Magic Wand

The Magic Wand is a great tool for selecting large areas of the image fairly continuous tone. In my example, the sky is fairly easy to select with the Magic Wand. Just click in the open area of the sky to make a selection.

By default, the Magic Wand often won't select all the pixels you want. Here only part of the sky is selected. There are two important options for the Magic Wand you can change to affect how much is selected.

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Tolerance determines the similarity of pixels to select. A lower value selects few pixels very similar to the pixel you click; a high value, more pixels. Generally, the default value of 32 is good. If too many pixels are selected, lower the tolerance, and try Magic Wand again. If not enough pixels are selected, don't raise the tolerance; it is easier to just extend (or add to) the selection. If you have made

a selection, and want to make it bigger, just hold down the k Shift key and make a second selection - using the shift key adds the second selection to the first. The LShift key is usually the easiest way to make an existing selection larger. Four or five quick clicks usually suffice to make a good selection. There may be a few "spots" of marching ants that are difficult to select, but don't worry about them. They might not make a difference to the edited image and are easy to fix when you edit the mask later in the process.

The Contiguous option sets Magic Wand to select only pixels in a contiguous field around the pixel you've clicked. This is useful for selecting a field of color in one part of the image. Turning off the Contiguous option selects pixels similar to the clicked pixel across the entire image.

The Sample All Layers option selects pixels based on the currently visible layers, i.e., what you see on the screen. Typically, I leave this option on.

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