83. Select Everything But the Current Selection
Before You Begin
70 About Making Selections
77 Paint a Selection
At times, you might want to make changes to everything in an image except for one specific selection. For example, you might want to soften the background in a photo of an animal to make the animal stand out a bit more. To accomplish this, you can select the animal easily enough and then invert the selection so that everything except the animal is selected. If your purpose is to select the animal, and he happens to be in front of a neutral background, you could attempt to select the background first (using the Magic Wand would make the task simple), and then invert the selection to select the animal.
When you use the Inverse command, Photoshop Elements deselects everything that is currently selected on that same layer and selects everything that was not originally selected. Basically, this command gives you the inverse, or opposite, of the original selection.
To capture everything in an image within the selection marquee (and not just the data on that layer), choose Edit, Copy Merged. You can then use the Edit, Paste or New, Layer, Background from Layer to paste the data onto a new layer in the same or another image.
Make First Selection
Open an image in the Editor in Standard Edit mode, and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, choose the layer that contains the data you want to select, and then use any selection tool to make the initial selection in the image.
Invert the Selection
Choose Select, Inverse from the menu bar to invert the selection marquee. The selection marquee is changed to select everything in the image except what was previously selected.
View the Result
When you're satisfied with the selection, make changes to the area within the selection, copy or cut its data to another image or layer, or delete the data within the selection. Any edits you make at this point affect only the new inverted selection. The data within your original selection is not affected. After you're satisfied with the result, make any other changes you want, and then save the PSD file. Resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image with its layers intact (if any) so you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you like.
Use the Selection
In this example, I wanted to blur the background around the meerkat. To do this, I used the Magnetic Lasso tool to select the meerkat and then inverted the selection. When everything but the meerkat was selected, I applied a Gaussian Blur filter to the selection. See 151 Blur a Background to Create Depth of Field for more information on using the Gaussian Blur filter.
You can choose Select, Inverse a second time to switch back to your original selection.
You can't invert a selection with the Selection Brush, but you can use it to paint either what you want to select, or what you don't. See 77 Paint a Selection.