What is a Selection?
There: that was it. Any questions? hehe.
The sky is selected with the magic wand tool in this case. You can
right click and select inverse to capture the mountain range as a
To take it further: Selections...you cannot produce graphic design without them essentially. A selection
is something that you can create from one layer or image to produce a localized
effect (image adjustment, filter..) on a portion of the layer. However,
more often you will create a 'selection' for the purpose of making it another
layer where you can then do further changes to it and modify it as it's own
You make selections essentially to isolate a certain part of an
original image to make changes to it. You will make selections a lot in
graphic design when you want to "cut out" a person (horse, cigar, car, etc.) and
put them onto another document for part of a design. Here I am dragging a
'selection' (of the girl) onto another image with the move tool.
For example, say you have a family picture with a straggler at the edge of
the photo but you want to move them closer to the rest of the family, you would
create a selection around that person, put them onto their own layer (layer via
cut or copy). Once a selection you have created is on it's own layer, you
can move it around with the move tool (V) as it has now become independent.
Now you can move the straggler closer to the rest of the family. You can
now use options such as copy and paste or the clone stamp tool to repair the
area that is left behind.
Here's another example to help you better understand what a selection is.
Let's say that you have a picture of a building but you want just that building
onto another document so you can put a gradient background behind it. What
you would do is make a 'selection' of the building (using any of many different
methods taught in the
Basic Photoshop DVD Training) and then you would drag the building
selection with the move tool onto another document (you could also Copy: File:
New: Edit: Paste). Now you have the building separated from the rest of
the original image because you "made a selection" and in this case you moved it
to another document. Now you can create a sunset gradient or whatever you
want to do on the underlying background layer (you may have to create a new
layer to do this).
You can also apply filters or image adjustment to "selected" areas on a layer
while leaving the "unselected" area of the layer untouched. Be careful
when doing this if you don't make a copy of the original layer or you could be
stuck with it (without a snapshot of history). Remember that you
create selections to 'isolate' a desired part of the image (layer) that you want
to be independent. Once it is 'independent' you can do an assortment of
things but most importantly as a graphic designer, you can put it into a
deliberate design of your own vision. You can have many layers of
'selections' that you have carefully made and you can harmonize them into a
beautiful graphic design.
There are dozens of ways to get a perfect selection (depending on the
situation) and is perhaps the longest time consuming method for even
professional Photoshop users to master because it varies with each new image and
the possibilities for error are greater with more complicated selections.
The new extract tool works really well for complicated selections, but with
patience and dedication you can become quite well at making selections without
too much effort.
Now you should understand what a selection is and how vital it is to graphic
design. Now you can focus on getting perfect selections. The art of the
Selection is an advanced and ongoing study which I will continue to cover
throughout your free Photoshop Design education. If you are interested
in covering most of the methods to make a selection you can check out the
Photoshop Designer training package and there will also be free tutorials available for you
throughout the PSDer Experience.
- Article by Orion Williams