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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 Quick Selection tool, which was introduced in the last version of Photoshop, is so often the most useful of the Selection tools. With this tool, you get to paint in your selections. You just click-and-drag over part of the image and the tool selects similar colors and tones to those you are dragging over. It will even find the edges of a tonal area to set selection boundaries for you. I am a real fan of this tool. Let me show you how it works. Let's say here that I want to select the sky. I am going to go over to my toolbox and I am going to select the Quick Selection tool here.
In the Tool Options Bar, I do have an option to sample all layers. You can see in the Layers panel that I do have more than one layer in this file but I don't want to sample them both. All I want to do is sample the photo layer because that's where the sky is located. So I will not check Sample All Layers. I am also not going to check Auto-Enhance. What Auto-Enhance does is attempts to give me a very smooth selection, and I don't really need a smooth selection here because I have a lot of sharp corners at the edges of the building and the sky. So I am going to leave Auto- Enhance Unchecked as well.
Then I am going to come into the image and I am going to resize my brush. I'd like to size the brush right in the image rather than up in the Brush Picker in the Options Bar up here because in the image, I really get a sense of how big the brush tip is going to be on this particular image. So I am going to press my Left Bracket key to make the brush small. It's best to work with a very small brush when you are using the Quick Select tool. Now I am going to go over and start selecting the sky. So I am going to press down on my mouse and start dragging as I paint in this selection.
You can see that Photoshop has just run off in front of me and selected the whole thing for me and I am done. Well, I am almost done because as you can see, this isn't a perfect selection yet. One thing about the Selection Brush is that after you make your initial selection, it immediately is ready to add to the selection. You don't have to go up to the Options Bar and click on the Add To icon. So if I wanted for example to add this extra bit over here, I would make my brush even smaller and just click on that portion and it would be added to the selection. Then if you want to eliminate some areas from the selection, like this bit here and over on the right, you would go to the Options Bar and select the minus sign, and then come in and drag over the areas that you want to subtract from the selection.
And this sometimes works well, but sometimes you end up going back and forth between adding to and subtracting from. So there you see I went too far and now I have to go back and add to and to, and that can be a little time-consuming. So there is something else that you can do instead, and that is you can train the Quick Selection Brush before you use it, teaching it what you don't want to be included in your selection. That's just so great that I have to show you. So I am going to delete the selection I have now by pressing Command+D on a Mac, or Ctrl+D on the PC. And I am going to go back and this time, with the Quick Selection Brush, I am just going to select a small area to start and then I am going to go up to the Options Bar and I am going to click the minus icon.
And now with the minus icon, I am going to go over all the colors and tones that I don't want to have selected here. We just have to go around the edges of the buildings and I am even going to make my brush small enough to travel up that little chimney there, going all the way around. It's kind of hard to draw with a mouse. It's like drawing with a bar of soap, isn't it? All right, here we go. I am almost done. There. Now if I go back to the Options Bar and click the plus icon there and come back into my image and start drawing a selection, notice that Photoshop obeys my training and it did not include in the selection, the buildings over here this time, and it even left out of the selection that small chimney that I trained it to avoid.
So that's the way that I suggest that you use this really amazing tool. That's just to show you that there is a reason to have made this selection, I am going to press the Delete key on my keyboard. That's the Backspace key on a PC to cut that sky away and that allows me to see the pink sky on the layer below, and then I'll press Command+D on the Mac, Ctrl+D on the PC to delete that selection. I am going to revert this file to its original, and if you are working with me with the Exercise Files, I suggest you do that too. By going up to the File menu at the top of the screen and choosing Revert, and that will bring back that gray sky.
Before we had the Quick Selection tool in Photoshop CS3, the only similar tool that we had was the Magic Wand. It's still there and you may still use it but it just isn't as useful as the Quick Selection tool mostly because you can't control which areas it's going to select as well as you can with the Quick Selection tool. So just to see what the Magic Wand does, I am going back to the Quick Selection tool slot and I'll chose Magic Wand tool. Now with this tool, depending where I click in the sky, Photoshop is going to select different areas. Now here it went too far and included some of the blue and brown.
If I click somewhere else, it'll take a different selection and so on like this. So the difficulty here is controlling exactly what will be selected. What the tool does is looks at the color and tone of the pixel you happened to click on and then it selects within a range of similar colors and tones. So what you can try to do is to change that range of tones by changing the number in the Tolerance field here in the Options Bar. So maybe, I'll try 50 and see what happens and now I'll come in and I'll try clicking again. Well, that time is selected too much.
So although the Magic Wand is still there, I prefer using the Quick Selection tool whenever I can because it just gives me more control over selecting by color and tone.
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