8. Making Selections: Getting Just What You Need
You love the painting and retouching tools that Photoshop offers; you love layers; you even love all the options it gives you for saving files. But as soon as someone says "alpha channel" or "mask," your eyes glaze over. And when someone strings together a sentence like, "Edit your selection in Quick Mask mode and then intersect it with the eighth alpha channel," you drop your mouse and head for the door.
It doesn't have to be this way. Masks, channels, and selections are actually really easy once you get past their bad reputation. Making a good selection is obviously important when silhouetting and compositing imagestwo of the most common production tasks. But perhaps even more important, selections are also a key ingredient for nondestructive tonal corrections, color corrections, sharpening, and even retouching. We discussed some of these in the previous chapter, and we'll explore them further in later chaptersbut before we get there, we must first make you a mask maven and a channel champion!
Note that in this chapter we're only talking about pixel-based selections; we'll discuss sharp-edged vector clipping paths and masks in Chapter 12, Essential Image Techniques.