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Chapter 1. Retouching and Compositing fr... > Overview of Your Image Manipulation ...

Overview of Your Image Manipulation Toolbox

Photoshop offers a bulging toolbox of implements that can handle every imaginable retouching and compositing chore. In the non-digital world, such a toolbox would contain brushes, etching knives, dyes, pigments, a set of the venerable Marshall’s Photo Oils, and maybe an airbrush. Photoshop contains the equivalent of all these tools, plus many more. This section is an overview of the most important capabilities of Photoshop for making the kinds of modifications we explore in this book. All of them are covered in more detail in later chapters.

Selection Tools

The selection tools are probably the single most important set of Photoshop features you need to master. Only by selecting exactly the right area of an image can you apply changes only to the portion that will benefit from the modification. For example, you may want the main subject of a photograph to stand out a little more dramatically. Sharpening the subject and/or blurring the background a little can produce the effect you’re looking for. However, to apply Photoshop’s sharpening or blurring effects, you must first select the area to which the effects will be applied. That may be simple (if, for example, the portion of the image is rectangular or circular and can be easily selected using the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee tools) or more difficult (if the image area has fuzzy, furry, or irregular edges).


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