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Learn how to use selections and layer masks in Photoshop to create composite images and apply targeted adjustments. After covering the key concepts behind selections and exploring Photoshop's selection tools, Tim Grey delves into a variety of advanced techniques that will help you make accurate selections, create seamless composite images, and apply adjustments that do exactly what you want them to do.
Once you start working with selections in Photoshop, the notion of creating a selection is pretty straightforward. The notion of not having a selection is also pretty straightforward. And of course it's not too much of a stretch to think about deselecting your selection. In other words, taking an active selection, and essentially turning it off, making it no longer active. Now in most cases, when you create a selection in Photoshop to use for some particular purpose, that process is actually going to cause the selection to go away. For example, if I create a selection of the sky and then add an adjustment layer in order to adjust the sky, the selection goes away and is essentially replaced by a layer mask that reflects that selection associated with the adjustment layer.
But at times you may need to deselect and then bring that selection back. And we can do that with the reselect command. Let's take a look at how it works. I'm going to start off by creating a simple selection of the sky. I'll choose the Quick Selection tool and just drag across the sky and that gives me what appears to be a pretty darn perfect selection of that sky. So let's assume that I'm going to apply a targeted adjustment that affects only the sky. But then I realize that I think I'd like to get rid of some of those clouds off in the distance and I'd like to do that first.
Not because I have to but because I simply want to and so I'm going to deselect this selection. To do that I can go to the Select menu and choose Deselect. I can also press Ctrl+D on Windows or Cmd+D on Macintosh in order to deselect the selection and when I do that the selection goes away. Now of course you might assume that it would have been better for me to simply undo the last step. In other words, to press Ctrl+Z on Windows or Cmd+Z on Macintosh, or to go to the Edit menu and choose Step Backward, for example.
But then, the selection will not be preserved. And what I mean by that is that I'll have to recreate the selection from scratch. In this case, that's not a very big challenge. You already saw how quickly I was able to create the selection. But in some cases that selection might have been a little more challenging. And so I'd like an easier method of recreating that selection. So let's go ahead and clean up those clouds. I'll create a new layer, for example, and rename it to image cleanup. And then I'll choose the Spot Healing Brush tool and adjust the brush size as needed, and simply paint over those clouds in order to remove them.
Obviously I'm just sort of applying some arbitrary changes here, so that I can illustrate the concept involved in re-select. But in this case I did some image cleanup work, working with the separate layer, and now I think I'm ready to get started applying that targeted adjustment. But I don't want to have to recreate the selection from scratch. And if I were to try to undo to get back to my selection, of course, I would be undoing the image cleanup work that I've done, as well. So instead, I basically want to tell Photoshop, hey, remember that selection that I made just a few moments ago? Can you bring that back, because I'd like to use it to apply a targeted adjustment. And the way we tell Photoshop to do that is to go to the Select menu, and then choose Reselect.
You can also press Shift+Ctrl+D on Windows or Shift+Cmd+D on Macintosh to reselect. In this case I'll just choose it from the menu. And when I do, that selection comes back. It's important to realize of course that only the most recently created selection will come back when I use the reselect command. But as you can see in some situations where you want to go back and forth between various tasks and you just decide you're not quite ready for the selection that you've created, the deselect and reselect options can be quite helpful.
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