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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.
The Background Eraser tool does two jobs for you in one. It both selects and deletes pixels at the same time. It's often the best choice for selecting a neutral background like this one, when you have a lot of fine detail in the foreground. What I want to do here is select this neutral sky, so I can replace it with a more interesting image. So I'll select the Background Eraser tool from the toolbox right here, behind the Eraser tool and I am going to go up to the Options bar. I want to make sure that this first sample 1's icon is selected. This works fine when I have a background that is pretty much one color, like this one.
If I had a multicolored background, then I would select the next option, which would sample continuously as I moved the tool around the image. I am also going to set the Limits to Discontiguous, and that will allow me to select pixels that aren't necessarily touching one another. I'll leave the Tolerance at its default. When I click on a pixel of a particular color and tone, Tolerance determines the range of pixels around that one that will be selected and deleted. Finally, I am going to protect the foreground color. I'll click this check box and then I am going to go to my toolbox and get my Eyedropper tool.
I am going to click on the color that I want to protect. Maybe this light green here. That color now shows up in the foreground Color box. When I go back to my Background Eraser tool, it will be the foreground color that's protected. That means that pixels of that particular green won't be selected and deleted. Now I am going to go into the image. I'll start at this bottom-right and I am going to place the crosshair of the brush tip on the neutral sky color and I am going to make sure that the circumference of the brush tip includes the green vines and I'll just start to drag.
I might increase my brush or decrease my brush as I go, depending on what I want to select and delete. As I select and delete, you can see the gray sky of the image on the layer below showing through. The tool really shines up here at the top where I have lots of fine detail in the plant. If I just click once right here, I am able to select and delete the sky around all these fine stems and leaves. When I come over here, I'll make the brush bigger so that it can get that whole area at once and then I'll make the brush smaller to continue around the water tower.
I am not going to finish doing this because I think you get the point. But what I would normally do is go all the way around the water tower and then I would take my Lasso tool and I would select everything outside of that deleted area. So I just make a really rough lasso like this and come all the way down and around the outside of the image. With that area selected, I would press the Delete key on a Mac or the Backspace key on a PC, and that would delete the rest of the sky.
I am going to press Command+D on a Mac, that's Ctrl+D on a PC, and you can see how well this tool did by deleting the area around these fine vines. Selecting fine detail like this is always a challenge. If you are looking for a solution to selecting trees or animal fur or perhaps hair, then the Background Eraser is a tool that you should try.
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