Complex Selections: Furry, Fuzzy, and Hairy

Lesson 1/12 - Color Range Selection on Smoke in Photoshop


Complex Selections: Furry, Fuzzy, and Hairy


Lesson Info

Color Range Selection on Smoke in Photoshop

So here's an example of that that I thought of as far as something that would be challenging to perform. So the image on the right is the original, and I wanted to remove the child from that picture and put it on a simpler background, and if you look at how complex this top area is, it's got a lot of furry, fuzzy and harry stuff on it and that's going to be challenging to deal with, especially I'm not sure over here if this is the case, but especially if this is anywhere near the color of the background, then we get more and more complicated. And here you see how the furry, fuzzy and harry parts overlap multiple colors in the background, both bright and dark, and that creates more challenges because that means if the edge of the hair is partially see through, well, it partially sees through dark and partially sees through two bright and other areas. So what we're going to be doing here is first we'll start off with some simple examples to try to get justin overall sense for how can you...

deal with things that are furry, fuzzy and harry, and then we'll look at what are the special instances where when you've tried that initial technique, you run into some issues to get it to blend with the background? What are some special things we can do? And we'll just go for a long as we have time because we could go all day on this and so it's just kind of a progression from the last class I did if you happen to not be in the last class I had one that was quick selection tips, which was just a variety of selection tips and we just progressed from here so let's take a look first this one I didn't get a chance to finish the last class, so why don't we do it? Because it's not furry fuzzy or harriet smokey and so smoke is another challenging energy think so. First, I'm going to repeat what I did previously to select the skydivers that are here, and what I did is I used the lasso tool and lassoed loosely around this object just so that the next thing that I do I do on lee thinks about that area and doesn't think about the rest of the picture. Then I switched to the magic wand tool and with the magic wand I put my mouse inside of that selection on top of the area that I didn't need I didn't need the sky and when you use a selection tool if you hold down the shift key, you'd add their selection, making it larger. If you hold down the option qi, which is all time windows, you'll take away from it, and in this case I want to remove the sky, so I hold on the option key with a magic wand to ally then clicked in it took away the color that I had clicked on to get rid of it and made my selection smaller. Uh, I'm gonna do the same thing to get the other skydiver go back to my lasso tool, and right now, if I were to draw a lasso around this other skydiver, the problem is it would replace the selection already have because any time used the lasso tool when you initially click, it gets rid of any selection that was already there, so to prevent that from happening right now, hold down the shift key shift means add to a selection, and therefore it won't get rid of the selection is already there, then I'll go to my magic wand once again, I'll hold down the key that takes away from things, which is optional tum windows, and I'll click on the blue sky within that selection to say, get rid of that, and if we get too much like that, where we still have some stuff left over, just do it more than once on the sky, it might have meant that the area I clicked on was a glob of noise and wasn't didn't truly represent the color of the sky, or it could just be the sky vary in brightness a bit, and I had to give it more than one shot of of telling it to take away from my selection. So we have those, too. Now, I would like to get our spoke the tool that I'm gonna use to get the smoke is first off, the mindset is the smoke is one color in that color is not found anywhere else that I don't want selected it's found in the sky divers there's, yellows, but I want those areas selected there's nothing in this image that I don't want selected that contains that yellowish color, so I'm going to use a feature and photo shop that's designed to isolate one particular color, then that is called color range and it's found under the select menu. Now, usually, if I were to use color range, though, I think the selection already have would cause it to only think of those areas and wouldn't think about the rest of the picture. So what I'm going to do is when I go to the select menu and I choose color range before I click on the menu, I'm gonna hold on the shifty the shift key right now is telling photoshopped whatever it is I do next with this selection, you should do it toe add to the selection our half so hold down shift. I choose color range and only after color range shows upto alecko shift. So now it already knows that it's adding in color range there are three I droppers over here and the one on the left is active by default. I don't have to click on it, it's already going, and that is just waiting for me to click on my picture and tell it what, colored select. So I'm gonna look at the smoke and I'm gonna look for the area that has the most vivid color within the smoke and I'll move my mouse onto that area and click then there's. A preview in that preview is actually right here. Do you see a tiniest area in here? That's got little white specks? Well, that