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Selecting a complex image with Color Range

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Selecting a complex image with Color Range

In this movie, I am going to show you how to lay down a base selection using the Color Range command, and we're going to ultimately take this articulated hadrosaur skeleton, and move it into this new background in order to create this final composition. Now, I realize this is a fairly ridiculous piece of artwork; however, it's rendered impeccably. So I've been able to select, and ultimately mask this skeleton with flawless precision. All right, I am going to switch back to my dinosaur photograph. And if you're working along with me, go ahead and tap the D key to establish your default colors, because after all, the Color Range command goes ahead and bases its initial selection on that foreground color.

Selecting a complex image with Color Range

In this movie, I am going to show you how to lay down a base selection using the Color Range command, and we're going to ultimately take this articulated hadrosaur skeleton, and move it into this new background in order to create this final composition. Now, I realize this is a fairly ridiculous piece of artwork; however, it's rendered impeccably. So I've been able to select, and ultimately mask this skeleton with flawless precision. All right, I am going to switch back to my dinosaur photograph. And if you're working along with me, go ahead and tap the D key to establish your default colors, because after all, the Color Range command goes ahead and bases its initial selection on that foreground color.

Then go up to the Select menu, and choose the Color Range command, or once again if you loaded dekeKeys, you can press mash your fist G, and that'll go ahead and bring up the dialog box here. Now, I've got my Fuzziness value cranked way to high. I am going to go ahead and take it down to 40. Now we could click, and Shift+Click, and Shift+ Drag inside this skeleton, but there's so much variation in luminance going on, that it's going to take a fair amount of time and effort, whereas the background is fairly homogeneous, so I'll go ahead and click in the upper left region, like so, and then I'll Shift+Click down left, below the creature's jaw.

And now if I keep an eye on the mask preview here inside the dialog box, I can begin to gauge a Fuzziness value that's going to work out for me. But you know what? Might as well gauge that Fuzziness value inside the entire image window. So I'll change the Selection Preview to Grayscale, so we can better see what's going on, and then I'll click inside the Fuzziness value, and press Shift+up arrow five times in a row to raise that Fuzziness to 90. Now, you'll notice some little edges going on inside of the eyes, and the mouth, and the nose, and so forth.

That's the function of the auto-sharpening that was applied by the camera, and if I go ahead and zoom in by pressing Control+Plus, or Command+Plus on the Mac, I can try Shift+Clicking on those edges to see if I can get rid of them. And that looks like that might have worked pretty well. All right, now I am going to zoom back out. It'd be wonderful if I could get rid of this line, or seam, or whatever this thing is, but if I Shift+Click on it, notice that that selects way too much of the animal. Fortunately, you have one level of undo, which you can access by pressing Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac.

And by the way, you'll see the preview flash inside the dialog box, because when you have the Control key down, or the Command key on a Mac, you see the image instead of the mask, but as soon as you release Control or Command, you go back to the mask preview. All right, now at this point, I am noticing that I am selecting too much inside the face, so I could press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click in that cheek. I could even Alt+Drag or Option+Drag along the cheek, but if I do, there is a very good chance I'll get this error message. In fact, I'd say the chances are 100%, because here it is, and it's telling me that I've subtracted so many key colors that I am down to just one.

So I'll go ahead and click OK, and Photoshop updates my preview to show me that I've barely selected anything. Again, I'll press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to restore my previous selection. And I'll just go ahead and press the Shift key, and drag behind the dinosaur, and then up over its head, and over to the other side, just to make sure I've gotten as many colors selected as possible. Now, notice what just happened. I am going to press Control+Z, or Command+Z on a Mac, to undo that change, because I want you to keep your eye on, not only the big mask preview, but also little one inside the dialog box.

Notice, as I Shift+Drag inside the image, the preview in the dialog box updates. However, the one inside the image window doesn't update until I release. So that's something to bear in mind as you're working inside this dialog box. And you know, I can't help but think I am just going to far with this, so I'm going to press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo the addition of those key colors. Now, of course -- I'll go ahead and move this guy off to the side here -- we want to select the hadrosaur; not the background. So go ahead and turn on the Invert checkbox in order to invert the mask,which is going to reverse the selection.

Then click OK in order to create that initial selection with the Color Range command. Now at this point, we have spent a fair amount of time generating the selection. It may not be exactly what we want; in fact, I am quite confident it's not, but what I recommend you do, after creating a complex selection like this, is switch to the Channels panel, and then drop down to this icon at the bottom of the panel that says Save selection as channel. Go ahead and Alt+Click on it, or Option+Click on it on a Mac, and because you had Alt or Option down, you forced the display of the New Channel dialog box.

Let's call this guy base selection, and then click OK in order to save the selection as what's known as an alpha channel. And then, because you've added a channel to the image, you can no longer save it in the JPEG format. So go ahead and press Control+S, or Command+S on the Mac. Because JPEG is not an option, that forces the display of the Save As dialog box. I am going to switch this image over to the TIFF format, which is the format I recommend you use if your image contains alpha channels, but does not contain layers.

And then I'll just go ahead and rename this image base selection; I'll go ahead and include it for you as well. Make sure the alpha channels checkbox is turned on; that's very important. Then click on the Save button, make sure that the LZW option is turned on here inside Image Compression, and then go ahead and click OK in order to save off that file. And that way, you can press Control+D, or Command+ D on the Mac, to deselect the image, and you're fine, because everything about that selection is now saved as an alpha channel.

And so there you have it. That's how you lay down a base selection with the Color Range command, and save your selection here inside Photoshop.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

124 video lessons · 19372 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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