When the Magic Wand was introduced, it was a welcomed addition to the other selection methods. It lives with the Quick Select Tool over here in the Toolbox. Click in the lower right-hand corner of the icon if you need to access both of them to choose one or the other. Right now we'll take a look at the Magic Wand Tool. The Magic Wand makes a selection based on how similar other pixels are tonally to the pixel that you click on and select. If you check Contiguous, then for any pixel to be selected, it must be physically neighboring on a pixel that has been selected. If you don't check Contiguous, any pixels that are similar anywhere in the image will be selected. So if for example you're trying to select the blue sky that's hiding behind tree branches, you will not want to check Contiguous. But if you want to select only one red rose and not the others in a picture of a flower garden, then you'll want to select Contiguous. The other main control that you have is the Tolerance Setting. This specifies how similar to the original pixel another pixel must be in order to be selected. If you set it too low, then not enough pixels will be selected and if you set it too high, way too many will be selected. In most cases I begin with a tolerance of about 30. If it turns out that's too high, then I try 15 and if it's too low, then I click Add to Selection and click in other areas. What you don't want to do is to have to click a million different individual pixels. Let's try and select the eggs this way. I've got a New Selection, Tolerance of 30 and I'm going to uncheck Contiguous and I'll click and you can see some of my eggs are selected but not all. I could choose Add to Selection and click again and now I've got a better selection but I've still got a lot of stuff going on in here. What might be easier at that point would be to come over to the Lasso Tool, click on Add to Selection and just make a rough selection around it. It can be rough because the other pixels are already selected. And with a quick go round here, I'm able to select and fine tune my selection and notice we're still missing some areas so perhaps I want to go back to my Magic Wand Tool and click on another area. If it turns out that picks too much, which it did, I will undo it and undo is very important in Photoshop work. I will hit on a Mac Command Z and on a PC, Control Z and undo it. In this case I'm going to set my tolerance way down even as far down as ten and come over here and click and even that's too big. That's just not working too well; pretty tough to select these eggs. Sometimes it's easier and more efficient to select the background rather than the subject and then invert the selection. Let's do that here. Let's start all over again with New Selection and first I'm going to change my tolerance setting back to about 30 and I'm going to just click in the background and notice with one click I've done a pretty good job of making my selection. It's selected a little too far so I'm going to undo it and put it down to about 20 and click again. That's done a better job but I'm missing the corners. So again I'll come over to my Lasso Tool, click on Add to Selection, do a loose selection around that corner, a loose selection around this corner and around this flashing one here and now I've got my selection made. Remember, I wanted to select the eggs and right now the background is selected, which you can tell by the marching ants around the background. So I'll come up here to Select, Inverse and now just my eggs are selected. The Magic Wand is an effective selection tool when you want to select an area that consists of similar tonalities. Don't forget that you can always invert a selection if that's easier, particularly when you want to select a foreground but it's easier to select the background. Go ahead and select that background and go to Select Inverse. When selecting an object from the background to use in a composite, selecting the background is many times easier, especially if it's a sky or other area with few details.
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