This lesson is exclusive to members

Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

Select mask & changing a color using Photoshop - Color Range

Daniel Walter Scott

Download Exercise Files



We’re awarding certificates for this course!

Check out the How to earn your certificate video for instructions on how to earn yours and click the available certificate levels below for more information.

You need to be a member to view comments.

Join today. Cancel any time.

Sign Up

Hi there, in this video we're going to look at Color Range to do selections. Selecting bananas, we're going to select blueberries, and combine them into this magical scene, and eventually into this. Kind of mess of things that I created to explore Color Range, because it's an often overlooked masking technique. You might have used it to do a specific job, but it can be used for so many things. That's what we'll explore in the next couple of videos. If you use Color Range already, go through these videos, because these are quite a few little shortcuts and tips we'll use, throughout the rest of the course, so let's get started. 

To get started let's go to 'File', 'Open'. In your 'Exercise Files', there's a folder called 'Selections and Masking'. I want you to open up 'Color Range 1', '2', and '3'. You can start with Color Range 1. Now before we get started-- I've picked a pretty easy example. Pretty consistent color, it's going to be a good way to understand Color Range if you've never used it before, but later in the course, what we'll do is we'll combine Color Range often with other selection techniques, because it gets like maybe 80% of the selection, and you need to do touch ups with other selections. And it's going to be a big difference between, say my Essentials course and the Advanced Course. We're going to start mashing things together where there's times where we can't just do one selection technique, you need to kind of do two, three, or four. So let's understand Color Range. 

Let's go to 'Select', and go to 'Color Range'. Now yours by default probably just looks like that. So the first thing we're going to do is, we're going to click anywhere in the banana, and it kind of gives us a kind of a basic selection of the yellow. Under here where it says Select, yours might have defaulted to one of these colors. I find they didn't ever work, never ever. So I find it best just to ignore these and go straight to 'Sampled Color'. Have the fuzziness at about 100. I never really changed that because what happens, if I click in here and I increase the fuzziness, basically it's going to reach out, and it's quite geeky, you can see it's going out further, further, further. But to get the whole banana it eventually just goes too far and starts grabbing the background, but in this case it didn't get any of it. 

So I'm going to click around. So the fuzziness just kind of expands the selection. I find I'd leave the fuzziness at 100. What I do is I start with an initial color, and then use this little + icon, click once, click twice, click again. What you can do is, instead of clicking, and just keep clicking, you can click, hold, and drag across stuff. Just clicking, holding, and dragging, and get it out of that color. You'll notice that when I let go it's grabbed a large chunk of that yellow. Hasn't got these little end parts, I can start clicking on these, but often there's some colors that actually match the background, so I'm just going to tidy those up with the paintbrush. 

If you do go too far, say you're clicking in here and you click on something, can you see, it started picking the background. It's a little bit hard to see I guess in this video, but I can see it here clearly. I grabbed the '-' tool, then click in the background to get rid of stuff I don't want. '+', click in here again, I'm going to click and drag and give it a wriggle. It picks up a bunch of colors. Let's click 'OK', and it's got a pretty good selection, the two ends need a little tidy up, but let's add a mask by clicking the 'Add Mask' button. So to tidy up the edges here, make sure you're working on your mask, not your image. 

Let's zoom in. Find the edge here, and I'm going to paint this in. So I'm going to try and introduce lots of shortcuts, especially at the beginning, so it makes the rest of this class flow a lot faster. You have to bear with me a little bit in these first few videos to kind of get them into our system so that we can go faster later on because what I want to do is, working on the mask I want to paint this out, and brush size, up the top here, I go along here, and I drag it up and down, and I do this, right? 

You might know the shortcut of the - I'm going to undo that. - the square brackets '[ ]', it's next to your P key. That makes it bigger and smaller, but there is a super amazing extra one. On a Mac you hold down the 'Command' and the 'Option' key. I'll do the PC in a sec because it's quite different. So hold down 'Command' and 'Option' on your keyboard, and then click and hold down your mouse key and drag it left and right. That does the size, I love this one. Means I can go really big and really small really quickly. If I use the up and the down, can you see, does the hardness as well. So the same keys held down, I can really get into the right size and the right hardness. 

If you're on a PC it's quite different, you hold down 'Alt' key on your keyboard, and then you click and hold down, and drag the right mouse button, the one you never use. Hold down the 'Alt' key, click, hold, and drag left and right, and you get the same thing. Up and down does the hardness. It's a really weird shortcut but a really good one to know. There will be a shortcut sheet at the end of this course. Like old, kind of-- together in a nice little video. There'll also be a PDF on that same page there. You can download it, print it off and stick it next to your computer. 

