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Photoshop Selections

We reckon that, once you've got the hang of layers and mastered selection techiques, you're well on the way to getting to grips with Photoshop.

Every image brings its own unique approach to how to isolate the main object from its background.  Here we look at some of the more common examples.

Bare tree In this tutorial, we'll look at how to isolate a wintry, leafless tree from its background using Channels and Curves.
Silver Car The obvious problem with selecting the car is that the background we wish to isolate is very similar to the target object.  This makes most selection techniques unsuitable.  Here's how we tackle this problem using the Pen Tool.
Image with post This image shows a couple of areas that need cleaning up - the unsightly post in the centre of the image, and the little tree stump in the bottom-right.  We show how Content-Aware Fill can easily achieve this.
Feather Girl Now here's a challenge - a complex subject against a varied background. We use Color Range to separate the subject from this background.
Graffiti on tarmac Normally we'd use the Clone Stamp Tool to get rid of this graffiti. Let's see how well we can clean it up using the upgraded Spot Healing Brush Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS5.
Quick Selection

The ability to select an object in an image to either remove it from its background or isolate the object for specific correction/manipulation has certainly been available in earlier versions of Photoshop forever. The problem people seem to have has always been the quality of the selections. For instance, isolating and extracting flyaway hair on a model from a background is a bane for many if not most people. Some pixels invariably get left behind, background pixels travel with the hair or a combination of both.

With the introduction of Adobe Photoshop CS3 came the addition a truly powerful selection tool that gives the user incredible control over the quality of their selections. Called the Quick Selection Tool, it is found in the toolbar and has been coupled in a group with the Magic Wand. Adobe has recognized the strength of this tool over the wand, so much so that it has given the Quick Selection Tool top billing in the palette (the Magic Wand now resides in the fly out for the two tools).