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!

 

sexy, designer fragrances

Done!  What a fascinating semester!  The final assignment was to create a 5 image product portfolio of all new work.  The portfolio was to be stylistically cohesive yet completely separate shoots.  Elements such as similar lighting, subject matter, colors, design and composition shape a cohesive portfolio.

My inspiration – Sexy, provocative, designer fragrances in muted pink, black and white

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Done!  Many, many thanks to my assistant, models, and those who happily lent their shoes, fragrances, cars, boxing gloves this semester.  And to my classmates who held foam core till their fingers cramped.   Also to my ever so supportive squad who motivate me by their high standards and support me every single day.  And my instructor who kept telling me I could do it!  🤓

my playlist this semester:

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-55-05-am

After I set all my foam core on fire,  I’ll get a few days of rest then head off to Cuba!!  😃

Considering car photography?

I never fully appreciated car photography before this assignment. In this post I’ll show you the work that went into creating the image above.

First some lessons learned:

1.  Location. Cars are just super huge shiny appliances like a million toasters or Kitchen Aid mixing bowls.  They reflect whatever is in a one mile radius of them. I could not find in Los Angeles an area that was totally devoid of cars, trucks, poles, trees, houses, people.

2.  Time of day. Only sunrise and sunset will provide the lighting you need.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sunrise.

3.  Turn front wheels so that you see more wheel and less black rubber tire (I forgot).

4.  I also forgot to focus on and highlight identifying features e.g.  wheel caps, bumper insignia, etc.  Next time!  👍

I met my Bentley owner aka BFF at Dockweiler Beach just below the takeoff pattern at LAX.  Sunset was 4:45 we ran off about 40 shots.

The lot was totally vacant except for a huge ass RV, poles, houses are on hill – all reflected in the car.  OMG!

I was happy with the soft reflections from the clouds and the warm sunset colors on the bumper and passenger door.  So here’s our SOOC image replete with dull lifeless sky, reflections of all sorts (including me) in the body, the requisite windshield stickers, cracked passenger side bumper (oops, how’d that happen?), etc.  Let’s see what we can do.

bentley-defects

Really enjoyed Pandora’s Sunday Brunch station while working on this image.

Sherlock Holmes

Oh my, election 2016, Really?  Really?  Just how far back do we have to reach to make American great again?!  Hopefully, not pre Civil Rights legislation.

I’m diverting my attention from the election results by writing this post.  This assignment was about collaboration.  I was paired with a graphic design student and given the task of designing a book cover.  We chose The Book of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle from a list of 6 classic novels.

Believe it or not I’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes novel or seen a Sherlock Holmes film.  God bless YouTube.

If all collaboration projects ran this smoothly the world would be a different place.  We met and shot her husband as author and Sherlock Holmes at the historic fire station across from Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.  I was responsible for the photography and printing.  She chose the location, model, wardrobe and did all the design and layout.  It was wonderful and so easy working with an uber talented graphic designer.  She gave my images real life and I made a new friend.

The shoot was broken up by security because we did not have a permit, but that did not dampen our spirits. We got the cover shot in front of the red door as we were begrudgingly packing up and leaving.

que hora es?

Mid way through the semester 8 more weeks to go.  I think classes should be 8 weeks instead of 16.  Just saying . . .

5th assignment was to shoot a watch using focus stacking.  Huh?  Well if I knew what I was doing I wouldn’t be in school.  Focus stacking is a processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus points to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field (DOF) than any of the individual source images.  Well, here you go.  I took about 25 images (after I got the exposure right)  and used 6 in Photoshop for focus stacking.  Probably could have used more, but I digress.

I’ll be all set the next time I need to shoot a WATCH!  🙂

final-watch-for-blog_sanseri-2

ISO 200, 60 mm Nikon macro, 1/250 sec f/11.  Dynalite strobes and foam core (my new best friend)

The best part is the continued support I get from my instructor who refuses to give up on me.

img_6372_sanseri

24K Magic by Bruno Mars is on repeat!!  “I’m a dangerous man with some money in my pocket . . .”  “Everywhere I go they be like . . .”  “hashtag blessed . . .”  May have to take out a 2nd  on the house to see him in concert!  🙂  Is it me or do I see a little Morris Day and the Time in Mars?

