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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 1.56.54 PM
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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 1.55.47 PM
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!

 

Removing Shadows in PS

Next topic is Matching Color and/or Removing Shadows using the Info Palette and Curves.

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.

I love this picture I took of the very handsome John Robinson in Venice, CA.  But he’s too close to the wall casting this ridiculous dark shadow.  My bad!  Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.53.44 PM

To remove the shadow and match the wall color I did the following:

  1. Command J to duplicate background layer.
  2. P, Use pen tool to path out shadow. Double click ‘work path’  to name & save the path.  Convert path to selection and feather it.
  3. I, Use Color Sampler Tool (3rd down of Color Picker tool or eye dropper).  In tools options bar of color Sample Tool choose 3×3 average.
  4. Window->Open to open Info palette.
  5. Drop 2 points in shadow and 2 points on non-shadow wall.
  6. Add Curves Adjustment Layer. Make sure Info Palette and Curves adjustment palette are visible.  You will need both.
  7. Take finger icon from curves adjustment palette and put it on point #1. This indicates where it lies on the curve.
  8. Go to Red Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel 🙂 ) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  9. Go to Green Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  10. Go to Blue Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  11. The shadow area should now match the wall, you may need to add a blank layer above the Curves layer and heal and/or clone to do touch ups
  12. Shift, command, option, E merges layers without flattening them. Helpful for a safety layer and do some tidying up with perhaps a bit of delicate cloning.  (Reminder to myself)

Here’s the workspace and file structure:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.23.29 PM

And after a bit of tidying up the shadow is hardly visible.  🙂

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.35.21 PM