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Tools: The Selection Tool
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Tools:
The Selection Tool
Created by: Prof

 
This series of tutorials is oriented toward helping those new users of PSP 9 to learn the basics of this great graphic program. The tutorials are written to introduce the basic features, tools and palettes and build upon one another. Also, the tutorials may be used as a reference for using particular tools, palettes and features of PSP.
 

The Selection Tools: The Selection Tool

The Selection tools (Selection tool, Freehand Selection tool and Magic Wand tool) are used to create selections, sometimes shapes and sometimes around objects of the graphic for different purposes. The Freehand Selection tool and the Magic Wand tool will be explored in the next two tutorials.

Purpose and Goal of this Tutorial:

In this tutorial we will explore just the Selection tool and its Tool Options palette.

  • The Selection tool and an overview of its Tool Options palette
  • Two examples
  • A brief overview on the menu item 'Selections'
 



Selection Tool

The Selection Tool and Its Tool Options Palette

When you click on the Selection tool its corresponding Tool Options palette will be displayed. (Each tool has its own corresponding Tool Options palette with various options one can select.)

With the Selection tool one has a number of options from which to choose that will create different types of selections. One uses selections for various things from drawing shapes to placing a selection around an object in the graphic.

 

Presets:
Some tools will have presets which are particular settings for that tool. The Selection tool does not have any presets. For all tools, however, can a set of option values be saved as a preset to use again and again when needed.

Selection type:
There are a number of shapes possible for a selection. Just choose a type.

 


Mode:
There are three modes one can use with the Selection tool. Each mode operates differently:
Replace: This mode is used to set a selection. If one sets a second selection the first one will be erased automatically.
Add (Shift): This mode when set allows adding a selection to the first one. One could also hold down the Shift key (without setting the Add mode) to also just add a selection to the existing one.
Remove (Ctrl): This mode when set allows removing a selection or part of a selection from the first one. One could just press the Control key (Ctrl) to remove a selection from the existing one.

These three modes allow to shape a selection in various ways either in creating unique shapes or removing parts of a selection to reveal what is below that part.

 


Feather:
Feather changes the dimensions of the selection by causing its edges to have a type of transparency when the selection is either deleted or filled with a color. Using Feather can create an object that appears to blend in with its background.

Anti-alias:
When checked, Anti-alias tends to smooth the edges of a selection. Anti-alias works best on curved shapes or diagonal lines. When Anti-alias is not set the line or curve will be sharper but can also look more jagged.

 




Select Area = Custom Size and Position Custom Selection:
When one clicks on the 'Custom Selection' button a Custom Selection window will be displayed. One is able to very precisely set the coordinates for the selection by setting values for the Left, Top, Right and Bottom corners. The only shape a custom selection will produce is either a rectangle or a square.

Create selection from:
These buttons give you three options to create a selection:
Select Area = Current Selection Current selection: This places a rectangular selection around the current selection. This is useful when you have another selection than rectangular or square (e.g. the one we'll create later in this tutorial) and wish to place a rectangular selection around it.
Select Area = Opaque - Current Layer Layer opaque: This places a rectangular selection around everything that is not transparent on the active layer.
Select Area = Opaque - MergedMerged opaque: This places a rectangular selection around everything that is not transparent in the whole image.

 

Example No. 1

We will create a square selection, then add a star selection to each corner, and then remove an arrow selection from the middle. Then we will flood-fill the selection with a color of your choice.

 
New Image

Selection Tool



Flood Fill Tool

Create a new image, 300 x 300 Pixels, Raster Background, 16 Million colors, white background.

Click on the Selection tool in the Tools toolbar and set:
– Feather = 0
– Click on the 'Custom Selection' button and set these values:
   – Top and Left = 75
   – Bottom and Right = 225
– Click on OK.

Now set in the Tool Options palette:
– Selection type = Star 1
– Mode = Add (or hold down the Shift key while drawing the stars)

Draw a star selection at each corner so it overlaps a bit at each corner.

Go back to the Tool Options palette and set:
– Selection type = Arrow 3
– Mode = Remove (or hold down the Ctrl key while drawing the
   arrow)

Draw the Arrow selection in the center of the square.

Now select the Flood Fill tool in the Tools toolbar and flood-fill the selection with a color, gradient or pattern of your choice. Then deselect by pressing Ctrl+D or going to Selections || Select None.

 

Example No. 2

We will create the same set of selections but this time we will first set a Feather value. Also rather than using the Custom Selection to draw the square we will draw it directly.

 
New Image



Selection Tool











Flood Fill Tool

Create a new image, 300 x 300 Pixels, Raster Background, 16 Million colors, white background.

Click on the Selection tool in the Tools toolbar and set:
– Selection type = Square
– Mode = Replace
– Feather = 6

Draw a square in the center of the canvas.

Now set in the Tool Options palette:
– Selection type = Star 1
– Mode = Add (or hold down the Shift key while drawing the stars)

Draw a star selection at each corner so it overlaps a bit at each corner.

Go back to the Tool Options palette and set:
– Selection type = Arrow 3
– Mode = Remove (or hold down the Ctrl key while drawing the
   arrow)
– Feather = 3

Draw the arrow selection in the center of the square.

Now select the Flood Fill tool in the Tools toolbar and flood-fill the selection with a color, gradient or pattern of your choice.

Then, go to Selections || Invert and flood-fill this selection with the same color, gradient or pattern. Now deselect with Selections || Select None or Ctrl+D.

 

Commentary

When drawing a selection with Feather set to 0 (zero) the selection is sharp regarding its edges and the flood-fill is also sharp. When drawing a selection with Feather set to a value higher than 0 notice the selection is not as sharp particularly at the corners. In fact in some ways the corners become a bit rounded. Also, the flood-fill edges are also not sharp. If you zoom into your canvas you will see more clearly the edges actually blend into the white background.

 

The Menu Item 'Selections'

Another important aspect of selections is the menu item 'Selections'. (In fact, a number of elements of PSP are duplicated and expanded in the menu system.) It is very useful to learn about the menus, and over time we will cover various items within the Selections menu.

In the above examples we used two of these items: 'Select None' which deselects any current selection, and 'Invert' which inverts the current selection.

Invert means as an example that if you have a square selection and flood-fill it you fill within the selection. If you invert the selection and then flood-fill you will fill the outside area of the square. Our second example above used this technique.

As stated, we will cover various elements of this menu in more depth later. For now, a brief review follows:

  • Select All, Float, and Defloat are often used when there are complex shapes or selections and is the easiest way to select that object.
  • Modify has a number of very useful options that allow one to manipulate selections in various ways.
  • Load/Save Selection is a most useful command that allows one to save and load selections from either what is called an Alpha Channel or from a file.
  • Promote Selection to Layer is the same command as in the Layers palette when one wants to just promote the selection to another layer and then work just on that selection without worrying about the background.
 

Final Comments

The Selection tool is a most useful and powerful tool. In the next lessons we will be covering other tools of the Selection tools which have similar options with just a few differences. As one masters these Selection tools one will have a great ability to manipulate pictures and graphics in various ways.

Enjoy