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How to Use the Modify Menu Commands in Photoshop CS6

The Select→Modify menu in Photoshop CS6 contains a group of modification commands that are lumped categorically. With the exception of the Feather command, you probably won’t use these options every day. When you do use them, however, you’ll find they prove pretty handy. Here’s the lowdown on these lesser used commands:

  • Border: This command selects the area around the edge of the selection marquee. You specify the width of the area, from 1 to 200 pixels, and you get a border marquee. Select a foreground color, choose Edit→Fill, pick Foreground Color from the Use drop-down list, and then click OK to fill your border with color.

  • You can also achieve a similar look by choosing Edit→Stroke.

  • Smooth: If your selection marquee seems a bit ragged around the edges, try selecting the Smooth command to round the nooks and crannies. Enter a sample radius value from 1 to 500 pixels. Photoshop examines each selected pixel and then includes or deselects pixels in your selection based on the range specified by the radius amount.

  • If most of the pixels are selected, Photoshop includes the strays; if most of the pixels are unselected, Photoshop removes the pixels. Start with 2 pixels — and if that doesn’t seem like enough, increase it by a few more pixels or so.

    Use this command with great caution. It’s just too easy to get mushy, ill-defined selections.

  • Expand: This command allows you to increase the size of your selection by a specified number of pixels, from 1 to 500. This command can come in handy if you just missed the edge of a circular selection and want to enlarge it.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Simfo Image #5824100]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Simfo Image #5824100
  • Contract: To shrink your selection by 1 to 500 pixels, choose Contract. This command is used a lot, in conjunction with the Feather command, when compositing multiple images.

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