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May 11th, 2007

Using the Marquee Tools to Make Selections

The rectangular and elliptical marquees are good for basic geometric shapes. But how do you turn a rectangle into a square or an oval into a circle?

For this article, I scanned my nephew’s new CD and CD cover.

epiccd.jpg epiccover.jpg

Working on the CD cover, I chose the rectangular marquee. By holding the shift key and drawing a diagonal line beginning in one corner, I got a perfectly square selection.

epiccoverselect.jpg

Oops! CD covers aren’t square! I have two choices. I can deselect and try again, or I can work with what I have. Go to Select, Transform Selection. This adds handles to your square that allow you to adjust the size. When you’re finished, hit enter or return.

The CD itself was turned when scanned. I used the measure tool to rotate it. For the circle, instead of drawing a diagonal, I wanted to begin in the center. Holding the shift key will produce the circle, holding the alt (option) key allows you to begin in the center. I held Shift + Alt (Shift + Option), positioned my mouse in the center of the circle and drew a straight line from the center outwards.

epiccd.jpg epicstraight.jpg epiccdselect.jpg

If you go too far, like I did, try again or use Transform Selection.

May 4th, 2007

5 Primary Types of Selections

Making accurate selections is sometimes a daunting task, yet of vital importance in much of the work done in Photoshop. Before you pick up a selection tool, look closely at your photograph. What are you selecting? Which tool will be best for the job? Understanding types of selections will help you choose correctly.

1. Shape. Smooth edges and clearly defined forms. A sign, building, pear all have definite shapes that are relatively easy to outline with marquee and lasso tools.

2. Tone and Color. Tone includes highlights, mid-tones and shadows. Color, of course is color. Do you want to choose a shadow area like Byron did previously? This is a more involved selection to make.

3. Edges and Fine Detail. Do you want to outline a person but their wispy hair seems impossible? This calls for more advanced techniques.

4. Translucent objects. How do you select a glass object, or a whisp of smoke? The glass may seem a simple shape, but preserving translucency when changing the background can be a real challenge.

5. Opposites. Select what you don’t want, then inverse the selection. This was used in “Vignetting Part 2.” The baby was selected, then the selection inverted so that the changes affected the other areas leaving the baby untouched.

Over the next few weeks, I intend to go into more detail about each of these techniques. Later, we can see what can be done with the selections. Making accurate selections is one of the most important skills you can develop in Photoshop.

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