Working With Selections

Creative Computing Week 4

In lesson four we looked at working with selections in Photoshop CS3.

We started the workshop by looking at an image which contained a chopping board, a lettuce, a pepper, a carrot, a tomato and a dish of olives as well as a logo, coloured green saying ‘Salads Made Easy’:Finished design

Next we were instructed to open a Photoshop file that contained each of these elements on separate layers. Each layer had to be altered to imitate the appearance of the same elements in the original image. The carrot and pepper would need their backgrounds eliminating and then they would have to be scaled to the correct size. The logo’s colour would have to be changed from pink to green and this layer needed to be duplicated twice and scaled, as the original image contains three images, making up the logo. In addition to this, each of the elements would have a drop shadow applied to it, in order to emulate the original example:

Pre-processed design

By using the ‘Magic Wand’, the ‘Lasso’ and the ‘Marquee’ tools, each element could be selected and manipulated.

Layers palette with selectionsFirstly the ‘Tomato’ layer was altered by using the ‘Magic Wand’ tool. By clicking within the red area of the tomato, it is possible to encapsulate it within a selection area that excludes the green stem. This area can be included in the selection by holding down the Shift key and clicking within the excluded selection. Once entirely selected, the ‘Tomato’ layer selection could be placed over the ‘Cutting Board’ layer by using the ‘Move’ tool.

Similarly, the ‘Lettuce’ layer was altered by using the ‘Rectangular Marquee’ to draw a selection around the lettuce. By holding down the Alt/Option key and clicking in the white area surrounding the lettuce, the selection retracts to fit perfectly around the edge of the lettuce and eliminates the white background. Again, this selection could be moved over the cutting board in an attempt to copy the original image.

The process continued using the ‘Elliptical Marquee’ tool to select the ‘Olive Dish’ and the logo. We also applied a colour change to the logo by selecting Image > Adjustments > Inverse, changing the pink tones to green tones. The ‘Carrot’ and ‘Pepper’ layers were selected and altered using the ‘Lasso’ and ‘Magnetic Lasso’ tools respectively. The exercise was a good lesson in the realisation that one can perform the same task in various different ways when working with selections in Photoshop.

In addition to this, the separate elements were altered in size using the Edit > Transform > Scale option as well as the Edit > Transform > Rotate option in the menu bar. We also learned how to soften a selection’s edges by ‘Feathering’ the marquee, giving a more realistic feel to the often harsh cropping effect. A ‘Drop Shadow’ effect was applied to each layer to create a feeling of depth, I did this by double clicking one of the layers, selecting the ‘Drop Shadow’ tab and adjusting the settings to give the desired effect. I then copied the Layer Style by right-clicking the layer and selecting this option. I then highlighted the remaining layers by clicking on the bottom layer and holding down shift when selecting the top layer in the palette. Again I right-clicked and selected ‘Apply Layer Style’ giving each of the other elements an identical drop shadow. When all of the elements were in place above the ‘Cutting Board’ background layer, all that remained was to crop the image to encapsulate the design and eliminate the peripheral elements.

Overall, this week’s lesson was a great exercise in the use of layers, how to assemble an image and then use various tools and methods to select specific areas of a layer. Essential techniques for any aspiring Photoshop enthusiast!


I also found this video on You Tube helpful:

About Roulette Revolver

Currently a first year undergraduate in Film & Media Studies.
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