Join Ted LoCascio for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Quick Selection tool, part of Combining Images with Photoshop Elements 9.
Now I'd like to show you how you can make difficult selections quickly and easily using the Quick Selection tool. I'm currently in the Elements organizer application, and I'm viewing the exercise files that are provided for you in this training course. And I can see them all here in my file browser. And what I'd like to do is change the view for this file browser by clicking on the Display button and choosing Folder Location. And I'm going to click on the Making Selections folder over here on the left.
So now we're just viewing the excise file images that are saved inside of this subfolder. And the image I'd like to focus on first is this particular image down here, the yellowflower.tiff image. I'm going to click on that and go over to the Fixed tab, click and choose Full Photo Edit. I can then view the yellow flower image here in the element editor application. All right, so I'm going to go ahead, click the document title bar and drag it to the top options panel until I see the blue line appearing around the entire work area.
That means I can go ahead and dock the image here in the work area. All right, now what I'd like to do is make a selection of this yellow flower in order to include it in a compositing project. Let's say I want to include the flower but I do not want to include all of this area surrounding the flower that is not in focus. Okay? I just want to include the yellow flower itself. In order to do that, I have to make a selection of the flower first.
All right, so first thing I want to do is go ahead and zoom in, so I'm going to go down here in the bottom left corner and just type in 25%, then we're viewing the image a little bit better here in the document window. Next thing I want to do is choose the Quick Selection tool from the tools tow. Actually already have an access to over here. This is the Quick Selection tool. You'll notice if you click and hold down grouped with another useful selection tool of this selection brush. But right now we're going to focus on using the Quick Selection tool. This is, without a doubt, the most powerful Selection tool that's available here in Photoshop Elements. Okay? You do have some other selection making tools.
In fact, this whole area here is devoted to selections. You've got the Magic Wand tool, which is another type of magic selection tool. Similar to the Quick Select tool, only Quick Select allows you to create an automated type of selection, just by clicking and dragging with the tool and it uses the brush cursor in order to look for areas of high contrast in your image and automatically select if for you. Okay, the Magic Wand actually uses a tolerance setting, okay? And it does not work with a brush.
All I would have to do is click in here to try and make the selection and notice, it's trying to select the flower, but because of this tolerance setting it's not grabbing the entire thing. So we would have to increase the tolerance and try again. It's still not enough. You'd have to do this several times before you'd even get close to the selection you want to make, and that can be too time consuming. You'd be probably quicker to trace this guy using maybe the Magnetic Lasso tool or the Lasso tool. Let's take a look at these.
Go ahead and Deselect first. You can use the Lasso tool to do a free form selection like this. Of course it takes a really steady hand to click and drag with the Lasso tool and you're ultimately not going to wind up with a very accurate selection. Okay, so that's why the Lasso tool is not as powerful and generally not the kind of selection making tool you'd want to use. Or something like this, so let's Deselect again. Select Deselect. We've also got things like the Polygonial Lasso tool. This one works by just clicking and creating little points, but you don't have any curves, okay, so for something like this flower, where we've got curves around certain parts of each petal, it's not going to work. Not going to be accurate enough.
It's going to be a very choppy looking selection, if you were to drag and drop your selected area into a composite image. So that's not going to work either. We also have the Magnetic Lasso tool which is an interesting tool. You can click and then follow along the area of high contrast here in the photograph where you'd like to select the flower. And as you do, Elements is placing anchor points along the way as you're tracing around, okay? And it does a pretty good job and in certain areas where there's not enough contrast, it's going to miss the mark and not create the point for you. You can override things like that by clicking and creating your own points as you're going through.
And you get some curves and things like that, but still this is a rather tedious way to go about selecting this. You'll get a more accurate selection, double-click to close the selected area. But it's still not the quickest or easiest way to do this. Of everything I showed you so far, probably the best option. But we're going to focus on the Quick Selection tool because it, a very, very good job and it's quick and easy to use so let's go ahead and Deselect. I'll show you why. If I size my brush cursor now, by either choosing a diameter up here or I like to size the cursor on the fly. And I do that using keyboard shortcuts.
