you can fly!? Alpha Skills Lesson #5

Basic Selection Tools: the Lasso
Hey cowboy - just throw the lasso to catch your selection.
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In this lesson, let's look at a few other selection tools commonly used when working in Dogwaffle, or in other digital painting and image editing tools, for that matter.

The Lasso tool - Yehaa!

The left-most Alpha tool in the second row of tools on the Tools panel is the Lasso tool. It lets you 'throw' the selectionhow to use the lasso tool around the pixels you desire to pick up with this lasso.

Note the tool tip, indicating that the SHIFT key can also be used, to add to the selection. When using the right button instead of the left button, you get to remove from the current selection, cutting or chipping away at it.

A simple example:

Let's say we painted something simple with the particle brushes, in this case using Age Decrement on the Dogwillow preset.:

< click to enlarge

Perhaps you'd  further enhance the drawing with a few pods of flowers here or there, and did other enhancements such as for embossing and drop shadow.

< click to enlarge
Now you'd possibly like to pick up the whole picture as a custom brush, to paint with it, stamp it down in several places, or do other crazy stuff with it.

You could use the Lasso tool to generously include some of the surrounding areas so as to make sure that the shadow is included for the most part.

Of course, some color keying in the brush adjustments might also be useful after you pick it up. That's just part of the "what's next" after making the selection and copying it into the brush.

You might wonder: why not just used the rectangle selection tool in this case? Yes, that's true. Imagine however for a moment, if there were other elements in the image, around the one of interest shown here, and you had to work your way 'around' those obstables, to make sure they don't get selected when you go to the menu:

Brush> Use selected as brush....

The Rectangle selection tool wouldn't discriminate, it will pick everything inside the rectangle. The Lasso will also pick everything, but everything within the drawn lasso region, not the rectangular bounding box of the drawn lasso region. Thus, you can avoid certain areas, making sure they don't become part of your selection. And herein lies one of the main uses of the lasso selection tool. Of course, even more selection-power is to be had with the combined use of the Shift key and the left or right mouse button, to add or remove to and from the prior selection, respectively.

Below is a short video clip that shows you again how that Lasso selection tool works:

(Flash video with audio - turn on the speakers and adjust
the volume on the animation controls below the video).

There are sooooooo many things you can do with this tool. I mean, anytime you want to 'draw' a bubble around a picture or portion of it, you can essentially lasso it.

Here are a few examples:

Ok, if you thought that was cute, let's see a more practical example: How about tracing some large letters, and turning a boring & plain blocky text string into a somewhat more artistic, bubbly edition.

"What's the goal again?"
How about turning this:
into this . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here's the video capture - sound track removed - can you guess which tools are used, in what sequence, and why? See below for answers.

  Here are a few key steps:
  1. Text tool (before the movie starts) to draw PD in large fonts size
  2. Control-Shift-Left_drag to reposition (translate) the image inside the window
  3. Lasso tool to select outside of 'P'
  4. Shift-lasso with right button to cut out the selection inside the hole in the 'P'
  5. Dito inside the 'D' shows no change result since the outer 'D' hasn't been selected yet
  6. Shift-left-lasso to add 'D' outside to the selection
  7. Store alpha to see the current selection as a greyscale image.
  8. Shift-Right-lasso to remove the inner art of 'D'
  9. 'Get Alpha' in stored alpha window to see the updated selection
  10. Clear selected to Primary color (blue) or secondahry color (Pink)
  11. Paint over the area with Smear Paint (Totally Oil preset), showing that it only paints inside the selected regions.
  12. Experimenting with alpha Effects to see add Glow or embossing and shadow.
  13. Store alpha of original selection
  14. Shrink alpha for smaller inside selection
  15. Clear smaller selection or apply effects in there.
  16. Combining the two stored selection: Replacing the original, then Subtracting the shrunk (smaller one) to show a resulting 'rim' edge.
  17. Do alpha effects like embossing on just the rim edges. or just the inside. Great nested bevel effects.
  18. Pick up the image as custom brush
  19. Store the custom brush and adjust color keying and other elements like Hue
  20. Adjust custom brush transformation, PostFX (Shadow drop)
  21. Paint liberally - enjoy

Here are a few key steps in this sequence:




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