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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
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Selection Brush Tool

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • Selections & Masks 1:03
    • Selections & Masks
  • Selection Brush Demonstration 1: Landscape 4:36
    • Color Adjustment
    • Painting a Selection with the Selection Brush
  • Selection Brush Demonstration 2: Portrait 14:27
    • Using Selection Brush to View & Correct a Selection
  • Lesson Summary 17:44

Transcription: Selection Brush Tool

Hi, everyone--Mike Brown back with you with another lesson in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 from!0000

We're looking at selections, and in the last couple of lesson, we have gone over the basic selection tools: the Marquee and Lasso tools, as well as the Quick Selection and Magic Wand; showed you how to use them, and showed you how to add and subtract.0007

And, in the last lesson, we discussed feather and how a soft selection edge with a large feather allows you to blend gradually into areas, as well as a narrow, but slightly soft edge allows you to work a beautiful transition on clean areas.0022

During that lesson, we dealt a little bit with showing you masks without describing them.0041

In this lesson, we're going to deal in detail with the Selection Brush, and what selections and masks are and what the difference is, painting a selection and correcting it with the Selection Brush, and how to view and correct the selection with the Selection Brush.0047

Let's get started and talk about selections and masks.0064

Now, if you remember, the Selection Brush tool (which is right here with the Quick Mask and Magic Wand) can either make a selection or a mask, and in the last lesson, you saw me taking existing selections and viewing them as masks.0069

But what is a mask?--let me bring up this particular image, right here, of this young couple, and you will see that what we have here (close out this box) is a series of layers (which we're going to be dealing with), but attached to each layer, notice these black-and-white thumbnails.0085

They look very much like what we were doing in the last lesson.0112

Let's go ahead and go to the Select menu and load a selection that is saved here--Alpha 1.0117

I'll load it, and there you see the crawling ants for the sky.0123

If I highlight the Selection Brush and go to Mask, it turns that into a red protected area with the rest of it--the sky--clear, and that is because I have designated the color of the protected area as red.0128

I can change that very easily to black, just by changing the color, and I can also alter the opacity.0148

So, there you have what you saw in the last lesson, when I would turn a selection from a selection into a mask; it makes it the black, and in this case, clear, representation.0158

You actually see what is there.0172

Now, a traditional mask itself (which is what we have over in the other side--let me get them back)--you see these as black and white--different ways to view with the tool; you just get the masked area.0175

But, right here, if I take this particular one, which looks very much like the sky in white; Option/Alt, click on the mask thumbnail--there you get the actual, complete mask.0192

Black is protected; white is the active area.0208

If I go back, Option/Alt+click, there you have it; we can load that selection, because the black and white mask is a saved selection--it just happens to be attached to that specific layer.0212

Command on a Mac/Control on a PC, and click the mask thumbnail; there you have the selection.0225

If I wanted to view it as a mask, all I do is go in the Selection Brush tool to Mask, and there it is again, but it leaves the selected area--active area--clear--the only difference between the two.0234

Selection is a mask that is not attached to a layer; when you attach it to a layer, it is now a mask.0248

All right, very simple--so that takes care of defining.0257

Selections and masks: what is the difference? Basically, they are exactly the same thing, with the exception that a mask is attached to a layer.0264

All right, let's talk about painting a selection with the Selection Brush.0276

We're going to take a look at this image right here, which I took up in the Northern California area.0281

We're going to do normal work as we go along, and then add to that the painting the selection.0290

Right now, it's a raw file open; it needs a little help, so (we've duplicated the background layer) we're going to go to the Enhance menu and apply our auto controls to see if it helps.0297

Remember, it helps some images and doesn't others.0308

Let's see what happens here: Enhance, Auto Levels--a little bit; color came up; brightened up; a little bit of help.0311

That looks pretty good; we'll remember that.0319

We'll try the contrast: a little bit, but the color didn't come up that much--we'll undo that.0322

We'll try color correction: a little bit on the red side, not too good.0329

Let's go the Adjust Smart Fix--I bypassed the Auto Smart Fix; we'll just use the slider.0334

