Keying-Using Color Range Tool

On December 30, 2010, in Gallery, Photoshop, by Amiya

Level: Intermediate

First let me tell you what the color tool is. When using the color tool you provide two parameters, first color (you may select multiple colors) and second is fuzziness. It makes a selection of all colors close to the color you provide by fuzz value, so more is the fuzziness
more colors will be selected around the original color.

Lets start with this picture...

Observe that in the picture you have complicated details like hair which are very difficult to separate from background. Also note that the background color isn't present in the parts that we want to preserve. Ensure that the picture isn't too heavily compressed else it will lose sharp details. So lets get started open the above image in Photoshop, duplicate the layer and delete the original background layer.

Finally you get a single layer named Background copy
Now go to select -> Color Range...

Color Range window will open up. Observe selection is completely dark which means nothing is selected. Let the fuzziness be at 40.

Move your mouse pointer to the image and click on the background

A selection is made. But it's not perfect as the background isn't perfectly white. To make it perfect again move your mouse to a different part of the background hold the shift button and click.

You may have to repeat this step couple of times. Finally your selection will be very sharp

Click ok and get out of the color range mode. You will observe that some parts around the earring is also selected. To correct it go to quick mask mode (Press Q). In quick mask mode you have only one color that is red. The areas painted red are not selected. So use the brush tool and paint the earring. get out of quick mask mode (press Q again) and
hit delete. You get clear and sharp selection.

(In the quick mask mode it is clearly visible that some parts pf the earring and some part of the forehead are selected. Simply use the brush tool to paint those areas.)

Final selection.

Color range tool and Quick mask mode used together can be a very powerful tool to make complicated selections.

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