BECAUSE SO MUCH OF WHAT YOU DO IN PHOTOSHOP begins with a selection, using the Selection tools is a fundamental Photoshop skill. Making selections is about isolating a part, or parts, of your image so that only those parts are affected by what you do nextmake a color adjustment, apply a filter, paint, or retouchto name but a few options.
This chapter examines basic selection concepts and the Selection tools, and their supporting cast of options and menu items used to refine those selections. All of this information is a stepping-stone for more advanced work with alpha channels, layers, and layer masks later in this book. If you're already familiar with Photoshop's Selection tools, you might want to skip this chapter, although I'd recommend at least skimming it because you'll probably pick up a few useful tips.
Some selections are fast and easy, so fast and so easy they may seem like cheating; others take time and patience; others still may be impossible, or, more likely, not worth the effort. While making selections, keep sight of the fact that the unselected parts of the imagethose parts you want to protect, or mask, from changesare just as important as the selected parts.
How you make your selections depends on these main factors:
Figure 1.1. The basic Selection tools.