We'll start putting it in, and look what is happening--hey, it's doing a good job here; more--more is better; there we go!0339

Let's undo that and redo that; that did a pretty good job; we could use a little more contrast, so let's go ahead and take Levels and just snap it, just a little bit, and the contrast, just a hair, and open it back up.0347

Basically, we have now done an overall correction on this image.0366

The sky looks good; the mountains look good; the greenery looks good; we could actually even go and take Hue Saturation and bump it just a little bit, and there we go!0372

Pretty much everything is done, except for a couple of areas.0383

We have all this grassy area in the foreground here; it's still pretty dull because it's dead.0387

We have the same thing going out into the water here, and we have some areas along the shoreline there.0395

It would be nice to fix those, as well as the dead trees.0402

That would be something we would attack; now, how are we going to make a selection on that?0406

We're not going to draw an edge on that; here is the easy way: we use the Selection Brush.0411

Now, you can draw your selection with a brush--you have a brush control--hardness: 0 to 100 (I like a soft one), and adjusting the size.0418

But, we use the shortcuts: right bracket key--brush comes up; left bracket--it goes down.0429

When you draw the selection, it just draws it from the brush; there is a better way--that is the actual selection.0434

We're going to draw a mask; now, we're going to paint the area that we actually want to be the selection, so we can see where we're painting, but it will paint the mask.0442

We'll just invert it at the end.0455

Bear with me; we're going to make this mask red, and we're going to change the overlay opacity down to about 50%, so we can actually see through to what we're doing.0458

We have a soft brush (let's zoom up a little bit), and we have a mask; we have our brush (its hardness is as low as we can go) with a red overlay.0472

All we have to do (we'll make it a little larger) is just paint, and you'll notice that the soft edge of the brush is pretty much like a fairly large feather.0485

We're getting a blending area, out at the outer edges, that we don't have to worry too much about a carry-over.0495

We'll just go ahead and paint the area that we really want to be the selection.0503

Just keep this in mind; we'll come right down here--don't want to go into the edge too much.0508

There we go; I'm working right through the tree--I'm not even going to worry about the tree.0517

Let's pick down in here, and just paint, and now we've painted that much.0523

If I make a mistake, what I'm going to do is flip the foreground/background colors, which allows me...I take that back; it's Option.0529

One works one way; one works the other; if I paint and I want to get rid of it, it's the subtract, just like any other selection.0545

Do Option/Alt and paint it away.0552

So, if I try to fill in this edge right here, and I go a little bit out in the water (like you saw), Option/Alt and come in from the other side, and paint it back until it looks pretty good.0556

That was pretty easy; so, let's go ahead and do the grassy areas over here.0569

I'm just coming down through here; now, we need to make the brush size a little smaller, so we'll just bring it down with the bracket key, and just keep painting those areas.0576

They'll be nice, soft edges (you already know that); see how easy this is?0586

This tool really works; a little bit smaller, and even that little bit out right there.0591

Now, we want to pick up this area, out in here, make it a little smaller, and even take it right out into there.0597

This area back in here--brush larger (right bracket key)--bring it right down along the shoreline, Option/Alt to paint away that little excess, take that back in, and let's go ahead and do the trees--might as well--we're here!0605

We'll just paint those dead trees in; if we get a little extra color in other places, it's no big deal.0621

All right, so we've painted all of the area that we want to be a selection; don't get confused because that's a mask--now we're going to flip it to a selection, but the selection is everything else, because we've painted a mask.0628

I'll show you that by doing a lighting adjustment on Levels.0644

See what happens: everything but--we really wanted that to be a selection, so all we have to do, since it was easy to paint it and see, rather than painting everything else--go to the Select menu.0650

Inverse; now I'll make a mask out of it, and (come on) you see that now we have inverted it, and the only thing that is active is the dead areas.0664

So, what we're going to do is zoom it up a little bit, Command/Control+H, and the exposure is fine; we just want to up the color.0679

Let's just enhance color; let's start by going with Hue Saturation, and see if we can bump it up.0687

Look at that--wow--it came up pretty nice, didn't it?0696

We have just the coloration we want; it almost perfectly matches the grassy areas.0703

