Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Localized color clusters, part of Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery.
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All right, so in the previous exercise, I showed you how the Color Range command selects both pixels that are adjacent to the click points as well as non-adjacent pixels. Compare that to the Magic Wand tool, which by default selects adjacent pixels only. So as a result, even though my click point and my Shift-click point both fell outside of the skull, I have managed to select inside of this nasal cavity and inside of this eye cavity and a bunch of other holes inside of the skull as well, which is generally a good thing. It certainly turns out to be a great thing where the skull is concerned. Still, you might like a little better control. You might want to reign in your selections so that it is tight to your click and Shift-click points. And if you want to do that, then you can turn-on this Localized Color Clusters checkbox here inside the Color Range dialog box, and I should say it's new to Photoshop CS4. And as soon as you turn-on this checkbox, you get a range value.
Now for some reason, Range remains dimmed which is sometimes does. There's a little bit of a bug going on here. Then what you need to do is just go ahead and click and Shift-click again in order to reestablish your selection. Now notice that the Range value by default is set to 100% and this is 100% of the overall size of the image. So in other words, the selection is going to ultimately taper off toward the outer edges of the image, as the selection outline is declining away from your click and your Shift-click points. You can reduce that selected area if you want to by reducing this Range value.
So if I go ahead and take the value down to something very low like so, you will see that I'm reigning in my selection to something of sort of a fuzzy rectangle right here that's drawn around my click and my Shift-click points. Now we have got some odd behavior associated with this checkbox. I just got to tell you, it doesn't always work the same way every time you use it. For example, if you go ahead and set up your Base colors first and then adjust the Range value, you will get something like what we are seeing here, but if you adjust your Range value first and then you set your base points, watch what happens. I'll click here and then I'll Shift-click down here and notice that I'm restraining my selection to this gradient circle that's being drawn around each of my base points. So interesting, so totally a different result this time around.
So I basically did the same thing I did before, but I went ahead and performed it after modifying the Range value instead of before, and you get different results. So it's just something to bear in mind as you are working inside of this dialog box, if you are taking advantage of this function right here. So if I increase that Range value though, you will see that I'm allowing the selection to drift farther and farther away from those base points. So this can be a very handy way for reigning in your selection to the geographical area around your click and your Shift-click points, and in the case of this image right here, it does tend to be helpful.
So I'm going to go ahead and crank that Range value all the way up to 100%, which typically is the way that I work. This is a new option, of course, so I've only had a few months now to play around with it. So far this is the conclusion I have come to that when in doubt, a Range value of 100% works best. And then I'll go ahead and click and Shift-click in other points throughout the image and even do one of those Shift+drags around an area in order to select many colors at the same time, and I'll go ahead and Shift-click down here as well. Maybe Shift+drag around a little bit in order to make sure that I have selected everything I can.
I don't want to Shift-click on this line. Notice this line that's going through the image right here, some sort of seam in a tent. I actually shot this image at Disney World, and if you Shift-click on it though, you are going to lose a lot of your dinosaur. You are going to start encroaching into the dinosaur as you see right there. So I don't want that. I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. Now you may see at this point tons of the boneage here is turning sort of light gray, meaning that it is going to become selected. If you don't want that, which you don't, you'd go ahead and reduce this Fuzziness value and I'll take it down to something like let's say 60% %. And just a dreamy thing about this Fuzziness value, not only does it have an organic drop off which is super wonderful, but it's also dynamic. So you can adjust it on the fly and get a sense for what kind of selection you would like to create. So fully on the Magic Wand. Where continuous-tone images are concerned, the Color Range command most of the time is going to give you better result.
At this point, I think everything looks really swell. It's not perfect and I'm going to be modifying this mask in the Quick Mask Mode in just a moment but there is one last problem here; the fact that I want to select the dinosaur bones and I want to de-select the background. So I have done exactly the opposite of what I want. Bear in mind that white means selected and black means deselected. You sometimes hear people say that white reveals and black conceals, so that's another way to think about it. Opposite of what I want, turn on the Invert checkbox, you get exactly what you want or nearly exactly, obviously, subject to some future further modifications here. Now one more thing I'm going to tell you is if you have had problems following along with me, no problem, because I have gone ahead and saved off my settings. When you click the Save button, you save your Base colors and you save your Fuzziness and your Range values right there, whether the Invert checkbox is turned on or off, and I have gone ahead and saved this off for you.
So I'll go ahead and click Load in order to load those settings and there they are right there, Localized duckbill.axt, go ahead and click Load to load it on up. You may see your selection shift a little bit, I saw mine shift ever so slightly, because I made different decisions the last time around. That's fine. Then you may decide that you can do better, and you'd sort of click around and see what you can do. Now bear in mind, when the Invert checkbox is turned on, Alt-clicking or Option-clicking on the Mac is going to add to the selection as I did just there. And I was telling you that I don't have very good luck with Alt-clicking or Option-clicking usually, and here it worked beautifully, and then of course Shift-clicking is going to add to the de -selection, and that's because we have got Invert turned-on.
All right, when you are done selecting as much of the dinosaur as you want to select, then go ahead and click OK in order to create that selection outline. Now it's not perfect, it needs modification, and that's why I'm going to show you how to refine the selection in the Quick Mask Mode in the very next exercise.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
- Defining the essentials of masking
- Resizing images with content-aware scaling
- Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
- Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
- Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images