One of Elements’ most impressive talents is its ability to let you select part of your image and make changes only to that area. Selecting something tells Elements, “Hey, this is what I want to work on. Just let me work on this part of my picture and don’t touch the rest of it.” You can select your entire image or any part of it.
By using selections, you can fine-tune your images in very sophisticated ways. You could change the color of just one rose in a whole bouquet, for instance, or change your nephew’s festive purple hair color back to something his grandparents would appreciate. Graphics pros will tell you that good selections make the difference between shoddy amateurish work and a slick professional job.
The big secret to selecting is to take the time to be accurate. It’s tempting to make your selections too quickly when you’re first trying your hand at this, but you’ll get better results if you don’t rush.
Elements offers you a whole bunch of different selection tools to work with. You can draw a rectangular or a circular selection with the Marquee tools, for instance, or paint a selection on your photo with the Selection brush. For most jobs there’s no right or wrong tool; with experience you may find you tend to prefer working with certain tools more than others. Often you’ll use more than one tool to create a perfect selection. Once you’ve read this chapter you’ll understand all the different selection tools and how to use each one.