Lesson B: Elliptical Marquee – Adobe Photoshop

Lesson B: Elliptical Marquee

  • Open the file “B elliptical marquee.psd.”
  • Get to this tool by right-clicking on the Rectangular Marquee tool and choosing the Elliptical Marquee tool.

All the modifications of the Rectangular Marquee tool discussed on the previous pages are applicable to the Elliptical Marquee tool. The trick of using the spacebar to move the marquee while it’s being drawn is especially useful here. The goal is to select the old well cover, then increase its saturation.

  • As you drag with this tool, the marquee seems to slide a bit, making it difficult to position it precisely. So, hold down the spacebar occasionally while creating the selection to move the marquee-in-progress. Without releasing the mouse, press the spacebar to move the marquee, then release only the spacebar to resize and reshape. Release the mouse only when the marquee is sized correctly and positioned over the well cover.

Vibrance Adjustment

Now let’s pump up the latent color in that metal grating.

  • With the marquee in place, create a Vibrance adjustment layer by clicking its icon in the Adjustments panel.
  • Since the color is so subtle, use the Saturation slider (and the Vibrance slider too, perhaps)to make a significant adjustment.

To extend the adjustment to the foreground bolt and background supports, we’ll need to paint on this adjustment layer’s mask.

  • Hold down the Z key (don’t just tap it). With the cursor over that bolt, press and drag rightward to zoom in on it. If it ends up a bit off-center, hold down the H key to pan with the Hand tool.
  • Activate the Brush tool (tap the B key). To extend or limit where the adjustment is visible, we’re gong to paint with white or black on the adjustment layer’s mask.
  • To be sure that the mask is targeted for painting, click just once on its thumbnail. It should have a small border around its corners.

To extend the adjustment over the bolt, we’ll need white as our Foreground color so we can paint with white. Look near the bottom of the Tools panel to see the Foreground and Background color chips.

  • Tap the D key to ensure those chips are the default colors of white and black. Get it?
“D” for “Default.” If the colors should become reversed, or you want them to be, you can tap the X key to “eXchange” them.

Since the bolt is small and hard-edged, our brush should share those characteristics.

  • In the Options Bar, click the small menu button next to the brush preview. A size of around 35 pixels and a high hardness value near 90% should be good here.
  • Now paint on the bolt and you should see it getting a bit of color like the rest of the metalwork nearby. If there are areas that have been affected by the adjustment but should not have been, tap the X key to paint those areas of the mask with black.
  • Pan up to the vertical supports of the well cover with the Hand tool (by holding down the H key and dragging).

Yes, I’m exposing you to a lot of shortcuts and I’m doing so early and often. Like any task, muscle memory gets built with repetition, and these shortcuts make you a fast and efficient Photoshop user.

  • Save your work and choose File > Close.