Adobe Photoshop Tutorial. Copyright Michael B. Karbo.

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    The magic wand’s sensibility plus a little lasso

    The magic wand works by selecting areas in the picture where the color tone is the same as the area where you clicked.

    The tool can be adjusted with the tolerance parameter, which can be set between 0 and 255. At the 0 value the sensitivity is at minimum; the tool only finds pixels with identical color tone. At the maximal tolerance the whole picture is selected, and that is useless also.

    The tolerance default value is 32, and that is the one you just tried.

    1.   If necessary remove the selection with Control+d.

    2.   Enter the value 60 in the Tolerance field in the settings line:

    3.   You usually have to experiment to find the right value. But 60 should be suitable in this situation. Try for yourself to click on the flower.

    4.   The edge will be selected perfectly, but in the middle of the flower some areas are not selected. That is because the color tones are very different from the while flower petals. Therefore the magic wand has not selected them.

    5.   So choose a different selection tool, which is better to include the last selection. Press the shortcut letter l, which activates the Lasso selection tool:


    6.   Then hold the Shift- key down (to expand the existing selection). Then start dragging a ring around the flower:

    7.   Release the Shift- key and finish the lasso selection by letting the two ends connect.

    8.   As soon as you relese the selection tool, the whole flower is selected!

    Remove the background

    Now we need to remove the background, since we want to see the flower only. You do that by inverting the selection, that is reversing the selected and non-selected parts of the picture:

    1.   You still have the selection around the flower. Now choose menu items Select --> Inverse:

    2.   You could also have used the shortcut Shift-+Control+I (as also can be seen in the menu above).

    3.   Press Delete to clear the selection. The flower is now isolated on a white background – smart, right?

    4.   Remove the selection with Control+d. Save the picture with Control+s. You will be working more with that in the coming exercises.

    Figure 21. The flower is completely isolated.

    Remove the background

    You now have to build additional layers in the flower picture. The individual layers are going to be partially transparent relative to each other, and you need to start by giving the flower a transparent background:

    1.   You still have flower1.psd on the screen. The flower is isolated allright, but it rests on a white background. That needs to be deleted. So activate the Magic Eraser Tool:

    2.   This eraser is good for removal of large solid colored surfaces. Click once in the white area. Voil --> , now the background became transparent. The checkered pattern indicates transparency:

    3.   Notice that the layer name changes from Background to Layer 0:

    4.   Now doubleclick in the layer name (as above), and rename the layer to flower Enter:

    5.   Save the picture with Control+s.

    Layer upon layer

    Now you need to insert a layer, which will be used for background.

    1.   Open a new layer, (use the shortcut Control+Shift-+n) and name it bg1.

    2.   You are going to make a new backgrund, and you use the Gradient Tool for this purpose. That produces color borders with smooth transitions. Use the Swatches palette to select dark blue and a lighter blue for fore- and background color respectively:

    3.   Then click on the Gradient Tool button in the tool box:

    4.   Then click on the Linear Gradient button in the settings line:

    5.   Make sure that the ”bg1” layer is selected in the layer palette. Now you need to make a background with transitions. That is done by dragging a line in the picture. Click with the mouse somewhere in the left side of the picture and drag the line across to the right:

    6.   Release the mouse button. Now you get a beautiful graduated background. Only it hides the flower.

    7.   So reverse the sequence of the two layers (as described in figure 15 on page 22.

    8.   Save the flower picture again!

    Background number two

    You need to make yet another background. Here you will use another of Photoshop’s many gradients.

    1.   Hide the flower layer by clicking on the eye by the layer button.

    2.   Select the bottom layer bg1:

    3.   Make a new layer (with Control+Shift-+n), and name it bg2.

    4.   Now you need to activate the gradient tool. Click on the small arrow to the right of the gradient window in the settings line:

    5.   Now you can choose from many different gradients. In the previous exercise you used a gradient that is called foreground-to-back-ground. But as you see, there are many other possibilities. Choose the fourth gradient in row 2:

    6.   Use the same procedure as described above to make a rainbow background (this time drag a diagonal line).

    7.   You see a bright rainbow but nothing else, since the layer covers the underlying layer:

    8.   If you want to see the underlying layer, you need to change the opacity. Reduce the opacity for the layer bg2 to about 50%:

    9.   Then make the flower layer visible again by clicking on the layer’s eye in the layer palette. Now you see the flower on a really bright background, which really is a mix of two underlying layers.

    10. The flower colors are a bit tame. So select the Flower layer (if it is not already selected). Choose menu items Image --> Adjustments --> Auto Color (which can also be activated with the shortcut Control+Shift-+B):

    11. That is an auto function which quite often improves a picture’s colors. It also works here; the flower colors become clear and bright:

    12. Save the picture with Control+s, and close it with Control+w.

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