Select Color Range: Highlights, Midtones, Shadows

The Select Color range tool lets you select various tones in your image based on the density. Selecting the Highlights selects the highlight pixels and also makes a gradient of pixels with a density between highlights and midtones. To make a quick density selection, use the Select>Color Range...

menu command to open the dialog. Open the Select dropdown to access the options for Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows.

Photoshop selects a predetermined range of tones for each of the selections for Highlights, Midtones, or Shadows. These often work well for making a quick selection, but sometimes you may want to select only the darkest shadows or a specific range of midtones. To access these tones, make a quick "bogus" adjustment layer to force Photoshop to select the tones you want Photoshop to select.

In this example, I created a "bogus" levels adjustment layer that makes the clouds well-defined highlights. It's then easy to use the Color Range tool to quickly select the highlights, then throw away the bogus layer, so that the well selected clouds remain.

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