How to Execute the Color Range Command in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Execute the Color Range Command in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When you use the Color Range command, Photoshop CS6 selects all the identical colors, partially selects similar colors, and doesn’t select dissimilar colors. You adjust the fuzziness, and Photoshop adjusts the selection, making it easier to get the precise selection that you want.

Follow these steps to work with the Color Range command:

  1. Choose Select→Color Range.

    The Color Range dialog box appears in full glory.

  2. Choose Sampled Colors from the Select drop-down menu (pop-up menu on the Mac) and then select the Eyedropper tool in the dialog box.

    Note that if you choose a preset color or tone, , the options described in Steps 4, 5 and 6 won’t be available. The only exception is that if you choose Skin Tones, you will have access to the Fuzziness slider, explained in Step 6.

  3. Select a display option — Selection or Image.

    You should leave the setting at the default of Selection so that you can see the mask while you build it. You can toggle between the two views by pressing Ctrl (Command on the Mac).

  4. Either in the image itself or in the image preview in the Color Range dialog box, click to sample your desired colors.

    The image preview changes to a mask. Black areas show unselected pixels, white areas show selected pixels, and gray areas show partially selected pixels.

    Your goal is to try to make what you want to select all white and what you don’t want to select all black. And if you want some things partially selected, they can remain gray.

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  5. Adjust the selection by adding or deleting colors.

    You can select or delete as many colors in your image as you want.

    Use the Add to Sample tool (the plus eyedropper icon) to add, and use the Subtract from Sample tool (the minus eyedropper icon) to delete.

    You can be lazy and just stick with the regular eyedropper icon. Simply hold down Shift+Alt (Shift+Option on the Mac) to add and delete.

  6. Fine-tune the range of colors by dragging the Fuzziness slider.

    The Fuzziness ranges extend from 0 to 200. A higher value selects more colors, and a lower value selects fewer colors. While you adjust the fuzziness, the mask dynamically updates.

    If you can’t quite get the control you want with the Fuzziness slider, try selecting the Localized Color Clusters option. Instead of just maintaining a single color cluster from the colors you select, this option enables you to select multiple color clusters.

    This option can help with obtaining cleaner, more precise selections, especially when you’re trying to select more than just one color. Adjust the Range slider to fine-tune the range, or area, of your selection.

    The Invert option selects what’s currently unselected and deselects what’s currently selected. And if you totally muck things up, you can reset the dialog box by holding down Alt (Option on the Mac) and clicking Reset.

  7. Select a Selection Preview from the drop-down menu (pop-up menu on the Mac) to preview the selection in the image window.

    • None: Displays the image normally.

    • Grayscale: Displays just the grayscale mask. This can come in handy when you are trying to fine-tune your selection.

    • Black Matte and White Matte: Displays the selection against a black or white background.

    • Quick Mask: Shows the mask over your image, using your Quick Mask settings.

  8. Click OK.

    Your image appears with a selection outline based on the Color Range mask.

    Now, do what you will with your nice, clean selection.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/guidemark50 Image #17858877 and coward_lion Image #16965884]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/guidemark50 Image #17858877 and coward_lion Image #16965884