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selecting leaves against sky
I'd probably try a blend mode that wouldn't need to select. Possibly darken - as the leaves and branches are dark enough that they'd be darker than most things you'd do to the sky.
Tyeise -- I've got to admit that I've missed that wonderful tip in my previous experience... I do selections and then fiddle around trying to make them fit right.
Tom -- thanks for asking your question.
Tyeise -- thanks for giving a really good answer.
There's several ways to do this, but this is the best way:
Go into the channels. Pick a clean-looking channel that has the good contrast. (Two of them would've worked here, but I used the blue channel.)
Duplicate this channel. Do this by grabbing the blue channel with your mouse and drag it down to the little page thingie at the bottom of the channels pallette (just as you would to duplicate a layer). You can now do whatever you want to this duplicated channel. In this case you want to select the leaves (or sky), so you want to further boost the contrast in this duplicated blue channel even more.
So, bring up the curves dialogue box and steepen the curve, as you see in this attachment. Click ok.
You now have a channel by which to use as a selection to grab the leaves.
In order to turn this channel into a selection, on a PC you would put your cursor on this duplicated blue channel and Ctrl+click. This will activate the selection (showing the marching ants).
If you want to select the trees, you'll need to invert the selection, then copy paste to a new layer for example, or, prior to Ctrl+clicking, you'd need to invert the duplicated blue channel. Either way you'll end up where you want to go, which is to make a very fine selection of a 'difficult to grab' item in a pic.
There are refinements to this method, but this is the guts of it. It's the quickest, most accurate way to make a selection of this kind, where there's decent contrast in a picture between lights and darks.
I agree with Tyeise, selecting without selecting is the key to creating seamless corrections. It is a shame that folk learn about selections before blending - but selecting is easier to teach and probably more initially helpful to producing quick results. Once blending is introduced, selections still jump to the front of many people's mind when there can be better ways - if only they were known. <g>
The same for layer masking, I learned layer masking before blend if sliders back in v3 of Photoshop, but blend if sliders are often quicker and easier and sometimes better than a mask/selection.
So, along with darken blend mode - layer option blend if sliders can also islolate the various tonal ranges:
Also a small article on various forms of masking, including luminance masking:
Hope this helps,
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