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When Color Range falls short

From: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

Video: When Color Range falls short

Now remember how at the outset of the first exercise of this chapter I showed you how the Magic Wand tool was is no way, shape or form powerful enough in order to select that glass and that water and all that Chas. Well now I would like to show you how the Color Range command sometimes falls down in the job too. Even though it's a much more powerful feature than the Magic Wand it isn't up to the task of selecting every image out there by a darn site. So make sure that you have the faceinthedark.tif image opened so we can see the Pascal Genest photograph.

When Color Range falls short

Now remember how at the outset of the first exercise of this chapter I showed you how the Magic Wand tool was is no way, shape or form powerful enough in order to select that glass and that water and all that Chas. Well now I would like to show you how the Color Range command sometimes falls down in the job too. Even though it's a much more powerful feature than the Magic Wand it isn't up to the task of selecting every image out there by a darn site. So make sure that you have the faceinthedark.tif image opened so we can see the Pascal Genest photograph.

I would also like you to go ahead and the press the D as in default colors key, just D by itself in order to reset the foreground color to black or at least to make sure it's black if it already was and the reason I am having you do that is I want to go ahead and select black inside the image. This is another one of those images where it's easier to select the background than it is to select all the colors going on in the foreground and the Color Range command will by default go after that foreground color. So now let's go up to the Select menu and choose the Color Range command and these are the usual default settings fuzziness of 40 and all that Chas and notice that sure enough it is gone ahead and made the black areas of the image white in order to demonstrate to us that, that's the portion of the image that's going to select.

Now I am going to change the selection preview by the way to grey scale so that we can really focus in on what this selection looks like out here inside of the image window and notice that it's not only selecting blacks over here in the background over on the left side of the image but it's also selecting the shaded portion of the face on the right side of the image as well as some of the shading here in the hair and that's because the Color Range command is always selecting any colors that fall inside of its fuzziness range whether they are adjacent or non-adjacent.

So remember that contiguous checkbox we saw then in Chapter8 that contiguous checkbox that's associated with the Magic Wand tool. Well it's as if that checkbox is always turned off so that the Color Range command is invariably selecting on adjacent pixels and there is nothing you can do about that, which is a little bit of a downside actually associated with this command frankly. Alright another weirdness is that it's getting a lot of noise. I am going to ahead and zoom in on this image, see all this weird sort of pixel variation that's going on here, that's digital noise inside of the mask and the Color Range command is picking up a ton of that noise.

Now we can smooth up some of that noise by brining up the fuzziness value like so. As we do I will go ahead and zoom back out here and notice that when I press and hold the Control key or the Command key on the Mac I see the standard version of the image inside of this preview in case you are wondering what's going on and I am having to press the Control key in order to zoom in and out that's why we are seeing that flash every once in a while. In any case notice that by raising the fuzziness value I do soften some of the noise inside of the image and some of the stair stepping and the achier stuff that's going on but it also creates a more tenuous transition between the foreground image which is the woman and the background which is of course that black background.

Alright and anyway this is fairly good actually so far. I would however want to go ahead and reverse this selection because I don't want to select the background and I do want to select the foreground so I am going to turn on the invert checkbox. Now at this point you might say hey why don't we try adding a few colors to the selection inside of the hair, why don't we don't we do that and then we will make the hair more clearly defined from its background. Well you don't want to be shift clicking here. If you shift click here you are actually going to make the image darker. Isn't that bizarre? You are actually going to be making the mask darker and therefore you are going to be deselecting and that's a function of having the Invert Checkbox turned on so now Shift Clicking deletes from the selection and Alt Clicking adds to the selection so let's undo that last modification and instead let's press the Alt or Option key in order to get the minus sign next to the eyedropper here and then click inside the hair.

And did you hear that little beep? That's the Color Range command's way of telling you there is no more to delete from this selection. You only had one base color setup in the first place black and you can't delete anything from a single base color so forget about it. This is the mask we got. Our only option is to reduce or increase the fuzziness value and if we reduce it we are going to strengthen the hair information but we are also going to get more noise so I suggest we leave it set to 100 and then click OK in order to convert that mask to a selection.

