There are a huge number of section tools in Photoshop. The method you choose will depend on the kind of object you want to select, whether it’s something simple like a banana, or something more complex like hair.
In this photoshop tutorials for beginners series, I’ll show you five different quick selection photoshop tools of making an effective selection.
This is the easiest way to make a selection, but is only effective if the background you are selecting is one solid colour.
So I recommend this method if your image is a solid object on a blank background, like a product shot.
To do this, first make sure your image is in a layer, just right click on the Background layer, and choose ‘Layer from Background’. Now simply choose the Magic Wand tool, and click on the background.
With the background selected, you can now delete it, and place your new background beneath the object’s layer.
Quick selection tool 2: The Pen Tool
This next photoshop selection method works best if you have a smooth, curved object, with hard edges.
Select the Pen Tool then click, drag in the direction of the edge, and release. Carry on along the edge of your object until you meet up with the path again.
Now choose the Direct Selection Tool. You can use this tool to tidy up your path by clicking on the anchor points and moving them, or adjusting their angle. Once your path is finished, right click on it and choose ‘Make Selection’.
With your object now selected, you can invert the selection and delete the background.
If the object you are selecting has a contrasting colour to its background, you can use the Color Range method to make complex selections like a water splash, easily.
Go to Select > Color Range, then use the colour picker to click on the object. In the example, I clicked on the whitest part of the splash.
Clicking OK will make the selection, then all you need to do is copy the selection and paste it into another image.
The Quick Selection tool in photoshop is great for making simple selections fast, then you can tidy up the selection using the Refine Edge controls.
Drag the Quick Selection brush over the object you want to select – you can decrease the size of the brush to select smaller details. Hold down the alt key to alternate between adding or subtracting from the selection. When you’ve made the best selection you can, go to Select > Refine Edge.
Now you can use the Refine Edge tool to draw along the edges of the selection. Use a large size for leaves, and a smaller brush to trace along harder edges like the tree trunk. You can also tweak the Adjust Edge sliders to smooth, feather, or harden the edge.
When you’re happy with the adjustments, click OK. You can now copy your selection, and paste it onto a new background.
If you want to make a selection of something complex like hair, using channels can be an easy way of doing it.
First click on the Channels palette.
Click on each of the layers to see which has the greatest contrast between the background and the hair. Then duplicate the layer with the best contrast.
With the duplicated layer selected, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast, and bring up the brightness and contrast as high as you can without loosing any strands of hair. Ideally you want the background to be fully white, and the hair fully black.
Now use a black brush to fill in the rest of the models body, and a white brush to whiten any darker areas of the background.
When you’re done, go to Image > Adjustments > Invert to invert the image, then cmd/crtl click on the layer thumbnail to make the selection
You can now hide the layer, and go back to your original RGB layer.
Now you can copy your selection and paste it onto a new background.
Hope this photoshop tutorial for beginner will make it easier for you to learn photoshop.
Matt is a freelance graphic designer from the UK. Visit his blog at Blog.DesignNocturne.com for more tutorials.