So I'm on my Mac, I'm holding down 'Ctrl' and 'Alt'. Clicking and dragging left and right to get the rough size. Then hardness wise, I love about anywhere between 85 and 95. Especially when I want a straight edge, I never have 100%. Why? Because there's always a little bit of give around the outside. Looks more natural. 100% hardness just looks too fake. Another cool little shortcut is, at the moment my foreground is set to black. So when I paint this it kind of does the wrong thing, right? I want to do the opposite of that. So what you can do, another cool little shortcut is the X key on your keyboard. See my foreground and background color here. If I tap 'X', just the letter X on my keyboard, it just toggles the foreground and background color. So I want white at the front, and I'm going to paint this out. 

Smaller brush size, hold down my shortcuts. You can see, with a few little shortcuts you are going to be retouching nicer. You go too far, easy, I can zoom in, and X key to switch it to black as my foreground color and just paint that out. I do the same thing with this bottom, but I'm going to leave this in here, because it looks good in my final composition, but you could now use the same thing, black, and just paint it out. The top here is this bit I want. So I'm going to switch it back to white as my foreground color, 'X' key. You can see how handy it is, one of those ones worth learning. Nice. 
That my friends is using the Color Range to mask an image. We're to use a little bit of Brush tool to kind of fill in these black parts, but that's just part of Photoshop. Rarely does a tool do all the work for you, so we're going to do a lot of combinations in this course. What I'd like to do is grab my 'Move Tool', click and hold, and drag, drag, drag into the number 3. And let it go down the bottom here. We're going to move it down here, we'll fix it up a little bit more later on. Let's learn a little bit more about Color Range. Let's go to 'Color Range 2' Go back to our 'Select', and we're going to go to 'Color Range'. 

Two things I want to show you, one is the localized color clusters. What that means is if I grab my Eyedropper tool, and click on-- say I want this guy, but I don't want all of his friends, I just want him plus another fellow here. You can see, it's gone off and picked them all because they're the same color. That's where the localized color clusters comes in. And your range is probably set to 100%, means it's just grabbing everything. And you lower it down, you can start to see, kind of zeroes in on our little guy there. So it doesn't grab everything in the document. 

Now we're using fruit, like this would be super useful if you are, say trying to select, say you want to do some color adjustments to a lipstick color, but not the shoes, which are quite similar. You could click on the lipstick, lower the range down and make that selection. We'll ignore the other, say red things in the document, in our case, blue reds. You can add more than one. So hit this little '+' icon here, and I want you and you. So it's picked two of these fellas. I need to tidy both of them up. 
That brings me on to the second thing I want to show you in here. And it's this one here, it says 'Selection Preview'. Just be on Grayscale because this little window here is far too small for working. And all it really does is that it just duplicates this into the window here. Doesn't change anything, just kind of showing us how the selection works. So I'm going to zoom in. And this fella here, I want to add some of that. And some of that, clicking, clicking, getting there. 

Clicking and dragging can be super useful. If you get too much of the background I might go in here and say '-', I want to minus a bit of that. Fix up this one as well, grab the '+' key, just kind of drag across there. Grab it as well. You can click away to your heart's content, or click and drag. I'm going to click this background here, I want to get rid of it. It's pretty good, the range is probably too far now. So I have to lower that range so that it's picking just this little area in here. It's doing something weird there, can I minus it out? I can. Nice. Let's click 'OK', there it's added a Layer mask. And like I had before, it's done a lot of the blue, but there's some bits I want to touch up. 

Basically it got a really good edge, but there's some middle bits, the colors were just too different. So with the 'Mask' selected, hit 'B' on my keyboard for the Brush tool. I'm going to use a lot of shortcuts. If I hover above this, can you see, it says the Brush tool, and anything in the brackets here means use the B key. This one here is the V key, you can see it in brackets there. So the ones that you use the most you'll learn. So you can just go 'V' to move, 'B' for brush. My Brush size is okay, I'm just going to tidy up, not too far. Tidy up the bits that didn't get perfectly selected, same with this one. Nice. 

Because we're using that localized color you might find that there might have been some other kind of ghost bits out here you might have to tidy up. So you could use your X key to make it black. Just grab a nice big brush and just kind of tidy up, any of these bits that are part of the master you don't want. Let's click, hold, and drag this little guy. So 'Move tool', drag it to 'Color Range 3'. Let's dump a couple of blueberries in. Awesome. 

That's how to use Color Range to select physical objects, and kind of cut them out onto a white background. Can be great if you are a photographer, or you do your shooting stuff for a website, and you just want to kind of like, grab something, put it onto a transparent background or white background, just delete the background. Color Range, especially if there's a color that's very contrast compared to the rest of the document, it can be super helpful, and often overlooked in Photoshop. 

Let's get into the next video, we're going to still use Color Range, but we're going to use it in a very different kind of way. More for color adjustment. All right, I'll see you in the next video.