Now let's convert it back to a mask which is something we can do of course by saving the selection outline. I am going to press Shift+Tab to bring back my palettes and I want you to switch over to the Channels Palette next door to the Layers palette or you can go up to the Window menu and choose the Channels command or use my keyboard shortcut that I have provided to those of you who are using my D keys. Alright so I have got the Channels Palette up on screen. I was telling you back in Chapter8 you can save the selection by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Save Selection command but I got to tell you now that's the sucker's way.

No sense in doing that my friends because there is a much easier single click solution here inside of Photoshop. In the Channels Palette go to the bottom the Channels Palette and you will see this little icon right there. If you hover over it it's going to say Save Selection As Channel. Go ahead and click on it and it converts the selection to a new alpha channel called Alpha1. Now an Alpha channel is a non-color bearing channel inside of Photoshop, usually used to house a mask which is what we are using it for.

So there is it is. There is Alpha1. I am going to go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to get rid of the marching and style selections so we can just focus in on this Alpha channel version of the selection outline. Go ahead and double click on it and let's just call this guy color range so we remember where it came from later and then later I will be able to show you how it compares to the better mass that we are going to create. Now here is the problem. It looks pretty darn good I would say but there is so much darkness inside this area that we need to select and there is so much noise and just weird transition, check out this neck.

That's not a portion of the image that we are going to have to worry about in terms of generating the mask too much but it certainly is indicative of just how weird the shades that were generated by the Color Range command. Compare that to the final mask. Now I have got the head included in Alpha channel called maskforyou which represents the mask that we will be creating here. Compare these two alpha channels together so a mask looks very good that is to say that we have white, where we want to select the head and the hair detail. We have black where we don't want to select the background and we have nice soft transitions in between, nice grey transitions whereas with the color range command we have a lot of noise and we have a lot of weird guck that we are going to have to deal within this region right there which is why I am going to tell you we could make the Color Range Mask work that is possible but it's not worth it because there is an easier way to go at it and a more precise way as well which we will begin to investigate in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics

