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Alpha Skills
Lesson 3

Adding and removing to/from the current selection

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Let's now see how to select multiple regions, adding and even subtracting to the current selection.

Let's say we have a graphic containing several colored areas. Perhaps as simple as this one:

Essentially a white background, and a few blue boxes (rectangles). Some f the boxes are overlapping (3 in the mouth region below), some are disjoint and not connected to others. There could even be other colors present, other shapes perhaps. You now want to select the eyes and the mouth.

As in prior lessons, you could use the magic wand tool. Click it.

Click the first shape, such as the right eye.

The problem is that if you then click the other eye, the original selection is lost, and replaced with the new eye being selected, alone.

So here's the trick to make sure that the current (prior eye) selection is not lost, and you end up adding the newly selected shape to the existing selection: press and hold the SHIFT key and then click the new item.

Now you can see clearly both eyes selected, as indicated by the marching ants along the edges of the selections.

It takes now just one more click, again with SHIFT key down, clicking on the mouth region to add it to the selection as well.

What could you do with this combined selection? Lots of things. You could pick it up into a custom brush, so as to be able to stamp down the happy face in many other places, at different colors, sizes, angles etc...(see prior lessons)

Or, you could of course use the selection to paint in them, or apply filters for special effects. You will even find a few special FX options right in the Alpha menu:

  • Alpha glow...
  • Drop shadow...
  • Emboss by alpha...
Those can add great depth effects. Here's an example with the Drop shadow...

(Click image to enlarge)

  part 1  -  part 2  -  part 3