I use the Magic Wand tool to select backgrounds in images that I want to change. I can lighten or darken the background, replace the background with parts from another image, or blur the background. Whichever adjustment I want to use, I have to separate the subject from the background before I make my edits.

The Magic Wand tool works best when the area you're selecting is one color (or close to one color) and has distinct boundaries from the remaining area.

The Magic Wand tool works just as well as a way to select the subject of an image instead of the background. Select the background and then choose SelectOInverse to swap the selections for the rest of the image.

The amount of feathering determines how sharp or smooth the edges of the selection are. For the image in Figure 11-28, I applied a Feather radius of 2 pixels by choosing SelectOFeather (Ctrl+Alt+D or ^+Option+D on the Mac) and then typing 2 in the Feather Radius field in the Feather Selection window.

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