PS: Magic Wand vs. Quick Selection Tool

As the story goes 90% of Photoshop is making selections.  Well I’m not sure they say that, but let’s go with it for now.  In this and the next couple of posts I’ll discuss the different ways to make selections in Photoshop.  This post discusses the features and benefits of using the Magic Wand and the Quick Selection Tool.  I’m using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.

The Magic Wand and Quick Selection Tool are located 4th tool down in the tool bar. They are nested together because both tools are based on color and tone.

Magic Wand

The Magic Wand selects pixels based on tones and colors. Click on the area you want to select.  To add more to the selection hold down the shift key and continue clicking until you have a complete selection.  A complete selection is accomplished when you have those “marching ants” encompassing everything you want.

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Magic Wand Options Bar

Use the Magic Wand’s Options Bar to fine tune your selection.

  1. The default tolerance of 32 works fairly well. It chooses 16 colors lighter and 16 colors darker than your original click. By increasing the tolerance you increase the range of shades selected.
  2. Anti-aliased smoothes the edge transitions between what is selected and what is not.
  3. Contiguous means select the colors that are adjacent to each other.
  4. Use All Layers means act on all the layers in the document, not just the active layer.
  5. Sample Size indicates how large a sample the tool will use for calculations. Point Sample = 1 pixel. 3 x 3 = 9 pixel square; 5 x 5 = 25 pixel square

Quick Selection Tool

The Quick Selection Tool makes selections by recognizing edges. Quick Selection Tool works like a brush. Click and drag/paint over the area you want to select. To add to the selection hold down the shift key. To delete from the selection hold down the option key. The size of the brush can be adjusted using the left and right bracket keys on the keyboard.

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Quick Selection Tool Options Bar

Use the the Quick Selection Tool’s Options Bar to fine tune your selection.

  1. Select the brush size.
  2. Use All Layers means act on all the layers in the document, not just the active layer.
  3. Auto-Enhance option can produce smoother, higher quality selection edges.

The Select and Mask Option in the Options Bar was added in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.  It combines many selection features and can be used to further fine tune selections.  I will discuss it in a future post.  Choose the tool that best meets your needs.  Happy selecting!



My last final and photo essay presentation in Black and White Film Processing & Printing ended at 10 pm Monday.  I was on the first flight to Amsterdam Tuesday morning at 8am. Whew!   🙂 Amsterdam was not previously on my radar, but what a great city!  Initial impressions were canals on every corner, water everywhere, Tesla taxis, more bikes than cars, state regulated red light district, tall handsome people, cigarette smokers, non medicinal marijuana at coffee shops.  I’ve got to get out more.  🙂

Visiting the Van Gogh museum was a real treat.  It houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world as well as letters to his family and paintings of his contemporaries.  I had forgotten how much I loved the art of 19th Century Europe.  What resonated most with me about Van Gogh was that he started painting late in life after a couple of unsuccessful careers.  He worked assiduously, took art classes, and studied with masters.  He must have painted 50 self portraits!  Hard to believe he only lived 37 years.

Below are some images of the city.


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Alexander Abreu and Havana De Primera

One day I will post about my life as a world renowned concert photographer.  Today, however, I will share the fun I had Sunday, my first gig with an all access concert pass  😀  along with some of the lessons learned. 📝

Concert promoter, DJ Warapo Productions, gave me an all access pass.  Needless to say, I was thrilled!  My first ever!  Doors opened at 8. I expected the show to start at 10:30-11:00, Cuban time. I arrived at 8 with gifts for Alexander and my book for him to sign his picture.  I actually had agonized over which color Sharpie to bring.  ha! I settled on red to match the red shirt he had on in the picture I took at Club Rojo in Havana.  I turned down a pre concert dinner date with the team because I anticipated exchanging gifts and chit chat with the band kickin’ it backstage before the concert began.  Well!

