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This chapter is from the book

Selecting Large Areas

It's often necessary to select a large part of the picture, such as the sky, so that you can darken its color or otherwise change it without changing the rest of the picture. Figure 3.10 shows a picture with a lot of sky and a very complicated object sticking up into it. There are gaps between the branches and leaves, and some of the highlights on the flowers are close to the color of the sky.

You can download this picture from the Sams Web site mentioned in the Introduction. Look for crabapple.jpg. This file will open in both PC and Mac versions of Photoshop.

To select the sky in this picture, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the Magic Wand.

  2. Set the Tolerance in the Tool Options bar to 20, as shown in Figure 3.11. This enables you to select only similar shades of blue. Be sure that Contiguous is not selected so that you can pick up the blue patches between the leaves.

  3. Figure 3.10Figure 3.10 Selecting just the sky will be difficult.

    Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 You can set the Tolerance anywhere from 0 to 255.

  4. Click the Magic Wand on a typical piece of blue (see Figure 3.12).

  5. Figure 3.12Figure 3.12 You might need to make several selections to include all of the sky.

  6. Hold down the Shift key and select additional pieces of sky and cloud until you have it all.

  7. Look carefully at the selected areas. Have you selected bits of blue or white that aren't part of the sky? Change the tool to the Lasso, and press Option/Alt while you draw a line around pieces of the image that you want to deselect. You might have to do this several times.

  8. Now you can proceed to change the color of the sky, press Delete to remove it, or do whatever else you intended. Figure 3.13 shows the image with the sky completely gone.

Figure 3.13Figure 3.13 The entire sky is removed.

Find another picture with a lot of sky and practice this yourself. It's not difficult. Remember, if you select more sky (or whatever) than you intended, Undo will deselect the last portion selected, leaving the rest of the selection active.

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