Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Introducing selections, part of Up and Running with Photoshop Elements 12.
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Selections come in really handy, because you can use them to isolate part of the photograph so that you're working only on the isolated area. Now there are a number of different selection tools in the expert edit work space. If I go to the Selection Tool area, here in the toolbar, you can see that there are Geometric Selection tools for making rectangular, square, elliptical and circular selections. There are Lasso tools for drawing a selection by hand. And then there are the tools that select automatically on the basis of color and tone.
I think those are most useful, so let's take a look at those. So let's say that I'd like to select this yellow balloon so that I can change its color. I'm going to try to do that using the Magic Wand tool. Which is one of the options for the Quick Selection tool. Down in the Tool Options bar. I'll click on the Magic Wand tool. I'll leave all its options at their defaults. So by default, every time I click with this tool, it's going to make a brand new selection. And it's going to select just contiguous or touching pixels, and it's going to try to even out the edges of the selection with anti-aliasing.
So I'll move into the image and I'll click on part of the yellow balloon and that does make a selection around part of the yellow balloon. The animated dotted line that you see is called the marching ants and that identifies the selection boundary. But I want to include the rest of the yellow balloon too. So I'll come down to the Options bar and here I have options to add to the selection. And subtract from this selection which you will find in the other selection towards too. So I am going to choose Add To Selection and then I'll click a couple more times on the non-selected areas of the yellow balloon until I've selected most of it,.
Now I see I've gone a little too far and selected a bit of a balloon behind this one. I could choose Subtract from Selection and try to click on just that area, but it's really hard to get just that little bit. So let me undo that, Edit>Undo, and instead I want to show you how to use the Selection Brush. The Selection Brush tool allows you to add pixels to a selection or subtract from a selection by just painting on the image. So I'll click on Subtract icon, and then I'm just going to click and drag over those pixels I want to eliminate from the selection.
And up here I see a little bit I need to add in so I'll click on the Add to option for the Selection brush. And I'll click and drag here to add those few pixels back into the selection. Maybe I need just a few more down here as well. Now that I'm happy with my selection let's do something with it. One of the many things that you can do with a selected portion of a photo like this is change its color. I happen to have purple here in my foreground color box. I'm going to get my Brush tool and in the Brush tool options I'll go to the Mode menu and I'm going to choose Color.
Which is a great way to paint while retaining the photographic qualities under the paint. Now I'll move into the image and I don't have to be careful about where I'm painting Because the paint will land only inside that selection area. When I'm done with the selection I'll want to deselect. The shortcut for deselect is Ctrl+D on the PC, Cmd+D on the Mac. And that's one worth remembering because you'll do it so often. Now, another thing that I often do with a selection is use it to select an area that I want either to delete or to hide.
In this case I think the sky isn't very interesting. I'd like to hide this plain blue sky on the balloons layer, so that we can see down through to the more interesting sky with clouds on the background layer. So I'm going to go back over to the toolbar and I'm going to click on the Selection Brush tool there and then in the options, I'll select the Quick Selection tool. This is the same tool that we looked at earlier in the quick edit workspace and it works the same way. With this tool I'll come into the image. I'll make sure my brush tip is small and I'll click and drag over the sky.
And right away it selects on the basis of color and tone and it also recognizes the edges of the higher contrast balloons. Now I see that it selected too much so I'll go to its Options bar. Where it's set to Add to the Selection by default. And I'll choose Subtract from Selection. And I'm going to subtract this balloon and this blue balloon from my selection. When I use this tool I often need to fine tune the edge so I'll click the Refine edge button here to open the Refine edge dialog box.
And I see the edge of the selection is a little bit jaggedy. You can view the selection against any of these options. I happen to be viewing on white. So what I'm going to do is move the smooth slider slightly to the right and maybe the contrast slider a bit too and then I'll click OK. Now I could just press the Backspace or Delete key with the balloons layer selected and that would delete the selected blue sky from the balloons layer. But I like to work non-destructively so rather than delete these pixels of the sky I would like to hide them and to do that I will use a layer mask that masks away everything expect the selected area of the photo.
So that means I need to invert my selection, so that it's covering everything expect the sky. To invert a selection, I'll go to the Select menu and I'll choose Invert. And now to add a layer mask, I'll click the Layer Mask icon at the top of the Layers panel and that adds the layer mask that you see here on the balloons layer and the black paint that was automatically added outside the selection on this layer is hiding the plain blue sky on the balloons layer so we can see down through to the background below. So that's a quick overview of Selections.
Give them a try to isolate part of your images. So that you can work on just those parts.
- Importing photos from a hard drive or camera
- One-click editing with Instant Fix
- Making Quick Edits to color and lighting
- Adding effects in Quick Edit
- Straightening with content-aware fill
- Working with folders and files in the Organizer
- Keyword tagging
- Making albums
- Sharing photos via email or social media