You may find an image that is very intricate and want to change the background. What is the best way to select it? Every image is different, but you may want to try using the channels in Photoshop to make the selection:

  1. With your  image open, click on the Channels palette. Click on the eye from all channels in order to deselect them.
  2. Now, click one by one, making sure that when you select one all the others are deselected. This is to check which channel gives you the most contrast in the image.
  3. Right-click on the name of the channel and choose Duplicate.
  4. The only channel that you should have visible is the copy that you just made. Click on that copy.
  5. Press Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels window. On the Levels window, click on the white eyedropper at the bottom right.
  6. Now, move your mouse over your picture and click on a gray area. Anything less gray than that area is going to be white.
  7. After choosing your white point, you need to do the same with the black point using the eyedropper to the left and clicking on a dark gray pixel.
  8. If you want to keep something else from the picture, use a black brush to paint over it.
  9. Click now on the RGB channel. Pressing the Ctrl key, click on the copied channel.
  10. Click on the Layers Palette tab. You’ll see the marching ants around the dark selection. If you need to invert it, go to Select, Inverse.
  11. You can go back and forth and change what is in your selection.

This technique is useful when trying to replace backgrounds.

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