Let's take that away and put it back in, and let's go down and look closely at the edges, because they were soft; notice, it did carry over a little bit into a bush, but not too much.0709

It looks really great along that line; let's take a look down in here and see what we have, take it away, bring it back--soft edges allowed it to blend right along the water's edge.0726

That's pretty cool; let's go look at those trees and see if we have any results out there.0739

We got a little bit, but we can use a little more back in the back there, so what we're going to do with that is take a look at our selection.0743

Command/Control+H; now, we're going to take the Lasso tool--actually, we could feather it all the way to 0--Option/Alt, and remove everything but the trees.0755

Option/Alt; we'll just draw around all of the other selected areas, including those two trees right there, and just leave the trees in the background.0767

So now, what we're going to do is go to Enhance, Color; we're going to use Color Variation, because I want to make those trees a little green.0780

Command/Control+H; we can't do that with variations, so we're just going to go ahead, and in the mid-tones, we're going to increase the green.0791

Maybe a couple of times--I see it in the background--one more time; let's see what that did.0802

It was too much, so we'll undo it; Enhance, Color; we'll go ahead with Variations, and this time, we're going to put in green once, blue once to darken the green down, and try blue a second time and see what that does.0810

That's working; we need just a little more green, and we'll be there.0829

Adjust Color, Color Variations; increase the green one time, click OK, and there you go!0833

By using the Selection Brush, we were able to select a mask, painting the areas that we really wanted to be a selection so we could see it, and then inverting it.0843

Look at the difference here between where we were and where we are; a beautiful blend, using the selection brush.0857

Now, let me take a look at one more photo here.0867

I'm going to show you (we're going to be using this in the next lesson, as well, on Refine Edge, but)--right now, I want to a quick selection of the background.0871

So, we're going to go back to this tool, and we'll do the Quick Selection tool, and all we have to do is drag it in the gray background, and we're not going to worry about the hair right now; we're just worrying about her shoulders.0881

We're going to go back, now, to our Selection Brush again, and take a look at it as a mask.0895

We see that we have areas of her blouse that got selected and shouldn't have been, so we'll correct that with the Selection Brush.0901

Let's make the brush size pretty small.0917

All we have to do--we already have mask working--is just paint the areas that we want to remove and clean up in the blouse, and have protected as a mask.0921

That takes care of that one...a little spot right there...and we'll do the same thing down here, and I'll make a mistake--no problem.0938

Remember, Option, and it paints it away, so if you get excess--and we have a little more down here to paint, and that cleaned up that entire (oops, there is more on the shoulder here)...0947

So you see the value of...and again, I'm painting this with a soft-edge brush; I don't want to have a harsh edge in there.0959

This makes it really simple to correct problems that are created by other tools that would be difficult to fix in the long run.0968

There we have that corrected; that little spot right here...move to the other side; there is a tiny spot right here; and again, we have a little piece right in here.0979

I'm going to deliberately make a mistake again and show you how we can correct it.0994

We have it painted in; Option, and it paints away any problems that we encountered there.0999

There is another little spot, right along there, that needs to be painted in.1006

Let's zoom out, and now we'll turn it back to a selection, and there you have it!1011

Let's make it into a mask with black, and completely hard, so we can take a good look at it.1018

There we have 100%; let's zoom it up and see how well...and now, if we see any spots, we can also fix those, now that it's completely solid.1025

Any slight...oh, you can see that I made some slight errors here...and a bunch of them down here, as well.1035

By using the fully opaque mask, you can see anything that you might have missed.1043

There it is; we go back to the selection, and we have a perfect selection around the clothing, by using one tool, and correcting any problems by using the Selection Brush.1050

What we have done now: there is how you paint a selection; we did that in this; notice the wonderful improvement we got out of that; we went from there to there, simply by painting the selections.1065

We also used the Selection Brush as a correction tool, by correcting any mistakes made by another tool, by painting the mask and turning it back into a channel, or a selection.1082

There is what the Selection Brush can do for you in creating selections and masks, painting a selection, and viewing and correcting selections as masks.1097

It makes things quick and efficient.1108

I'll see you back in the next lesson!1110