How to.....

Make Selections (Dave George)

Control J new layer or copy selection to new layer


To learn something you need to make careful notes, better yet practice it and best of all do both.
Making notes however ensures you will miss something. So I will make detailed notes of this talk available on the Club web site so all you really need to do tonight is watch and get the general drift of what we are doing.
If anyone wants to ask questions I am happy to take those as we go along.
If any of you want to fill in a short feedback form, it will help me to improve and future talks. I will hand these out at the end.

Making great selections

I am going to show you how to make some very complex selections in Elements 11 but these can be applied in the full Photoshop as well.
I truly hope to amaze you but maybe you will amaze me because you already know - lets see !
Before we get to the main part of this talk - "GREAT SELECTIONS" - we will look at the various tools for making selections because understanding the full toolbox will help guide you towards making the right choice for a particular job.
I am guessing here but how many of you have used the Magnetic Lasso tool ? Could I have a show of hands please.
Did you know some claim this is the most powerful selection tool available ? Personally I believe it's more a case of knowing all of your tools and picking the right one for the job in hand.
So before we get to the main part of the talk, lets review the full list of SELECTION TOOLS.

The tools we have are:
Rectangular /Elliptical /
Lasso three types /
Quick Selection /
Selection Brush
Magic Wand /

Rectangular/Elliptical - Flick between these two tool by selecting from the box on the left and then choosing from the box at the bottom. We can make a selection here then use copy to subsequently paste this into another image. For a quick example we will use Raven. When using the elliptical tool for this face for example, draw downwards and start to one side of the face as where you start is kind of anchored. Hit Control C to copy to CLIPBOARD then Select FILE/NEW and Image from CLIPBOARD.

Lasso - This is simply a freehand selection tool which you could use to select an area of sky. I don't intend to spend anymore time on this one, if it suits your purpose, use it.
Polygonal Lasso - This is good for following straight lines but can handle curves with multiple clicks. Make a start on your selection then move the cursor to the next bend.corner and click again. Follow this process until you circumnavigate the selection. Either double click to end or get your last selection point over the first point and click once.
Use caps lock to change cursor to cross hairs.
Use Space/Ctrl to ZOOM in
Use Space to select MOVE tool for navigation.
If a line goes out of sight but you know it goes to the bottom of the picture,
Click in the grey area just outside the picture and it will complete the line correctly even when out of sight.
To add to a selection, click within the existing selection and hold Shift for the first click.
Watch for the add sign. Move to the point you want to start adding and click around the new shape. Finish as before.
To subtract is similar to above but use the Alt key and not the shift key. Make your first point OUTSIDE the current selection.

Magnetic Lasso - This tool uses the contrast between edges to follow an outline, just like the former but without the need for clicks. That said if it drifts of course you can left click to force your own anchor points where needed.

Before starting use the second ICON right bottom below image. reset tool.
If you diverge off course, click delete repeatedly to remove any anchors that you do not want.
Use caps lock to change cursor to cross hairs.
Ctrl + to ZOOM in or - for out
Use Space Bar to select MOVE tool for navigation.
Remove a completed selection with Control D
Kill an incomplete selection with ESC
Watch some utube videos about this tool.

Selection Brush
We can use this tool to make a selection we want to change or we can use it with a mask to additionally control an area that we don't want to change.


To select a straight line click once at the start then move to the end and SHIFT click
Use the ALT key to subtract from selection when you make a mistake

Quick Selection Tool

Prior to Elements 11 and CS5, complex selections like hair could be extremely difficult to carry out.

Wispy Hair ( An impossible Selection ? )
OK so we want to cut a model out to put her into another background.
This would have been a nightmare before CS5 and 11 but the refine edge tool in Elements 11 will make it a breeze.
So here we have our model and I suspect you will never have more difficult hair to select than this.
We are going to use the Quick Selection Tool which you will find grouped with the magic wand and Selection brush. The one currently selected is what you will see in the tool bar. Click it and then at the bottom select the tool of choice.
If too much is selected hit alt and remove excess selections. You will see the minus appear in the selection brush/tool.
Now of course you will see the hair is very poorly selected. If you have 8 hours to spare you could use the polygonal tool instead and gradually work around each hair. Good luck with that as one double click ends the selection and you return directly to go.

Once done click REFINE EDGE with all DIALOG sliders set to zero in the dialog box. Find this either at the bottom or under SELECT in the top menu.
Hit Control + to magnify image then use spacebar to move around image as needs be.
In the top of the DIALOG box select under view "ON WHITE" or any option that suits the image best.
Move the radius slider right to improve selection. ( say 7.7 )
Still within the DIALOG box, select the brush tool.
Click and drag around hairline with large brush. I will start at 400 pixels. Paint over the hairline and within the hair where the background shows through. Do a little at a time, pause and watch the magic.
I reduce the brush size to 200 to work near the face etc
Click decontaminate colours.
Make sure output is set to layer mask and hit O.K. Wait for it to process - completion will show with the new layer mask appearing.
Now go to Layer/Layer Mask/Apply
From here you can copy the image onto a new background of your choice.
With a little practice you should easily perform selections like this in under two minutes.

Magic Wand

Selecting Foliage

I have some tree leaves I want to select to use in another image for some purpose or another.
The quick selection tool will not work so well here as we have many areas
within the foliage to select apart from the more obvious outer boundary.
So for complex multiple areas we are using the Magic Wand.
I have Tolerance set to 78

I open my chosen image and select the magic tool. As the last tool we used in this set was the quick selection tool, I need to select that first then pick the chosen tool in the area at the bottom of the screen.

If I click the wand in the bottom area of the sky you will see it makes a good selection of the lower boundary of leaves but fails to select the other areas. This is because the default contiguous is set. Contiguous simply means a shared or common boundary.
So first undo the last selection.

Untick contiguous before using wand : this allows it to cross boundaries making multiple area selections.
You will see it has now selected across boundaries and selected all areas of sky fairly well.

Re tick Contiguous
Zooom in now to see what has been missed.
Hold Shift key and wand again to add any missed areas
As we selected the sky but really want the leave, invert the selection by going to Select/Inverse on the top menu.
Increase radius slider to further improve this time using " On Black " for clarity. I am using around 9 on the RADIUS slider.
Decontaminate colors then OK after checking output set to "New Layer with Layer Mask"
Goto LAYER/LAYERMASK and APPLY to flatten that
From here you can copy the image onto a new background of your choice.