If you click the Right Bracket key, it will increase the brush size incrementally and make it larger. If you click the Left Bracket key, it will make it smaller as I'm doing now. Okay. So you want a pretty decent sized brush in order to cover the area you want to select, all right. Again, what we're doing is just giving Photoshop Elements some pointers as to what we're trying to select here. Giving it some clues and then it does the actual work for us. So I'll go ahead and start clicking and dragging in the area and I want to select this flower. Notice all I have to do is just reach up into a little portion of the photograph and it actually creates the marching ants for me. And you can see those now, these are called the marching ants, we see the dotted line of the selection.
And there they are, okay, they're flashing inside of the image now for us to see exactly what it is we have selected. And it did a really good job. All I had to do was click and drag over the area that I wanted to select. Elements is able to search through the image using the clues that you gave it and look for those areas of high contrast and make the selection for you, curves and all. Looking really, really good. All right, now, it's still not perfect. It does a really good job, better than any of the other tools that I explained.
But it's still not perfect and you'll notice it selected an area down here, again, where there's not enough high contrast for it not to know that I didn't want to include that, for it to know that I didn't want to include that. I also didn't get the tips of some of these longer petals. So what we need to do is fix this up. Okay? And we can do that using the same tool, the Quick Selection tool. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in some. I'm going to do that using another keyboard shortcut. This is a good one to memorize. You hold down the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows and add the Space bar to it.
You can temporarily access the Zoom tool. Notice that my cursor has changed to a magnifying glass. With those two keys held down I can now work with the Zoom tool. So then I'm going to click and drag to create a marquee over the area that I want to zoom into, let up on the keys and now I'm zoomed into that area and can fix this selection. Right, I'm going to decrease the size of the brush cursor using the Left Bracket key several times. And when I do that, I now have a smaller brush cursor to work with and I can hold down the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key in Windows and then we can drag over the area that I want to subtract from the selection, right? Holding down that key modifier is what allows me to do that. Holding down Option on the mac or Alt in windows and I was very easily able to fix that selection.
We can go ahead and hold down the Space bar now and temporarily access the Hand tool, as long as we're using e modifiers here. As long as I hold down the spacebar I can click and drag through the image. And scroll through it to inspect my selection. That's what I'm doing right now. Right when I let up on the key, I'm back to the Quick Selection tool and I can click on any areas that it missed, like that one there, in order to edit the selection. All right, that's why we are seeing that plus symbol in the center of our brush cursor.
That means if I click in an area, I can add that area to the selection. All right? Resizing the brush a little bit, making it a little bit smaller, and then clicking over the tip of that petal. I now have that added to my selection. Holding down Option or Alt, clicking over this area to remove it, subtract it. And then clicking and dragging to the edge. Be very careful though, because if you drag too far into the surrounding background, it's going to think you want to include this blurry background area, and it's going to reach further into your image and add that to your selection.
So you want to be a little bit careful where you're clicking and dragging as you modify your quick selection. We didn't select this one over here. It's a little out of focus so I don't think we really need to include it. It's not that important. We might want to get rid of this area here, okay? It's looking good. Again, holding down that spacebar, we can scroll through, inspect our selection, make sure that everything is included that we want to be included in our final composite image. Okay, and I think we've got it.
All right, so let's zoom out some. Choose View > Zoom Out. Or use that keyboard shortcut, Cmd+- on the Mac, Ctrl+- in Windows. Do that several times. So we can see the entire flower and the selection that we've made. There's our marching ants, and that looks really, really good to me. And we were able to create this selection very quickly and easily, using the Quick Selection tool, which works based on the size of your brush and where you click in the image. It will create a selection for you. Just by clicking and dragging, Elements will be able to detect what it is you're trying to select and follow the contour along all of those hard contrast edges and bam.
There we have it, a finished selection.
- Making difficult selections quickly and easily
- Saving and loading selections
- Working with adjustment layers, clipping masks, and layer masks
- Using the Straighten and Crop tools
- Adjusting layer opacity
- Applying blend modes