129 video lessons · 39091 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 1h 15m
    1. Welcome to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics
      2m 5s
    2. Selecting glass and water
      5m 23s
    3. Establishing a base layer
      4m 0s
    4. The Color Range command
      6m 45s
    5. Selecting sparkles
      3m 19s
    6. Setting sparkles to Screen
      4m 19s
    7. Selecting and compositing hair
      2m 59s
    8. When Color Range falls short
      7m 25s
    9. Selecting a base channel
      4m 25s
    10. Enhancing the channel's contrast
      4m 4s
    11. Dodging the highlights
      5m 55s
    12. Putting the mask in play
      3m 20s
    13. Reducing the edge fringes
      4m 21s
    14. Adding a layer mask
      4m 53s
    15. Creating a gradient quick mask
      5m 26s
    16. Blurring the layer mask
      5m 51s
    17. And that's just the beginning...
      1m 15s
  2. 1h 13m
    1. Edge-enhancement parlor tricks
      1m 30s
    2. The subterfuge of sharpness
      3m 14s
    3. The single-shot sharpness
      3m 47s
    4. Unsharp Mask
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding the Radius value
      4m 31s
    6. Gauging the best settings
      7m 14s
    7. Sharpening the luminance data
      8m 25s
    8. USM vs. Smart Sharpen
      6m 0s
    9. Smart Sharpen's Remove settings
      6m 23s
    10. High-resolution sharpening
      6m 4s
    11. Leave More Accurate off!
      2m 29s
    12. Turn More Accurate on
      2m 58s
    13. The Advanced options
      5m 17s
    14. Saving Smart Sharpen settings
      4m 18s
    15. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 0s
  3. 1h 24m
    1. Why the heck would you blur?
      1m 20s
    2. The "bell-shaped" Gaussian Blur
      7m 16s
    3. The Linear Box Blur
      2m 58s
    4. Median and its badly named progeny
      6m 3s
    5. Surface Blur and the rest
      5m 36s
    6. The Motion Blur filter
      3m 2s
    7. The Radial Blur variations: Spin and Zoom
      5m 55s
    8. The Captain Kirk-in-love effect
      6m 50s
    9. Averaging skin tones
      6m 2s
    10. Addressing the stubborn patches
      6m 0s
    11. Combining Gaussian Blur and Average
      4m 8s
    12. Blurring surface details
      7m 2s
    13. Smoothing blemishes while matching noise
      7m 52s
    14. Reducing digital noise
      8m 22s
    15. Smoothing out JPEG artifacts
      6m 1s
  4. 45m 28s
    1. Behold, the layered composition
      1m 13s
    2. The Layers palette
      5m 8s
    3. Enlarging the hand
      4m 40s
    4. Erasing with a layer mask
      6m 28s
    5. Moving a layer
      4m 3s
    6. Combining layers into a clipping mask
      4m 42s
    7. Hair and stacking order
      6m 12s
    8. Adding a frame and expanding the canvas
      6m 2s
    9. Adding a vignette
      7m 0s
  5. 42m 27s
    1. Organization: It sounds dull, but it rocks
      1m 8s
    2. The terrible battle
      3m 3s
    3. Assembling the base composition
      5m 46s
    4. Adding adjustment layers
      4m 55s
    5. Creating a layer group
      2m 24s
    6. Grouping selected layers
      3m 13s
    7. Making the TV lines
      4m 17s
    8. Introducing layer comps
      5m 52s
    9. Saving your own layer comps
      6m 40s
    10. Final footnotes
      5m 9s
  6. 1h 23m
    1. Parametric operations
      1m 4s
    2. The power of blend modes
      6m 44s
    3. Changing the Opacity value
      5m 35s
    4. Opacity vs. Fill Opacity
      4m 37s
    5. Meet the blend modes
      5m 38s
    6. Blend mode shortcuts
      5m 52s
    7. The darkening modes
      6m 12s
    8. Tempering a Burn effect with the Fill value
      3m 53s
    9. Saving a blended state
      2m 54s
    10. The lightening modes
      4m 55s
    11. The contrast modes
      7m 13s
    12. The comparative modes
      7m 25s
    13. The composite (HSL) modes
      6m 2s
    14. The brush-only modes
      8m 11s
    15. Blending groups
      7m 10s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. At this point, there is a great shift...
      59s
    2. Messing with the masters
      2m 28s
    3. Scaling a layer to fit a composition
      6m 39s
    4. Merging clock face and cardinal
      2m 2s
    5. Rotating the minute hand
      7m 42s
    6. Replaying the last transformation
      3m 50s
    7. Second hand and shadows
      5m 0s
    8. Series duplication
      3m 23s
    9. Skews and perspective-style distortions
      6m 43s
    10. The envelope-style Warp function
      7m 32s
    11. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 9s
    12. Adjusting the brush settings
      4m 2s
    13. Viewing layers and the mesh
      4m 18s
    14. Incrementally undoing undesirable effects
      4m 5s
    15. Twirl, pucker, and bloat
      2m 2s
    16. Push, mirror, and turbulence
      4m 37s
    17. Protecting regions with a mask
      3m 41s
    18. Applying a digital facelift
      10m 53s
    19. Saving and loading mesh settings
      2m 31s
  8. 1h 18m
    1. Planes and perspective
      1m 7s
    2. The Blue Gallery
      2m 47s
    3. Introducing Vanishing Point 2.0
      5m 30s
    4. Drawing out perpendicular planes
      6m 54s
    5. Exporting the gridlines to a layer
      4m 45s
    6. Cloning an image from one plane to another
      7m 58s
    7. Blending the image into its new home
      6m 31s
    8. Healing away the sockets
      7m 48s
    9. Importing a new image
      6m 20s
    10. Masking and shading the image
      7m 27s
    11. Flat in, perspective out
      5m 57s
    12. Adding perspective type
      4m 50s
    13. Swinging planes to custom angles
      6m 2s
    14. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      4m 35s
  9. 1h 15m
    1. Type: The great imaging exception
      54s
    2. Creating an independent text layer
      6m 39s
    3. Editing vector-based text
      6m 38s
    4. Working with area text
      6m 15s
    5. Resizing the text frame
      6m 4s
    6. Obscure but important formatting options
      7m 25s
    7. Text editing tricks and shortcuts
      9m 38s
    8. Adding a ghostly cast shadow
      6m 19s
    9. Backlighting the text
      2m 48s
    10. Creating type on a path
      7m 37s
    11. Pasting text along the bottom of a circle
      3m 50s
    12. Flip and baseline shift
      3m 15s
    13. Warping text
      3m 58s
    14. Scaling the warped text to taste
      4m 18s
  10. 1m 11s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 11s

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