Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to train the quick selection tool for making better selections in PSE ?

Quick selection is a great tool for selecting objects in any image. It intelligently selects the object distinctly from the background by detecting the brightness, contrast and tonal changes along the objects and their backgrounds. It takes just a little mouse drag with in an object to select an background.

For example : for the image below I just dragged my mouse from point A to point B for selecting the whole apple instead of moving my mouse along the edges of the whole apple which we would require for other selection tools.

This is how my object was selected moving my mouse from point A to B (Please note I increased the brush size to 35 px from options bar after selecting the quick selection tool for making this selection) :

However in the above image, there is good contrast between the object to be selected and its background. So we did not need to train our quick selection tool. But for getting better results in minimum time when there is not much great color difference or contrast between our object and background, it is recommended that you train your quick selection tool.

So in an image like below, where there is not that great color contrast between yellow flower and its background, we would train our tool.

So if I move my quick selection tool from point A to B to select the yellow flower, here is what
I get as selected :

However I did not need this extra highlighted(green) part in my selection(as shown below) which was selected when I moved my mouse from point A to point B. But since there is a low contrast between the orange and the yellow here, this area too got selected.

So instead of selecting my flower in one go as shown above, I follow the steps below to get my needed selection :

1. Select a very small part of the yellow flower as shown after selecting Quick selection tool.

2. Now I will press Alt key and keeping it pressed, I click and drag my mouse over the area I did not want in the selection. So  I brush my mouse over the green highlighted region shown in the second last image.

I also notice that as soon as I click Alt key my mouse cursor changes from "+" to "-" as it tell what area not to select.

Once I am done with that I leave the Alt key back and again move my mouse from point A to B as I did earlier and here is how I get my desired selection :

So here I have trained my quick selection tool not to select what areas of contrast. So if I had the similar background around the whole flower, then I would just drag my mouse once along the boundaries of the flower to tell my tool about the low contrast areas which I do not want to select.

Also keep in mind that if you have a large and random objects to be selected then you should keep subtracting the wrong selections you make as you sweep and not to defer the subtraction task in the end. This trains my tool at every step of selection and tell it what "not" to selection as it goes ahead.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful!


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