Learn how to use the double life of selections in Adobe Photoshop CS3.
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Now when you are working with the Selection tools here inside of Photoshop CS3, one thing you need to know is that selection sort of lead what I call a double life, where there are two functions to every selection. So, for instance, if I were to make a selection on this image, I will just grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool for the example here and I can draw out just a square, just around the top area of this image.
What you have visible right now on the screen is actually this selection outline which has the dancing or marching ants as they go around the edge of this selection, just letting you know exactly what area of that image you currently have selected and the little marching ants just let you know that this is an active selection that is currently on your image.
So the double life of selections is that you can actually move the outline without actually altering the pixels underneath that selection, for instance, if I wanted to take this selection and just move it around, I could just do that simply by clicking and dragging. I have to make sure that I have the Marquee Tool selected when I do this because if I had the Move Tool selected, it would automatically cut that area away. So, for instance, let me switch to the Move Tool here, you will notice that when I move my cursor inside of that selection window there, I automatically get a little pair of scissors. If I were to click and drag now you see that I automatically cut that area of the selection out and move it away.
Now that is something that I do not want to do in this case. So you need to be aware of what tool you have selected at any given time. For instance, you need to make sure that you have the Marquee Tool selected if you are going to be moving your selections around, because when you have the Marquee Tool selected, that is only dealing with the selection outline. So we do not want to modify pixels, we just want to move that outline around.
That is what we are going the do now. We are just going to move this selection so if I wanted to just select like let us say the bottom part of this guitar here, I could just move this down and I could also then just tap with my Arrow keys, Up, Down, Left, Right Arrow keys, to put this in the exact position where I needed to be on the screen.
Now if you had the Move Tool selected, as we have already seen that would be cutting that specific area of the image out and moving that whole area of pixels around. That is very destructive to your images and not something that I recommend that you do necessarily unless you have created a duplicate of that selection first. So you can see here that the double life of selections really comes into play when you are manipulating images because of the fact that you can control both what type of area is selected and also where you move that selected area based on which tool that you have selected at any given time.
Now you can also modify the outline of selection by using some modifier key. So, for instance, if I wanted to add to this selection here, I could just simply hold down the Shift key and I could just drag out a new selection here. I am going to match that up with the edge right there. There you see I have added a little bit of a selection to that image right there to encompass that area of the guitar. I can do the same thing over here. If I want to encompass this side over here I will just hold down my Shift key again. I will line these up first and then I will draw out just like so and we will add that part in as a selection as well.
So you can see here that this is just modifying the selection outline, because I have not actually changed any pixel values in here at all. But if I switch to the Move Tool by selecting the V key on my keyboard and then tapping with the Up Arrow key, as you see there I am actually moving that portion of pixels around. As I say, that is a very bad practice because I do not want to change those underlying pixel values at all. So what you need to do is just be aware of how you are using your Selection tools and whether or not when you are editing your selection if you are modifying the selection outline or the actual underlying pixels themselves.
Once you have a better understanding of how these work, you will be well on your way to making more accurate selections and also not destroying your images for further use here inside the program.