is what it would select. Um, usually you can switch here between selection and image selection means previewed the results. I'm going to get where areas that are whiter, selected, or is that a black or not in image would show the picture it just happens to be that on mac, if you hold on control, it temporarily switches. Between those two and for me to zoom up on my screen the way I do make it easier to see things I have to hold on control. That's why the preview was changing without me telling you what I was doing just so you know in a mac, if you hold on the control key and use two fingers on the track pad that's here on my laptop or if you had a scroll wheel in your mouse, you zoom in, zoom out on your screen, it's just built into the mac and so that's what I do if you ever see museum up like this so I've clicked on the most vividly colored area, the smoke it has given me a slight preview, which means it would select the tiniest little area that smoke. Then I'm in a next switch to the eyedropper that's got the plus sign on it. With that means is if I stayed in the other one and I clicked on my picture again, it would be as if it was my very first click on the picture it all it would do it say this is the color I want to select, and it would have ignored the last place I clicked on. I'd say oops I didn't mean to click there I want here instead, but if I go to the one with the plus sign, it doesn't cancel out any of the previous clicks I've made instead it says, okay, I want the areas have already clicked on, but now you want to add these additional colors to that range that were selecting that makes sense so that's why I needed to switch to the middle one I can't stay in the left and now what I'm going to do is just click within the smoke wherever I see the most density of the smoke, meaning where I don't see blue sky showing through the smoke and so right here I don't really see blue sky showing through saw click and you see how it just expanded the range that is thinking about right here I might not see much blue sky showing through so I click and I'm only going to do that five or six different spots in all that's doing is educating photoshopped how much does the smoke vary in color? It doesn't matter that they're widely dispersed around the image. It just matters that this is what the color of the smoke is like and I'm trying to avoid places that's where I see a lot of blue sky showing through because that would tell it to select things that have a lot of hints of blue sky so I'll just do that a few times, but I made sure I switched to the eyedropper that had the plus sign on it before doing so. Then we have one of my favorite features on lee because of its name usually photo shop has these lame technical names to everything, but here fuzziness, fuzziness, they could have called it tolerance that would be the typical, namely news, but somebody in here had a sense of humor and put in fuzziness, fuzziness means how much can it vary from the colors I've clicked on? If I bring fuzziness all the way down, you'll find the preview below will be very limited in what it would select, because now it's only gonna select things that are almost identical to the colors I clicked on. As I bring fuzziness higher, it can vary it, khun select things a little brighter, a little darker, a little bit off in color, and what I want to do is find the highest fuzziness setting that gives me no sky because I don't want any part of the sky, so I'll just crank fuzziness and when I get up there, can you see this area here is not quite black says if it's going to give me part of the sky in my selection, so lower fuzziness until that part of the sky turns black. Maybe about there and I can't self other parts are smudges on my screen or if they're really showing up on mine, but I would rather dirty screen here, so I'm thinking about there and therefore I think we've isolated the the smoke from the sky quite a bit, and then I'm just going to click, okay? And now we have our smoke and we have our skydivers. The only reason we have both is that I held shift at the moment I went in to choose color range, so it knew that color rain should add to what I already have instead of starting with what I had and just making it less of what's in there. Now, I don't know how good this looks because we have to put it on new background of some sort, so what I'm going to do is, uh, I could delete the background by selecting inverse hitting to lead, but I really would rather not, because deleting the background makes it so I can easily make changes if I notice that not looking good later, so I usually use a layer mask later. Mask is something that's not permanent that'll hide the background without actually deleting it, and in older versions of photo shop, I would have to double click on the layer called background to change its name. Before I could add a layer mask, but if you have photoshopped cc, you can add a layer, master the background and it will simply rename it for you. It just takes out of step, same end result, and so at the bottom of my layers panel there is an icon looks like a circle inside of a rectangle that's the layer mask icon I'm gonna click that, and when I do it's going to transform my selection into a mask that's attached to this layer, so watch my layers panel, we'll click on the leather mask icon and there's our mask, and so now the selection went away because it turned into that thing that's attached to this layer. And now why don't we see if we can find it a different background to put this on and actually