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Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.
There is another selection feature in Photoshop that you might not have found on your own because it's not a tool in the toolbox. That's the Color Range command. I like to use the Color Range command when I need to make a selection based on color and I want a feature that can make fine distinctions in color. So for example, here, what I would like to do is change the color of this yellow sign. So I want to select the solid yellow parts of the sign, but I don't want to fully select the graffiti on the sign that's the light yellow at the bottom-right or the light scratches on the sign, because I want the recolored sign to retain its character.
That's when the Color Range command can come in handy. I am going to go up to the Select menu and I'll choose Color Range. The first thing I do here in the Color Range dialog box is go to Selection Preview and click that menu and I'm going to cycle through these choices to see how I want to preview this selection over in the document window. That's how Grayscale is going to show up. This is how Black Matte will show up. White Matte. And Quick Mask. In this case, I think that either this Quick Mask view or perhaps this Black Matte view will be the most useful.
What I am seeing here is the parts that are not selected are black or gray and the parts that are currently selected are clear so that I can see through to the yellow sign. There are several ways to make a selection in the Color Range dialog box. One is to use the presets in the Select menu up here. I'm going to try that first, by coming down and choosing Yellows, which asks Photoshop to select all the yellows in the image. That does a pretty good job as I can see in this preview. All the clear areas, which are the yellow areas, are selected and the other areas are not selected.
However, there is one thing I see that is selected that I don't want to include in the selection and that's this area down at the bottom, which happens to be a yellow sign in the background. So I can't use the preset because there is no way to take that away. Instead, I'm going to change Select back to Sampled Colors and this means that I get to sample the colors to be selected myself. To sample colors, I'll use the Eyedropper over here and I'll click on an area that I want to select here in the image or I could do the same thing over here in the preview.
I will do it here for now. That did a pretty good job of selecting much of the yellow. If I wanted to select other colors similar to the one I clicked on, I could get the Plus Eyedropper and click related colors until I got the full selection that I wanted. If I selected a color I didn't want, then I will get the Minus Eyedropper and use that. I can also use the Fuzziness slider here to increase the range of colors that I have selected. So if I drag that to the right, I'm selecting a wider range of colors including some of that yellow that I didn't want.
So I'm going to drag that back toward the left. But notice that there is still some of that background sign included in the selection. So there is a new feature here that I can use to eliminate that and that is the Localized Color Clusters checkbox. I'm going to check that box and then I have access to the Range slider here. If I drag the Range slider to the left, that sign and the distance disappear from the selection. This new feature is based on special tolerance technology that allows you to control which pixels are selected in an image not only by their color but also by their distance.
Now that I have made that change, I need to come back in with my Plus Eyedropper and this time I'll do it in the image. I'm going to click to include a few more areas in the selection. When I am satisfied, I'll click OK and here I can see this selection in the document, represented the typical way as marching ants. I'm going to recolor this selection by selecting my Brush tool in the toolbox, going down to the foreground Color box and clicking to open the Color Picker and I'm going to choose a color in the orange range and say OK. Then I'll come in and I'm going to make my brush a little bit bigger.
I'm just going to paint over the selected areas of the sign. The non-selected areas, like this graffiti and that red mark on the sign and the scratch over on the left did not get recolored because they weren't selected. I'm going to deselect by pressing Command+D on the Mac. That's Ctrl+D on the PC and that's the result, exactly what I wanted. The Color Range command offers a really different approach to selecting than the selection tools that I have covered in other movies.
Color Range is a color-based method that can work well when you need to make fine distinctions based on color, as in this photo. Give it a try on one of your own photos to see how it works for you.
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