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Using the Quick Selection Tool in Adobe Photoshop CS5

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If the area you want to select has well-defined borders, instead of using a lasso tool, try using the Quick Selection tool. In this excerpt from Photoshop CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas show you how.

The Photoshop features we’re going to discuss next — the Quick Selection tool, Magic Wand tool, and Color Range command — create selections in a more automatic way than the marquee and lasso tools. With these tools, the work of detecting the color boundaries is done for you, and the resulting selections tend to be very precise.

If the area you want to select has well-defined borders, instead of using a lasso tool, try using the Quick Selection tool. Rather than tediously tracing a precise contour, with this tool, you merely drag across a shape and stand by as it detects and selects the shape’s color boundary. You can push the resulting selection outward to include an adjacent color boundary or inward to make it smaller.

To use the Quick Selection tool

  1. Click a layer.
  2. Choose the Quick Selection tool quick-selection.jpg (W or Shift-W).
  3. On the Options bar:

    Click the New Selection button replace.jpg to replace any existing selections with the one you’re about to create (or press Ctrl-D/Cmd-D to deselect).

    Use the Sample All Layers check box to control whether you want the tool to detect color boundaries on just the current layer or on all layers.

    Check Auto-Enhance for a smoother, more refined selection edge.

  4. To choose a brush diameter, Alt-right-click-drag/Control-Option-drag to the left or right or press ] or [ , then drag within the area to be selected.A The selection will expand to the first significant color or shade boundary that the tool detects. The selection will preview as you drag, and will become more precise when you release the mouse.
  5. Do any of the following optional steps:
    • To undo the last click or drag of the Quick Selection tool, press Ctrl-Z/Cmd-Z.
    • To save any kind of selection to an alpha channel, see page 160.
    • To clean up a Quick Selection, you can use another selection tool, such as the Lasso. To refine the selection, see page 161.
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