Selection modification commands

The next group of commands in the Select menu actually holds five separate commands (Feather and the four Modify commands), each with a one-field dialog box. Sneak a peek at Figure 8-13.

Figure 8-13: Each command presents you with a single option.

i Feather: Feathering, which I discuss earlier in this chapter, softens the edges of a selection. Normally when cutting and pasting a selection or moving a selection within an image, you want to feather a pixel or two. Feather can be used with any selection except when you use the Select All command.

i Border: Tucked away within the Modify submenu, the Border command creates a selection of your chosen width centered on the marching ants that you see as the original selection's edges. In Figure 8-13, you see the original selection (left), the 4-pixel border (center), and that border filled with black (right). Border is available with all selections (including Select All), but when the entire canvas is selected, you see only the border on the inside of the original selection.

ii Smooth: It could happen that when you click with the Magic Wand to make a selection, you see all kinds of tiny 1- or 2-pixel areas within the selection that are not selected. Perhaps those few pixels were just a bit out of the Tolerance range for the tool. No worry! Use the Smooth command and a 1- or 2-pixel radius to snatch up those stray unselected pixels. Smooth can also eliminate jagged edges along the outside of your selection.

i Expand: The Expand command moves the selection border outward a specified number of pixels. Be careful, though, if your original selection includes sharp corners or points because using Expand rounds them off. (In the Paths palette, convert your selection to a path, scale the path, convert the path back to a selection. See Chapter 11 for info on paths.)

i Contract: The Contract command shrinks your selection by the amount specified.

If you make your way down the Select menu, you'll come across the Grow and the Similar commands, which are somewhat like the Magic Wand with Contiguous (Grow) and without Contiguous (Similar) selected on the Options bar. (In fact, they use the Magic Wand's Tolerance setting.) Grow adds to your selection any adjacent pixels of the appropriate color, and Similar looks throughout the entire image for similarly colored pixels. Use Grow and Similar when your initial selection consists primarily of a single color. Using these commands with a selection that contains lots of different colors generally results in most of your image being selected.

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