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Quick Selection Tips

Lesson 8 of 13

Precise Selection on Handwritten Text

Ben Willmore

Quick Selection Tips

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

8. Precise Selection on Handwritten Text

Lesson Info

Precise Selection on Handwritten Text

Well, let's, see what else we could do with quick mask? Why this? This is a scanned image. My wife, karen hand lettered, and I want to get this selected, so we have a precise selection of this, and I want this election to be overly precise I wanted so if she has these tiny little, you know jake he's on the edge, I want to keep them in. The problem is the most immediate way you might think of selecting this is using something like the magic wand tool or the quick selection tool and just clicking on the area surrounding it because it conceal ect things that are very similar and right now, it's missing the areas in the middle, like of the letter a and stuff you could hold down the shift key and you could click to get those openings, and then if you want right now, I could try to hit the delete key to remove the background well, first off, when you're working on a layer called background, you can't have any empty areas, any transparent areas, so if I hit the delete key would just fill it w...

ith my background color, which you just filled with white I don't want that if I double click on the name of the background, though, I could change it like its spell and now if they hit the delete key, it can truly delete things because telling the background layer where you can't have that transparent stuff so I hit the lead and you might think that that great hey, we did our job although we didn't get the cake um but the problem is the edge of the original image was not one hundred percent crisp, it wasn't one hundred percent black touching one hundred percent white with no transition. Instead, there was the tiniest bit of softness on that edge, and so if he used a technique like this where you do magic wand and hit the lead, the problem is if I then dragged this on top of another picture or in this case to make it more obvious I will put a solid color behind it. I'll go to the bottom of my layers panel and I'll create a solid color layer that's just a layer full of a color I'll put something in there and my layers panel I'm gonna drag it so it's underneath so drag under and can see what's happening on the edge. You can see some of the old papers still in there and that's because it had a a transition there where it slowly faded out over a few pixels in our selection tool was not able to get that so let's see how we could do this in a better way I'm gonna reverted to get back to the original, and we'll look like at a couple different methods we could use first let's not worry about that edge and let's just say I'm a lazy person and I didn't want to have to click in the side of the letter a the peace that the river where it didn't get that inner part. Well, what I could have done is make a selection with any tool to just educate photo shop as to what I want. Then I can go to the select menu and there's a choice called grow grow means make my selection larger but only include color similar what I already got before I do that, let me actually select inside the letter deed show you select, grow, but you notice the grow could only select one unbroken chunk of the image it couldn't leap over the black lines there containing that area. Well, if you wanted to leap over lines and be able to select things everywhere in your document instead of areas that touch where your original selection was, we have something similar it's called similar similar does the exact same things grow, which means take this election already have and get things that are similar to it, but unlike grow where it's one unbroken chunk starting where your selection wass similar looks across the entire document and finds everything that's similar to that. So now we have the inside of the cake and all that kind of stuff. This is one of those features that uses the tolerance setting in the magic wand tool, so when it grew, it grew, but with a tolerance of thirty two, meaning they could select things that are a little bit brighter, a little bit darker than we had selected in the way this works would have changed if I change the tolerant setting to the magic want just so you know, all right, but I want something better because we would still have the same problem on the edge where if we deleted the background, put something new behind it, we'd still have the edge, not perfectly to find. So now, let's, do this and get a perfect edge. Remember quick mass mode remember how I could have a selection? I could type the letter q and when I'm in quick mass, modi could paint like this, and if I type cue again, that modified my selection, correct? Well, let's do that, but before we do let's first, copy this image. Now, if I go to the edit menu and try to choose copy, it'll be great out to begin with because it needs to know what party you're in this to copy. So before I can choose copy, I'm going to select all and that just tell us, it's a copy everything, so select all, then copy, then I'm going to type a letter q. When I type of letter q, though we're not going to see the red show up because red usually shows up where there's nothing selected, and right now, everything selected so it's not going to have any space to put red in, but it doesn't mean we won't be in quick mask mode, so I'm going to type a letter. Q. We're in quick mask and now, instead of coming in here in painting to modify my selection what's paces picture I'm just going to go to the edit menu and choose paste and that's going to paste our picture in it's kind of hard to sikhs it's a red over light, but wherever we had dark stuff that turns into the red overlay wherever we had bright stuff that turns into where we didn't have the red over, but it's no different than us painting this in with the brush tool it's just we need to put something in there now. The problem was the paper that's there had texture to it, so it wasn't truly white and the drawing the text that's there wasn't truly black it didn't scan in his black and if we want those areas to be completely defined we need to adjust this so I'm going to go over here into adjustment will use levels and that's going to adjust what's in the quick mask when you have a graphic like this one let's say it's a logo or your signature you're always going to find that when you adjust it with levels there will be two humps two very distinct tops and if you move the upper left slider to at least the center if not a little beyond the center of one hump and you move the upper right slider to at least the center if not just a bit beyond the center that what it's going to do is make it so this area where we used to have paper texture the paper texture has been wiped out it's been adjusted all the way up to white and where we had our text it's been adjusted until it's either black or really close to black but all I did is I pull in the outer sliders and levels until they're at least beyond the center those humps click ok and now I'm going to type a letter q to turn off quick mask and we have a selection but this election is better than the one we had when we use things like the magic wand tal because when you something like the magic one tool an area easy, they're going to be one hundred percent selected were not selected at all there's no real transition in there with this technique, the edge of our selection is gonna have the same edge quality as whatever picture we paste it in there. So if the picture we pasted in there had a really blurry edge somewhere, we're looked like a shadow let's say it will still have that same edge quality in the selection, so this election will fade out just like the edge of that shadow faded out it's kind of weird to think about, but before we get a question, let me do one other thing and, uh, we'll finish this, then we'll take questions in a second. Now if I already hit delete right now, the problem is we could still have a little hint of the old background in there. I want to do it in a way where we'll have no hint of the old background whatsoever and here's how we'll do that right now we have the white areas selected, and I can tell that's the case because I can see the marching ants on the edge of our picture, which indicates that we have the area and here I'm going to go to the select menu choose inverse to get the opposite so now I don't see them our chance at least on this edge but instead it looks like we just have the text and then instead of thinking about removing the background on this I'm going to think about completely replacing it what I'll do is create a solid color layer and I'll tell it to use black and then I'll throw away the original now there's no hint of the original in this document whatsoever when it comes to the old paper background that was there because the only thing that's in this layer is what's called a solid color layer the only thing this layer can contain is one color the color I pick which is black you cannot under any circumstance contained white because it's a solid color layer it only has one thing in it let's put another one underneath it so we can test it remember that read we had before choose a red and I'll slide this layer underneath and let's zoom up and see if our edge is any better than we originally had if you see any weird stuff on here that's because that weird stuff was in original picture and we could have adjusted it further with levels remember with levels where he pulled in the sliders to at least the middle of a hum apps if we pull them in until we went all the way past the humps, we wouldn't have any of that little residue and I can actually do that. We haven't talked about layer masks, I have a class on layer massive butter shop week here, so if you want to learn about him, you're welcome to ten that class, but for now all adjust this layer mask and I'll just show you, do you see how I just cleaned up that stuff? You learn how to do that kind of stuff in the layer mass class? But now I was able to remove the background on this, get a perfect edge on it and get no hint of the original background because there is no hint of the original picture, the actual layer that was there, we didn't keep that layer, we have a brand new layer that's called a solid color layer, and we just happen to have a selection that was shaped like what was in that picture, so that was kind of a weird thing to do. I'll choose revert in case you want to try it again, but we have a question of that. My question is, does this only work on like two color images like a black and white? Or, you know, close to black or if you had, like a model on a white background would pasting the model on the quick mask also work? You'd have tohave overly simple stuff for this it can work with things like fireworks drawings, logos, that kind of stuff. We can try to make it work with something like this. But what you need is the subject of your photograph to be dramatically different in brightness in the background, where there was no hint of whatever brightness is in the background on the subject. And the problem with the model is if they have a face usually of highlights on the face and you have shadows in the face. And so the face is going to contain a full brightness range. And so whatever is in the background it's going to be contained somewhere in the face. So when we paste the picture in the quick mask mode and we adjust it with levels whatever's, the brightness of the background, he was going to end up not being selected. That means the parts of the faith is that contained brightness level similar to the background, they're also going to be that way. So it's not going to quite work out all that well, in that case, let's, just try it here. If you look at this image, though, I can guess where it's going to mess up. Just look at the brightness of the sky and see if you can find something of the same brightness in the areas of the picture we want to keep. And I see that it probably is in this area here it's probably in this little bright area over there do you notice that so we can try it though I'm going to select all all copy in that I'm gonna type letter q paste is going to face this picture into it and then we need to adjust it and in this case since it's not a logo if it's a logo or a signature or some other graphic you've seen two very obvious humps with a photographic image it looks like a photographic history ram, which means it's not usually a simple but I do see one very distinct hump I'll bring this slider in until it gets to the end of that that's the sky then this one's not as obvious how far you gotta pull it what I'll do is pull it until the red overlay seems to overlap most of the stuff I want to keep in doesn't start showing up in the sky in that I typed cue to turn off quick mask I'm going to end up with a selection it's usually going to be of the bright areas that means the sky like the inverse to get the opposite so now we have some sort of selection on that tree I'm doubting its very good one now we find out I'll use that too put this on its own layer will put something else underneath but I'm not gonna describe how I'm doing that just to make it so you can quickly see the end. That's. The selection of stuff is not that great. We have other tools that were going to use for that stuff. But you can use the same technique for a multicolored logo. You just have to go through the process more than once, where each time you're isolating one particular color.

