Deke’s Techniques: Masking with Photoshop’s Quick Selection tool and Magic Wand

Published by | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

If you’re trying to mask a challenging subject, Photoshop certainly has a hoard of sharply honed tools that will allow you to create the most nuanced selection imaginable. But sometimes, you just want to throw some brute Photoshop force at a project so you can get on with your busy life. In this week’s free-to-all Deke’s Techniques video, Deke McClelland shows you how to quickly mask this greenish-on-green hummingbird with two very blunt instruments that you don’t hear Deke recommending often—the Quick Selection tool and the Magic Wand.

Hummingbird with green background

Deke starts by showing you how to use both of the tools to the best of their limitations, and how to incrementally save each phase of selection to a mask that serves to “collect” your progress so that you don’t undo your work. Finally, when the blunt instruments have done all they can, Deke shows you how to refine those results with the aptly named Refine Mask command. The result is this rough-hewn but ultimately useful mask:

Hummingbird Photoshop Mask

Which in turn allows you to place the hummingbird in an entirely new environment:

Hummingbird with cloud background

Of course, masking in Photoshop can mean anything from this rough-hewn utilitarian outcome to highly nuanced meticulous sections. If you’re more of the meticulous selections Photoshop user, Deke has two new courses for members of the lynda.com Online Training Library® that will take you deep into the science of masking and compositing: Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals and Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending.

See you back here next week with two new Deke’s Techniques!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• Courses by Deke McClelland in the Online Training Library®
• All courses on Photoshop in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending
• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

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