Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video The Color Range command, part of Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
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Alright, a brief recap, I went ahead and dragged and dropped the glass image into the star background, then I set the new base glass layer to the Hard Light Blend mode and 80% opacity that allowed me to retain the base shadows and highlights from the glass image. Dropped away many of the midtones in order to reveal the star pattern in the background. Problem is that my highlights lack, I want them to appear as nice bright glint to go along with these stars in the background here.
And I am going to do that by returning to the splash-in-glass image here that you can find inside the 10 masking folder. And I am going to select the highlight using the wonderful naturalistic organic Color Range command. But before we can do that, we need to get rid of our existing selection outline, otherwise the Color Range command will try to select inside of the existing selection and that would be a disaster. So go ahead and press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to decimate any existing Magic Wand selection outline in the event you created one.
And now, I am going to switch back to the Marquee tool just so that I have this nice simple cross cursor. Then I am going to press the F key in order to enter the Maximize mode. Then, I am going to go up to the Select menu. I invite you to do the same and choose the Color Range command right here. And I think so highly of this command that I have gone ahead and assigned a custom keyboard shortcut. If you loaded my D-key shortcuts, then you will see that you can access the command by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O on the Mac, and that brings up the Color Range command right here.
Now, your preview may look different than mine, don't worry about that at all. Just know that this command works a lot like the Magic Wand tool. It's basically the Magic Wand on steroids as it turns out. Move your 1:56 EyeDropper cursor, notice you have got a little EyeDropper cursor here, move it out into the larger image window and then click on any old color inside of the image. And what that does is that goes ahead and nails that clicked pixel as the base color for your selection just as if you had clicked on that pixel with the Magic Wand tool.
But instead of seeing a new selection outline, you will see this mask preview right here, it's a little difficult to see what's going on. So I am going to click inside the background instead like so, and then I am going to add to the selection. I am going to add another base color by pressing the Shift key and clicking again. You may recall that Shift-clicking with the Magic Wand added a base color, well that's exactly what happens when you Shift-click with this little EyeDropper cursor hare when you are using the Color Range command, you add base colors to your selections.
So I am going to go ahead and click a few times. You can also Shift+Drag, as it turns out, to add colors on the fly, something that you can't do with a Magic Wand tool, there is a lot of stuff that the Color Range command can do that that the Magic Wand can't do. Now, check out this little Preview inside the dialogue box. It's showing you the selection as a mask. So instead of showing you the selection using marching ants, which are really actually not very helpful, it's showing you the selection as a very helpful mask. And you may recall when we are reading a mask, white means selected pixels, black means deselected pixels and gray means intermediate degrees of selection.
So you can have nice naturalistic transitions between your selected and deselect areas. Now, other things you can do, you can also by the way Shift-click inside of the preview if you want to and Shift+Drag inside the preview as well in order to add colors. And if you add too many colors like this, I have gone way too far at this point, then there is a couple of things you can do. One is you can press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac in order to take advantage of your one level of Undo that's available to you inside the Color Range dialogue box.
The other option is you can press the Alt key or the Option Key on the Mac and click on a color to remove it from the selection. And you can even Alt or Option+Drag if you want to, I am not going to do that because I get rid of pretty much my entire selection if I were to do that. But that is an option so you can subtract base colors from the selection by Alt or Option-clicking just as you can with the Magic Wand. Alright, I am going to go ahead and Shift-click in order to add back a little bit of base color here. Notice now this fuzziness value that's at the top of the dialogue box, it's analogous to the tolerance value associated with the Magic Wand tool.
So in this case, our default value of 40 is saying that Photoshop is going to go ahead and select 40 luminance levels brighter and 40 luminance levels darker than my base colors that I clicked and Shift-clicked on. But there is two differences between fuzziness and tolerance. For one, fuzziness is a dynamic control so it works on the fly. Notice that as I raise that fuzziness value, Photoshop goes ahead and adds to the selection. On the fly, it's not a static control as it is with the Magic Wand tool.
Secondly, I will go ahead and switch this selection preview here to grayscales so that we can see the mask big and beautiful here inside the image window. Notice that we have got all kinds of grays at our disposal and that is because fuzziness is an incremental selection control so it doesn't go ahead and select all 138 of these luminance levels in each direction, it incrementally selects them, so that only the colors that we clicked and Shift-clicked on, only our base colors are 100% selected, the other colors are slightly less and less selected as we move farther and farther away from them in terms of luminance levels until we get 138 luminance levels away in either direction, at which point the pixels are not selected at all, they are black.
Now, that's great because it means that the Color Range command is doing an amazing job of matching the organic information inside the image. So it will result in a naturalistic selection outline, something you can't really achieve using the Magic Wand tool. Alright, I am going to change that selection preview back to none so that we can see the full color version of the image. The final thing I am going to tell you about here is this invert checkbox, which allows you to reverse the selection. So it's just like the Inverse command under the Selection menu.
Those are the important controls inside the Color Range dialogue box. We will put those controls to work to select the highlights inside of the image inside the very next exercise.
Ready for more Photoshop CS3 training with Deke? Check out Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Advanced Techniques.
Note: Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials is a recommended prerequisite to Photoshop CS3 One-on-One: Beyond the Basics.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
- Understanding what Photoshop CS3 is and what it can do.
- Zooming, scrolling, and getting around an image.
- Making the most of the new-and-improved CS3 interface.
- Using Adobe Bridge to organize and manage images.
- Saving workspaces for maximum comfort and efficiency.
- Correcting colors using the Variations and Hue/Saturation commands.
- Taking on the professional-grade luminance editors, Levels and Curves.
- Resampling an image and selecting an interpolation setting.
- Cropping and straightening a photograph.