As it turns out, I got there before the band got there.  Second lesson learned.  📝  When they did arrive they went directly on stage.  There was no pre show photo opp and gift exchange. 😏 At the end of the concert backstage was rushed with fans.  Although I had access, after being there for five+ hours I guess I ran out of steam and crawled to my car.  Third lesson learned.  📝. I’ll save my gifts and books for the next tour stop.  #notstalking

I thoroughly enjoyed access to the VIP areas and the balconies.  And I love Alexander’s music.  Images from the show:





Okay, maybe I’m getting a little too carried away with Mayito.  #toughassignment #somebodysgottadoit 😉




Portfolio Show

The Portfolio Show is Saturday!  It has been a grueling semester.  OMG!  I’ve been allocated 6′ of wall space.  I’m displaying these 3 images at 16 x 20.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before, but during the class you produce the following:

  1.  15 image portfolio of same genre, e.g. fashion, lifestyle, product, food, etc.  I chose environmental portraits.
  2. business cards with matching brand/logo
  3. promo pieces with matching brand/logo
  4. matching brand website gallery of 15 images

In addition each week you reported on 3 activities you did that furthered your career as a photographer, e.g. visited a gallery, met with a professional photographer, read a photo book, etc.  You developed an elevator pitch introducing yourself, researched and critiqued 5 photographer’s websites. And submitted 5 art buyers each week.  I did my best.  🙂

Each week your images are critiqued for image strength and consistency of style.  All in the spirit of perfecting your craft.  Ha!  I think I shot 20, 15 barely survived.  Here’s my last image.  It’s beautiful Bria, in her way so cool, bring your dog to work office.


Now to finish my Black and White Printing class.  4 image photo essay is due soon.  I better find out when.  🙂  #keepshooting #sticktothescript

Deadlines looming, still shooting

We’re winding down to the last two weeks; deadlines are fast approaching.  Patti Silverstein will review our images tomorrow and pick the strongest ones.  Next Tuesday chosen images must be printed and matted to be hung in the gallery.  The following Tuesday the portfolio, business cards, and promo piece are due.  “I’m doing my best.  I’m getting through this, I’m in school to learn”!

Below are recent candidates for portfolio.  Adan Alonso introduced me to John Marini, owner of Marini Music in Alhambra.  I’m SO glad he did.  As fate would have it a professional photographer (now drummer) was in the shop who was kind enough to assist me and give me portrait tips.  God is good!


I can always count on DJ Warapo for a photo shoot.  I even have full access to my favorite artist, Alexander Abreu, at a concert Warapo is promoting.  ❤️


After critique of prior Amtrak engineer shot I decided to submit another shot from the session.  We’ll see how that goes. 😊


May’s additions

UGH, school!  I’m in school to learn, not to be persecuted.  (I have to remind myself.)  So to be totally transparent and so I won’t forget, when shooting environmental portraits:

1. Declutter your set.  Unless it contributes to the story, get rid of it.

2. Establish separation between the subject and the background either with depth of field, lighting, composition or something.

3. Employ standard portrait techniques, e.g. Place subjects head against uncluttered area (try that one at home 😀)

4. And of course, tell a story.

Bottom line is minus a couple of exceptions I need to start over.  Piling on my Epson 3880 stopping recognizing ink cartridges so I can’t print.  Not to mention the 2 packs of Arista Lustre I bought have to go back because they don’t have sufficient portfolio weight.  Back to Hollywood mind you.  OMG!  But we trudge on!


New Additions

April 26 additions to portfolio.  Thirteen images and counting.

I will owe a sizable portion of my degree in photography to my friends who have patiently agreed to be photographed again and again.  Even allowing me to intrude into their classroom for this image.  Thanks Cindy!


Jeremy Buck, ladies and gentlemen!  I was thrilled with the opportunity to shoot Jeremy in his home studio.  Singer, songwriter, producer you’ll find on drums, guitar, keys, and more!



Portfolio Additions

Adding images to Environmental Portrait portfolio.

Week 8.  Well, I guess I’m not going to drop.  I  have 11 images (all posted below).  It’s been a experience,  a REAL experience in so many ways.  It’s not quite routine, but the repetition of shooting one type of photo is teaching me a lot.  I developed a routine of contacting subjects, meeting them prior to the shoot to discuss the project, time requirements, expectations then calling the day before to confirm.  I’ve improved analyzing locations(prior real weakness) to include insight/story of the subject as well as composition.  I also am learning to work fast. It’s not like beauty and fashion where you have a model who knows they’re in for a couple of hours of shooting.  I typically ask for 15 minutes of set up and 30-45 minutes to shoot.

Week 8.  I guess I’m not going to drop. I need 4 more images.



Linda Kittrell 2

For some reason Reggae Classics on Spotify is working tonight!  When was the last time you heard Red Red Wine – UB40 or Dawn Penn’s No, No, No You Don’t Love Me?  Buffalo Soldier  🙂  OMG 4 more!