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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.
When you're creating selections, in order to produce a composite image or apply targeted adjustments, it's often necessary that that selection be as accurate and precise as possible. You might need, for example, to trace exactly along an edge of an object within your image, using perhaps the Lasso tool. It can, therefore, be very important that you have the most precise cursor for your mouse when you're working with those tools. And there are actually a couple of options you can choose from for those cursors. Let's take a look. I'll go ahead and choose, for example, the Lasso tool. And when I move my mouse out over the image, you'll see that I have an icon reflecting that lasso as well as an arrow.
But it's no necessarily obvious with some of the icons you'll see exactly where the point of action is. In this case we do have an arrow but if for example we were using the magic wand tool you have this wand and you're not neccarrily sure exactly where you're clicking. But you can change these icons in a couple of different ways. If you just want to change them temporarily, you can press the Caps Lock key to switch between the iconic representations of the tools versus the precise representations, or the cross-hair display for example.
But you can also change that setting permanently in preferences. To do so, we'll go to the Edit > Preferences > Cursors. That will bring up the Preferences dialog set to the cursors page and you'll see that for painting cursors for example the brush tool we have the normal brush tip option selected. We also have precise option selected so that we have a cross hair. But then we don't know the brush size. And we have the standard option, where we have the iconic representations. In most cases, I prefer using the normal brush tip option.
You could also use the full size brush tip, which gives you an indication of the soft edge of the brush, as applicable. But we want to focus our attention at the moment on other cursors. In other words, the cursors for the tools that are not brush tools. The default is standard, and that's when you see the iconic representations. But you can also change the setting to precise. So you'll have a cross hair representation for those other tools, so that you can work with a bit more precision. Once you've chosen your preferred settings, you can click OK. And then, those settings will be become the default. And that makes it much easier to work with precision as you're creating selection and performing other work in Photoshop.
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