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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Here, we are going in continue our conversation about making selections, and we are going to focus in on two tools, one which is really quick, another one which is magic. We'll also take a look at how we can refine or improve our selections. So let's go ahead and click on this icon here. Now when you do so you'll notice you have two tools, either Quick Select or Magic Wand. Let's start off with the Magic Wand. Once you've selected that tool, you'll need to go up to the Options bar and customize a few things.
The first thing you want to customize is your Sample Size. Rather than the default Point Sample of just selecting one pixel, you want to create or select an average of the area where you're clicking. The higher the resolution file, the higher the average you'll want. Here, this is a low-res file, so I'll just choose 5x5 Average. Next, we have an option that we want to look at for Tolerance and also Contiguous. I am going to go ahead and decrease my Tolerance amount here, make this really low, say 1.
Well, what does this mean? Well, if I click on my image, what it will then do is it will just make a selection of a small area. Next, let's go ahead and increase the Tolerance. I am going to increase this dramatically here, say, 100. I'll go to Select, choose Deselect, and once again click on the leaf. Well, here now the marching ants are showing me it's selecting all of the leaf and all of the stem. It's making a really nice selection. Yet it's also creating some problems for me. This one is selecting more similar things, yet it's also selecting some of the background over here because some of the background, well, it has some yellow elements in it.
That's because contiguous was turned off. What contiguous means is to only make a selection of pixels which are next to each other. Let's turn this on and go ahead and reselect with the same Tolerance setting. Choose Select and then Deselect. Once again, now click on the leaf with Contiguous turned on with a high Tolerance, and what we'll see here is, well, now we have a pretty awesome selection just of the leaf. The background isn't really selected that much except for right here.
It's like the selection kind of spilled over into that area. So here we'll go to Select and choose Deselect, and then just decrease our Tolerance and try a lower amount. We'll look at our edges and see how those look. Well, they look pretty good, except let me zoom in here on this image. You'll notice in this area, it didn't select this part of the image. You can see there's kind of these little gaps. Well, to add to a selection, you hold down the Shift key, and this is true with any of our Selection tools.
Next, you go ahead and click, and here you can see I clicked on those areas and it added those to the selection. I could move around the image, and if I see any other areas that might be a little bit problematic, I can then try to click on those to add those little areas, and I think for the most part I am just going to leave this as is. So now I have this nice selection of the entire leaf and of the stem. Yet the trick with both of these tools, whether it's Magic Wand or Quick Select is at a lot of times the selections aren't that precise.
They'll need to be fixed up a little bit. We can do that by going to Refine Edge. Let's click on this Refine Edge dialog. Well, here we can see our selection on white. We can change that view by going to this View pulldown menu or by pressing the F key to toggle between these different views. Let me show you what I mean. I'll go ahead and just press F, and you can see it is showing me different perspectives or views of this particular selection. You can also click on this menu here and choose one which you think might help you see the selection.
Next, we have an Edge Detection control. Here, I am going to zoom in on my image so we can see the edge here. It's good, but it's a bit choppy. Yet if you turn on Smart Radius, what will happen is as you increase this Radius, you can see that looks much nicer. Next, we can adjust the edge, let's say by increasing the contrast that makes it a little stronger and then smoothing it out a little bit maybe a few pixels. Already this is looking much, much nicer. I'll go ahead and just customize this a little bit more and then click on this icon to see the original.
Here is before, and now here is after. So you will want to experiment with this. These controls are incredibly powerful. Let me show you a few others which aren't relevant for this image, but may be for other selections. Feather, it allows us to soften the image. See how that's nice and soft there? You can decrease that to have harder edges. Shift Edge, it allows us to change that edge, either to tighten it up or to extend it out. If you have those situations where you have a little color fringe, you can just bring this down a little bit in order to remove that small edge problem.
Our selection is now much better. At the very bottom, we can output this selection in a couple of different ways. We can simply just output this to the current Selection, leave it as is but just make this a better selection, or we can output this to a new layer or layer mask, and you can see all of these different options. Let's go ahead and just choose New Layer so we can see what that looks like and then click OK. So essentially what that did is it copied that selection to this new layer so that I now have this leaf on its own layer.
So let's delete this background layer. We'll go ahead and trash that one. Let's go back to the original file, as is, and in the next movie let's look at the Quick Select tool.
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