Selection with Color Range

Color Range dialogue boxAdobe Photoshop’s Color Range dialogue box (menu)->Select->Color Range, gives you the ability to generate a selection (mask) from a specific colour or colour range. This can be applied to either the entire image or within a previously defined selection. The resulting mask will be created across all layers and cannot be limited to the current layer.

This is a more reliable method of selection than the Magic Wand or the Quick Selection Tool. In many ways it offers the same control as the Magic Wand, but you have more visual and immediate control over what is added or subtracted from your selection.

Using Color Range

  • Open the Color Range dialogue box (menu)->Select->Color Range.
  • Choose Sampled Colors  from the Select dropdown (fig.5). Using the eyedropper (fig.2), click on the colour within your image that you want to build your selection from.
  • You can also select a predefined colour range from the Select dropdown (fig.5).
  • Widen or narrow the depth of your selected colour(s) with the Fuzziness control  (fig.1) . This is controlled either by sliding the horizontal bar or directly typing in an amount in the field provided.
  • To add other colours to your selection, use the Add to Sample button (fig.3).
  • To remove colours from your selection, use the Subtract from Sample button (fig.4).
  • Selection and Image (fig.6) radio buttons allow you to toggle visually between your selection and the original image. Your choice here will have no affect on your chosen selection.
  • If you wish, you can invert your selection with the Invert option (fig.9).
  • Selection Preview allows you to see how your selection would look in a variety of formats and modes: Grayscale, Black Matte, White Matte and Quick Mask.
  • You have the option to Save or Load a previously saved selected colour range (fig.8). This does not save or load the a mask – only the range of colours that you have selected.
  • Click on OK to complete or Cancel to abort.

Further reading

Photoshop: What is a selection?

Choosing the best selection tool

Feather via the Option Bar

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