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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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