Class Description

Learn how to take advantage of Photoshop’s powerful Selection tools and take your image editing skills to the next level.

Join Ben Willmore and explore everything you need to know to quickly select complex objects and refine selections in seconds. You’ll learn how to remove complex backgrounds (like trees and other naturescapes), precisely select smoke, and work with translucent objects. You’ll leave this course ready to make much more effective selections.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Ben Willmore - Quick Selection Tips - Reference Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I love learning from Ben Willmore! He has such a friendly, casual style I just love watching him in action. But he never wastes my time, he attacks his topic forcefully, stays focused on his teaching, and I have learned so much watching his videos. Ben is terrific and I strongly recommend this and his other courses on CreativeLive.

Julie Coder

Excellent class! Ben has a very clear presentation style so it's easy to follow along. I appreciate seeing the diverse approaches to selections, and some creative uses as well. Thanks so much!


I am a beginner in PS. I had been struggling with it for about 6 months until I took Ben Willmore's Photoshop 101. I have had many "aha" moments, but still learning. I decided to get "Quick Selections" because I was looking for shortcuts and quicker ways to process my photography. I am only half way through the course and it has already paid for itself in time that it will save me. It has also opened my eyes to greater possibilities in editing. Ben Willmore is an excellent instructor. His style is laid back, but thorough.