There's no question that Photoshop is the crown jewel of the Creative Suite. Through the years, the venerable image-editing tool has become the definitive "killer app." Photoshop is used in so many different ways to accomplish so many different tasks. Graphic designers, digital photographers, and hobbyists can't get far without it. If you're serious about achieving the perfect image, chances are you're using Photoshop.
This powerful, versatile application can be daunting at times. Just when you think you have a handle on the application, a new version arrives with a whole slew of new features and changes. This makes it next to impossible to keep up with it all. A couple of new features are bound to sneak below your radar.
In this chapter, you'll find tips and techniques covering features new to Photoshop CS2 along with some lesser known or frequently overlooked features and tools that have been around for a few versions. In addition, many of the tips in this chapter also work in ImageReady, Photoshop's Web graphics-centric component. Now let's dive deeper into the suite, starting with this image-editing powerhouse and see just what it's capable of.
#21 Making Color Range Selections
Efficiently selecting certain pixels to work with while excluding others is essential when working in Photoshop. Fortunately, a number of tools and commands are available to help with this task. One technique you can use to quickly isolate parts of an image is to select them through their similar color range. This works well when you have a consistently colored object set against a differently colored background.
Here are two of the more popular ways to make a selection based on a range of colors:
Magic Wand tool: Clicking in an area that contains relatively similar colors with this tool will immediately select the entire area without having to trace the outside. Experiment with the tool's tolerance and the other settings in the options palette if you're not getting the desired results (
). A low tolerance value selects colors very similar to one another, whereas a higher value selects a broader range of colors.
Figure 21a If the Magic Wand tool is selecting too little or too much, adjust the tolerance setting in the options bar appropriately. The image on the left shows a selection made with a tolerance of 12, whereas the image on the right has a value of 65.
Color Range command: This powerful command makes it possible to build up a complex selection based on a sampled color range. Follow these steps to use this command:
- Sample the predominate color you want to create your selection from using the Eyedropper tool and then choose Select > Color Range.
- In the Color Range dialog (
) you can adjust the amount of similar colors used in the selection by using the Fuzziness slider.
Figure 21b The Color Range dialog offers an interactive yet sophisticated approach to selecting specific colors in a range.
- Add or remove colors from the range by using the Add and Subtract from Sample Eyedropper tools and clicking on colors in the image window or preview area.
- If you want to preview the selection in the image window, choose from the options in the Selection Preview menu.
- When you're satisfied with the color range selection, click OK to create your selection.
Once you've made your color-based selection, you can clean it up by using the Smooth command. To smooth a selection, choose Select > Modify > Smooth. Enter a value in the Sample Radius and click OK. This will select any nearby stray pixels, resulting in an overall smoother selection.