don't know that I have a sky in here, but I think I have one from the last class I taught we could put him on this. I don't know that we big enough, so we'll probably have to scale it up, but put it in there. I'm going, teo do free transform to scale it. It looks like I've scale it down, uh, and there's a trick when you do free transform if the image you're trying to scale or rotate is much larger then the document that you are working in after you choose free transform, you can type command zero that's control zero in windows and it will zoom out until you can see the handles that's all somebody in the audience just went awesome, and I know that exact feeling, okay, now I'm gonna drag it so it's underneath, uh, get under there we go. So now you can see how we've isolated the smoke in the sky divers, and it doesn't look too bad there aren't more we could do to this. One thing you could do is we have a laywer mask here we're going to cover layer amass more in a different class because I have one dedicated to layer mass, but for now, let's look at some of the basics because we didn't need to work with him quite a bit with using hair. Uh, so when you have a layer mask, you'll have an attached to your layer in any part of the layer mask that is black hides the layer. Any part that is white allows layer to show up, and if you have a shade of gray, it will allow the layer to partially show up each the equipment lowering the opacity setting on the layer but only in that spot and there's a bunch of things you could do with the layer mask you can hold down the shift key and click on it and they're layers panel just right on the layer mass thumb now and that will disable it so nothing is being hidden now you see the full image and I just shift clicked on it again to turn it back on, you could also hold on the option key alton windows and click on the layer mass thumbnail again and I'll let you see the whole thing and that's useful because sometimes you'll notice that there's some residue and on this in which I can see residue in fact I got quite a bit of the sky so it looks like my dirty screen is not quite a studies I thought the image but there are some areas in here that don't look black and so this is just a great school picture. Any tool that would work on a great scale picture could be used to adjust this that means filters, adjustments like levels and brightness and contrast and all that kind of stuff. And so what I might do in this particular case is adjusted with levels in levels the slider in the upper left forces areas to black in the history graham shows you what you have right now so if you look at the bar chart that's known as the history ram this thing and you compare it to this bar that's right down here the bar charts just telling yu, do you have any of these things in your mask? If there's a bar on the bar chart, then we have the shade that's right below that in our mask, the higher the lines are in the bar chart, the more space it takes up. So you see these really tall lines right here, that means that shades that are in this general brightness range take up a lot of space. I'm guessing that's our blackish background. This thing forces areas to black. And if I pull it to the end of that, those tall lines I'm guessing that'll make the background go black uh, let's, see before so that could clean it up. If I pull in the opposite side, it would force more areas toe white and you'd see more of the smoke getting more dense and dense, which make more and more of it show up. And if I grab the middle slaughter that's going to control everything in between black and white, kind of brightening or darkening it so that controls the transition. The edge second, thin it out were thickened it up a bit that's best to be done when you're looking at the picture instead of the mask because it's easier to teo see the results of it, so click okay and if there was any weird stuff in here, sometimes you find it it's, like a sensor dust speck or something that just happened to show up in here. You just paint on it to change it. So remember, the way I get on got in here to view. The mask is the same way. I'm going to stop doing the mask, which is to hold on the option. Key. Ultima windows in clique within the layer, mass thumbnail on my layers panel, click here ago. He and so let's, try adjusting levels were viewing like this, because I think the middle slider could be useful. Then you see how I can control kind of the transition or the semi, uh, transparent areas. Find, too now.

Class Description

Complex textures can be a challenge for image editors – but they don’t need to be. Join Ben Willmore for a guide to working with furry, fuzzy, and hairy textures in Photoshop.

You’ll learn how to isolate complex objects from their backgrounds and tackle hair, fur, and other difficult image textures. You’ll also explore ways to refine your work to get professional-quality, sophisticated images every time.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2



Selections have always been my nightmare, Ben Willmore is a Godsend. His easy to comprehend teaching method and techniques make learning fun and the lessons taught stick. I now own others in his lineup of classes with more on my wishlist. Thank you Ben for making Photoshop Selections less daunting and complicated than it can sometimes be and thank you Creative Live for having one of the best teachers out there. I highly recommend this course to any and all.

Cheryl Bouffard

Love Ben Willmore's classes. Explanations I understand and can follow easily. Thank you.