Chapter 1. Selections

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:

  • The nature of the selection shape. Is the subject you want to select a complex or a simple shape? Are its edges soft and delicate or sharp and crisp? Is there good contrast between the subject and its background or is the subject shape murky and ill-defined? Perhaps your subject is all of these things.

  • What you intend to do with the selection. If you are planning on improving the tonality or color in a region of the image, it may be enough for the selection to be general, sloppy even. If, on the other hand, you plan on cutting out the image and compositing it with another image or images, then you may need to be painstakingly precise.

  • Personal preference. With many selection options to choose from, people develop their own working style, gravitating towards certain tools and swearing off others. As with just about everything in Photoshop, there are many ways to make selections, and while there is rarely one definitive right way, there are usually better ways, and there are always wrong ways. I'll point out what I feel are the better ways and explain my preferences.

Figure 1.1. The basic Selection tools.

Adobe PhotoShop Unmasked. The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
Adobe Photoshop Unmasked: The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
ISBN: 0321441206
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 93
Authors: Nigel French

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