Martini Hour 091, In Which We Self-Select for Awesomeness

In my admittedly dilettantish opinion, the essence of nuanced Photoshop work is proper selection. Where our eyes can select, Photoshop falls short, so learning how to speak Photoshop’s language is important. Because whatever you do, retouching, adjusting tone or color, compositing, covering your tracks, embroiling your neighbors in scandals, making great selections makes it better. This week in the dekeLounge, we discuss the pros and cons of all the selection tools. And Deke holds back nothing, in true Deke style. After this not-quite-hour of bourbon-sipping conversation, you will have your head wrapped how everything from the simplest lasso, to the most useless quick selection tool, to the fabulous color range actually works.

Here’s a list of all the tools that make an appearance in this week’s show (and a quick note on Deke’s opinion):

Rectangular Marquee: Great for grabbing large areas at a time, then refining your selection with tools that are better at subtle edges.

Elliptical Marquee: Aside from circles, the elliptical marquee is good for grabbing eyes. Because eyes are often the shape of the intersection of two ellipses.

  • Lasso: Draw around what you want, not very much control.
  • Polygonal Lasso: Good for grabbing irregular areas where you’re trying to navigate around corners and other obstacles but you don’t need any soft edges.
  • Magnetic Lasso: It’s a “fantastically smart” tool based on bezier curves, and it knows its stuff but maddening in its desire to wildly, suddenly jump off the path you’re trying to outline. Great for filling in corners.
  • Magic Wand: Nothing magic about it, it works based on luminance ranges so be careful. Great for grabbing big flat areas. Deke and I find we generally use it for separating black from white when refined edges aren’t necessarily called for. Watch out for the edges, and the antialiasing is not what it sounds like it is.
  • Quick Selection: Nothing quick about it. Good for some things, like fingers according to Deke. Start from the inside and let it spread.
  • Color Range: The Princess Leia of selection tools (yeah, I know, Deke is so odd sometimes. Don’t ask me to explain.) This fine tool is a great replacement for when you think the magic wand should work. But color range is the Magic Wand on Steroids (when it’s not busy dancing in a gold lamé bikini). The results are subtle, using the image to select itself.

Select the Martini Hour for your relaxed graphic discussion quota this week. Deke’s run down on these tools is bound to save you time, money, and headaches. Here’s the regular-quality audio file. You can stream, or for best results, right-click and choose Download or Save. Here’s the high-res version; you’ll want to download rather than stream. And don’t forget our usual plea to subscribe via iTunes.

And cheers to Photoshop which gives us so many ways to grab the brass ring, or whatever else we’re trying to isolate. Until next week!

Next entry:Chuck Joiner Once Again Captures Me on MacVoices

Previous entry:Thursdays with Fridays with Mordy

  • Good

    Good for grabbing irregular areas where you’re trying to navigate around corners and other obstacles but you don’t need any soft edges.

  • unexpected

    WOW a Star Wars reference. Completely took me by surprise.

    Actually it’s kinda magic that the magic tool got the word magic in it, and I think the quick selection tool got its name because finding a name for it was, well, Quick.

  • Repeats on the iTunes version

    hey folks, Hi from England, Though I love the show, I’m sad to report that Martini Hour no 91 on iTunes is a repeat of MH 90, (The “gripes” episode). I’ll catch it from the direct download, but I thought you ought to know.

    Apart from that, keep up the good work, and remember: Drinking ALWAYS helps!



  • Money files

    I had no problem scanning, saving and opening a US currency file. I scanned a dollar bill at 300ppi into Photoshop CS5, saved it as a jpg then reopened it with no problem. Is the problem only with higher denominations perhaps?

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