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Photoshop Tip: Making Selections

There are many ways to make a selection, and after a while you may find your own way that is easiest for you. In this tutorial I will show you one way to approach the selection process.
We will do this in 3 steps. First we will use the Quick Selection tool to make a rough selection, then we will use the Refine Edge option to hone the selection, and then we will tidy up the selection in it’s layer mask.
Step 1: Quick Selection Tool
To begin with we’ll use the Quick Selection tool to make a rough selection of our object. This tool offers more control than the Magic Wand tool, allowing you to manually draw the selection over your object.
It’s best to start in the centre of the object, and work outwards. Take more care when you reach the edges of your object.
When you get to smaller areas, zoom in and decrease the brush size for more accuracy. If your selection goes outside your object, hold the alt key to correct the mistake.
Zoom out, and make sure all of your object is contained within the selection.
Step 2: Refine Edge
When you have finished selecting your object, go to Select > Refine Edge…
The Refine Edge box allows you to further improve your selection. It is especially useful if your object has a lot of fur or hair.
Click on the Refine Radius button. The Refine Radius Tool allows you to paint over edges where you want the selection to be improved.
For edges where there is thick fur, go over it with a larger brush. (You can increase or decrease the brush size by tapping the [ ] keys on your keyboard)
For edges that are more clearly defined, use a smaller brush size.
The adjustment sliders offer more control over the selection, and the way you use them will vary depending on the type of object you are selecting.
There are very few smooth edges in my selection (due to the fur), so I have kept the Smooth slider at ’0′.
I have brought the Feather slider up just a little to soften any hard edges.
And I have brought up the Contrast slider to give more definition to the edges.
Spend a while tweaking you sliders until you are completely happy with the result. (Remember, once you have clicked OK you can not go back and re-adjust your sliders)
When you’re ready, choose ‘New Layer with Layer Mask’ and click OK.
Step 3: The Layer Mask
Now you will have a new layer, with a layer mask that contains your selection. You can hide your original layer now, and use it as a backup if needed.
Now you will see your object isolated, without a background.
You may notice there are some areas where the background hasn’t been masked out completely. You can use an eraser to tidy up these areas, but a better and less permanent way to do this is to work in the layer mask.
To see the layer mask go to the Channels panel and hide all the colour channels, leaving just the layer mask visible.
Then go back to the layers panel and select the layer mask thumbnail.
When working in the layer mask, black hides and white reveals. So choose a black brush and paint over the areas you want to hide. Remember, these areas can always be brought back using a white brush or eraser.
In areas where the background has crept in too far, use a white brush or eraser to mask it out.
When you have checked all around the edge of your object, go back to the Channels panel and unhide all the colour layers.
Your object is now ready to be placed anywhere you want.
Remember to adjust the Colour Balance, Saturation and Brightness of your object so that it blends into it’s new background more seamlessly. Look closely at your background image, if there is noise or if it’s blurred, apply some noise and blur to your object as well.
I hope this was helpful. Please leave feedback in the comments section below, and Tweet to pass on the advice.
Thanks for reading :-)