ad composite in the next exercise.
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