Introducing the Color Range command

show more Introducing the Color Range command provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced show less
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Introducing the Color Range command

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Color Range command, which is one of the most essential automated selection functions inside of Photoshop. You might think of it as being the Magic Wand 2.0. Now, it's been around inside the program for a very long time. Lots of people, however, don't know it exists. It's just an absolutely fantastic tool. It offers all of the automation of the Magic Wand tool, plus once you come to terms with it, all the ease of use, as well as taking care of basically all the problems that are associated with the Magic Wand.

In other words, it provides dynamic results. It provides organic selection outlines. It actually works with the photographic image. It's just an absolutely awesome selection tool. Now before we check it out, those of you who have access to the exercise files, I'd like you to go ahead and open Lips.jpg. This image comes to us from L. V. Nail ( ph) 0:52 of the Fotolia image library, about which you can learn more at Let's say that we want to do two things with these lips.

First of all, I wanted to change out the lipstick. Instead of this kind of golden dark lipstick, I want bright, vivid, cherry-red lipstick. So, we're going to have to apply in just the lip region, not on the teeth, a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Then I want to set the lips and the teeth against the black background. All right! So, it's a two-parter technique. We're going to need layer masks in order to contain the adjustment layer, and ultimately, the lips. Now, we might approach this using something like the Magic Wand tool.

I'll demonstrate the failings of the Magic Wand. If you're so inclined, you can demonstrate to yourself, the failings of the Quick Selection tool, which isn't going to hack it either. For example, in the case of this image, I might think, you know what? It's going to be easier to select what I don't want to select, i.e., the flesh and the teeth. Then choose the Inverse command from the Select menu in order to select the lips. So, I'll click inside of the flesh, and then Shift+Click in order to add to the flesh. Just like that, two clicks, one click, one Shift+Click, I've got the entire flesh area selected.

Now I have selected into the lips, if you look closely, but not too far. Now I've got to go after the teeth, because I don't want to select them either. I don't want to make them red. So, I'll Shift+Click and then Shift+Click and then Shift+Click and then Shift+Click, and I'm going to be at it for a while, Shift+Clicking inside these teeth. In fact, this is actually the wrong approach where this image is concerned. We're going to have to actually select the lips this time round. Instead of selecting the thing we don't want to select, and then choosing the Inverse command. We're going to have to select the thing we do want to select, which is the lips. The Magic Wand tool isn't going to hack it.

We can't modify this Tolerance value, and expect results on the fly. We're also going to get these really choppy edges. None of that is a concern when using Color Range. So, I'm going to press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. Press the M key, just to go and switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool, so that we have our cross-shaped cursor. I'm going to go up to the Select menu, and choose the Color Range command. If you loaded my custom dekeKeys shortcuts at the outset of this course, then you've got a keyboard shortcut for this command: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+O or Command+Shift+Option+O on the Mac.

I use that keyboard shortcut on a regular basis, because I use this command all the time. It is an absolutely fantastic selection feature. Now, when you first bring the command up onscreen, you might disagree with me. You might look at it and say Deke, I don't even understand what's going on here. This isn't a tool for one thing, at least the Magic Wand tool was a tool, and I can use it inside the image. This thing is a dialog box. It features this unreadable thing in the middle of it, and this Fuzziness value. So, what in the world is going on? Well, remember how the Magic Wand tool allows you to click inside the image, in order to lift key colors.

Well, that's what you can do if you click inside of the image using this Eyedropper as well. So, just imagine that the Eyedropper is your Magic Wand. For example, if I were approaching the image the same way I approach to using the Magic Wand just a moment ago. I would click inside the flesh in order to isolate one key color. Then I would Shift+Click in another location, in order to load another key color. Then I would see my selection taking form here inside the dialog box. Notice this little preview right there.

That is a preview of my selection. But it's a mask style preview. So, wherever we see white is selected, wherever I see black is deselected, and any gray value is going to be some degree of selection in between. So in other words, a light gray is going to be mostly selected, a dark gray is going to be mostly deselected, and so on. So, in my case, I can see that I've selected most of the flesh inside of the image. Not as much flesh as I selected by clicking and Shift+Clicking with the Magic Wand tool, but that actually turns out to be a good thing as we'll see shortly.

I've also selected some of the highlights inside of the lips, and a little bit of the teeth as well. So, that's your first glimpse into Color Range. You go ahead and click and Shift+Click using this Eyedropper in order to define key colors inside the selection. I'll explain how the other options work beginning in the next exercise.

Introducing the Color Range command
Video duration: 5m 13s 26h 24m Intermediate Updated Aug 31, 2010


Introducing the Color Range command provides you with in-depth training on Design. Taught by Deke McClelland as part of the Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

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