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Transforming selections

From: Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth

Video: Transforming selections

Oftentimes, your initial selection won't exactly fit the image content that you're trying to select. That's when the Transform Selection command comes in handy. To show you how that command works, I'd like to select just the placard on this newsstand, so I can brighten only that area of the photograph. I'll start by selecting the Rectangular Marquee tool in the toolbox, and dragging out an initial, rough selection. Because the photograph was taken at an angle, this rectangular marquee selection doesn't exactly match the image content that I want to select.

Transforming selections

Oftentimes, your initial selection won't exactly fit the image content that you're trying to select. That's when the Transform Selection command comes in handy. To show you how that command works, I'd like to select just the placard on this newsstand, so I can brighten only that area of the photograph. I'll start by selecting the Rectangular Marquee tool in the toolbox, and dragging out an initial, rough selection. Because the photograph was taken at an angle, this rectangular marquee selection doesn't exactly match the image content that I want to select.

That's okay, because I'm going to use the Transform Selection command to change the size and the shape of this initial selection. I'll go up to the Select menu, and I'll choose Transform Selection. Now, keep in mind that this command is different than the transform commands that are found under the Edit menu. Those commands are used to transform image content, but here, I just want to transform the selection border. I'll choose Transform Selection, and that adds a bounding box with anchor points around the selection border.

I can use these anchor points to change the width or the height of the selection border, or if I click on a corner anchor point and drag, I can change both the width and the height, essentially reshaping my initial selection. If I hold the Shift key, I'll constrain proportions as I resize the selection border. And if I hold the Option key, I can resize the selection border from the center point in or out. I found that one of the most useful Transform commands for reshaping a selection border is the distort command.

To access that command, I can either hold the Command or Ctrl key on my keyboard and then click and drag a corner anchor point like this, or I can right-click inside the selection boundary. That's Ctrl+Click if you're using a one-button mouse. That brings up this contextual menu from which I can choose the Distort command. Now, without holding down the Command or Ctrl key, I can move my mouse over a corner anchor point, and drag, and move it so that it just fits the content of the image that I'm trying to select.

I'll go to each of the four corners, and drag those anchor points into place, one by one. When I'm satisfied with the result, I'll go up to the Options bar and click the check mark there to commit the transform. Now I have a selection border that just fits the part of the image that I'm trying to select. With this selection in place, I'm going to add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer by going to the Adjustments panel and clicking the Brightness/Contrast icon. That adds this Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer in the Layers panel.

Notice that you no longer see the selection border in the image. That's because when you create an adjustment layer with a selection active, the marching ants are translated into a layer mask, which is basically another way of representing a selection. Now, I'm going to go up to the Adjustments panel, and I'm going to drag the Brightness slider to the right. That affects only the placard on the newsstand. So, as you can see, the Transform Selection command can be a really powerful way to fine-tune an initial selection so that it exactly fits the content of the image that you're trying to select.

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Image for Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth
Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth

47 video lessons · 22055 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 28s
  2. 30m 22s
    1. Changing part of an image
      5m 2s
    2. Using Content-Aware Fill
      5m 31s
    3. Compositing images
      4m 18s
    4. Correcting part of a photograph
      3m 51s
    5. Replacing a sky
      4m 46s
    6. Cropping an image
      1m 8s
    7. Building an object
      5m 46s
  3. 18m 52s
    1. Understanding selections and masks
      7m 26s
    2. Deselecting and reselecting
      2m 23s
    3. Hiding selection boundaries
      3m 15s
    4. Moving selection boundaries
      2m 14s
    5. Inverting selections
      2m 9s
    6. Selecting all
      1m 25s
  4. 17m 8s
    1. Transforming selections
      3m 16s
    2. Combining selections
      7m 31s
    3. Expanding selections
      6m 21s
  5. 41m 48s
    1. Selecting hair, pt. 1
      6m 26s
    2. Selecting hair, pt. 2
      6m 6s
    3. Removing color fringe
      5m 17s
    4. Selecting an object with hard and soft edges
      6m 55s
    5. Anti-aliasing vs. feathering
      9m 9s
    6. Working with Refine Mask
      7m 55s
  6. 16m 14s
    1. Selecting rectangles with the Rectangular Marquee tool
      6m 29s
    2. Selecting ovals with the Elliptical Marquee tool
      4m 44s
    3. Selecting straight edges with the Polygonal Lasso tool
      5m 1s
  7. 18m 9s
    1. Selecting freehand with the Lasso tool
      4m 57s
    2. Selecting precisely with the Pen tool and paths
      7m 32s
    3. Snapping to edges with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      5m 40s
  8. 28m 11s
    1. Selecting painlessly with the Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    2. Making the Magic Wand tool work for you
      5m 23s
    3. Selecting colors with the Color Range command
      5m 39s
    4. Changing colors with Replace Color and Hue/Saturation
      5m 16s
    5. Working with the Background Eraser tool
      6m 20s
  9. 20m 55s
    1. Selecting layer transparency
      3m 31s
    2. Selecting image luminosity
      3m 47s
    3. Increasing contrast in Camera Raw
      8m 40s
    4. Fine-tuning a color channel selection
      4m 57s
  10. 17m 1s
    1. Saving selections for reuse
      6m 2s
    2. Loading and modifying saved selections
      4m 54s
    3. Sharing selections between images
      6m 5s
  11. 13m 54s
    1. Cleaning up selections in Quick Mask
      4m 42s
    2. Filtering selections in Quick Mask
      2m 34s
    3. Painting selections in Quick Mask
      2m 10s
    4. Making Step and Repeat web buttons in Quick Mask
      4m 28s
  12. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

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