Photoshop Levels Tool

As discussed in the prior post Show Me Your Histograms the tonal range of an image represents the amount of contrast in the image and is determined by the image’s distribution of pixels, ranging from darkest pixels on the far left (blacks) to the lightest pixels on the far right (whites).  One of the ways to adjust the contrast and make color corrections in your photo is the Photoshop Adjustment Tool Levels.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a Photoshop guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a lifelong student studying to understand the concepts that will make me a better photographer.  When in doubt Photoshop Help is the place to go.

Below is an picture of a little boy sitting on the narrow stoop next door to where I was staying in Santiago de Cuba. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to I added a bit of contrast to the image below by using the Levels Adjustment tool.

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Before image:  Straight out of camera image is a bit flat.

Continue reading “Photoshop Levels Tool”

Show me your Histograms

I’ve struggled with the concept of histograms and the associated Photoshop tools, Levels and Curves for quite some time.  This and the next couple of posts will demystify these topics beginning with histograms.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a Photoshop guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a lifelong student studying to understand the concepts that will make me a better photographer.  When in doubt Photoshop Help is the place to go.

What is a histogram?   

A histogram is a bar graph that illustrates how pixels in an image are distributed by graphing the number of pixels at each tone and color intensity level.  The histogram graph looks like a mountain peak, or a series of peaks. The more of a particular tone/color, the taller the peak.

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Example of a Histogram.  X-axis represents number of pixels.  Y-axis represents range of tones.

Continue reading “Show me your Histograms”

Using Refine Edge for hair

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

Let’s change the background and use refine edge to cut out hair.  Before and after images are below:

  1. Path out the portrait inside the lines as close as possible and inside the hair rough.  Make sure Rubber Band is on.
  2. In Paths panel name work path.  Add arm holes if applicable to image.
  3. Make Selection by dragging to pearly necklace icon.  Go back to Layers panel.
  4. Create mask.  This causes background to drop out.
  5. Double click mask – Go to Refine Edge (Mask Edge Button).
  6. Feather clothes 2-3 pixels edge along the edge as shown below:Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.31.59 AM
  7. Close Refine Edge.
  8. Then go back to Refine Edge (Mask Edge Button).   Run cursor around hair with no feathering.
  9. Then add background to file.

Here’s the final image with the new background:

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.34.53 AM

Adding the Oversharpened Skin Look

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

To add the Over Sharpened Skin Look

  1. Complete all retouching first
  2. Then do  SOCE (Shift, Option, Command, E) to create merged layer without losing file structure
  3. On merged/duplicate layer go to Filter->Sharpen->Smart Sharpen.
  4. Choose a setting that makes image look extremely sharpened, OK. g. amount = 500, radius = 1
  5. Change layer’s blending mode to Overlay.
  6. Use Hue and Saturation adjustment layer, desaturate to 0, OK.
  7. Add clipping mask clipped to Hue/Saturation layer to the sharpened layer
  8. Add curves adjustment layer to the top of stack to enhance drama and color

Experiment with various opacities of layers and adjustment layers.

Here’s the before image:

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Here’s the after image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 7.02.21 PM

Adding Diffused Glow in Photoshop

Let’s add some diffused glow to this portrait.  Just in case it’s on the final.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

Diffused glow is filter to improve overall skin tone and complexion without retouching.  I have to remember to use it on metal and light bulbs.

To add diffused glow to portrait:

  1. Complete all retouching first
  2. Then do Stamp Visible of SOCE, (Shift, Option, Command E) to create merged layer without losing file structure
  3. Select white as foreground layer
  4. Select color of shadows as background layer using I – eyedropper
  5. On merged layer go to Filter->Distort->Diffused Glow
  6. Diffused Glow Dialog Box will open up. Settings graininess = 0, glow = 7, clear = 16 (to start)
  7. Add layer mask to duplicate layer. Mask to your desired effect.

Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

Here’s the Diffused Glow dialog box:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.38.59 PM.png

Here’s the final image after the adjusted mask:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

I chose to go pretty faint, but you can adjust the glow to your style.