Introduction to Selections
Selections are probably one of my favorite things because when we combine it with all the things that we've already learned leading up to this with our layers, our layer tools, our masks, blend if and now with selections, we just keep piling on more possibilities for our editing in Photoshop. So selections in a nut shell, what are selections? Selections allow you to isolate areas of your image and edit them without affecting other areas, of the image as a whole. Some might think, well isn't that the same thing as masking? Well in a way, yes and actually these selections can be used hand in hand with masking. They just make it a little bit easier in the masking process. These are called local adjustments and they're useful when you want to segregate two different areas so just a little reminder here what global is and what local is. A global adjustment is something that affects the entire canvas or the entire image. So think about an adjustment layer, curves adjustment layer, gradient m...
ap, gradient that has no blend modes, it's set to the middle or no, I guess I should say no masks on them at all. That is something that is affecting the entire canvas. When we go into a local selection, a local selection is something that is isolating that one very specific spot and that can be done with selection tools in combination with things like masking so that one area is locally edited and not affecting the global canvas as a whole. These are things like cutouts and sometimes these can be even very simple, subtle things that you're gonna see as we go through this presentation so this right here is what I call power house editing. When you can make a selection, you can make a mask for it, you can add blend if to it, you can add blend modes to it, you can add opacity to it, you have all kinds of possibilities for one simple and single layer in your photograph that allows you to do so much and there are a lot of programs and plugins out there that do allow you to do selections but not many of them do 'em quite as well and quite as easily as Photoshop, especially when we start to get into things like select and mask. So here is a background layer and with this background layer, I can then put anything I want on top of this background layer and I'm gonna do that with things like selections so here is a photograph of my wife where the background is transparent around her head and I want to put any background behind her. Now if you saw the before image of this, it was taken in my basement with one light next to her, with a power outlet behind her head and the windowsill right above her head and it doesn't look very attractive for the shoot but you know, I didn't have a big studio at the time, I didn't have any capabilities to do that so instead I just took her portrait, put it on top of that background and made it a more flattering portrait for her instead of it being in my basement studio, if you want to call it that. But what you can see is that we still have a nice edge and you can still see hair, you can still see what you would normally see in a regular photograph, it's just a very nice, clean selection. Here's another opportunity where you can use selections. This is in Yosemite, looking in tunnel view, looking down tunnel view, gorgeous morning to shoot, the only problem was we didn't have a very good sunrise, nothing beautiful was happening but I had a good quality image that I could use there. If you look at the top of this image, it's all a very white, blown out kinda bright sky. Typically this would be a photograph that you'd be like you know what, I'm just gonna dump it, I'm just gonna trash it but if you have clouds from another image, which in my defense, these clouds were also taken in Yosemite about five hours later, we can then transpose these clouds into this image and make it a little bit more attractive. We need to combine these things in multiple ways though, we can't just apply that sky there and think that everything's gonna be you know, peaches and cream, we have to make it look like they're gonna blend together, that light is gonna match so it's not just take that cloud and just put it in the background there. Now many people have reservations about doing things like this but the idea is that if I waited long enough, those clouds could be there, right? Okay, we'll just call it that, there's your justification, if you waited long enough, you'd have those clouds. So you don't need to throw away a good image like this just because the clouds are bad. Just take cloud photos and put them in there and I've included five cloud photos in this pack that you can download with this course so if you don't have clouds, you can go ahead and use some of mine to transpose them into some of your images that might not be as great as you'd want them to be. Another thing, this is a photo in San Francisco of a bridge, I think that's rather popular, Golden Gate bridge and I like the photo but it just didn't have the feel that I wanted to get out of it so I used selections in a different way. I didn't use selections in a way that I took the sky out and replaced it with a different sky. I used selections for the dark areas in the image, the mid tones in the image and the highlights in the image to push and pull them individually so that I could separate those highlights, mid tones and shadows in my photograph on masks through selections. It's a lot easier to do than you would think. And the result is something a little bit more like this so here was our before, here's our after. Very subtle application but separating the highlights, mid tones and shadows in the image to go ahead and segregate those areas so that I can edit them individually on curve's adjustment layers. So selections don't necessarily have to be used to make, to pull the sky away from an image or to separate a foreground from a background in say a portrait or something like that, they can be used even in subtle ways like this. So we're gonna go ahead and hop into Photoshop and we're gonna start with the absolute basics of some of the selection tools that you have available to you in Photoshop.