How To Get Rid Of Marching Ants In Photoshop | Understanding The “marching Ants”: Visualizing Luminosity Selections

Greg Benz Photography

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Understanding The "marching Ants": Visualizing Luminosity Selections


Hey, guys! Greg Benz here and today. I want to help clear up the confusion around marching ants like these. When you’re working with Luminosity selections in Photoshop using the new check selection function in lamenting aversion. Five, These marching ants are something that just confused almost everybody, They’re really kind of a gross oversimplification of what a luminosity selection is. They weren’t great for simple selections, but they’re just not that helpful. When you’re working with luminosity selections, let me demonstrate how and we’ll start with the basics. So if I click on M to get a rectangular marquee draw this out, you know that inside this is selected and I can do pretty much anything I want in there and outside is not selected and I can’t make any changes there, So if I click on B for a paintbrush and I start painting, I can paint inside, but I cannot get outside. Those lines, that’s what the selection is doing. It’s preventing me from making unwanted changes outside of the selection. What’s actually going on behind the scenes here? If we click this check selection visualization in Lomenzo, you get this representation of the selection, just like a layer mask. It’s actually a new layer in your document. That’s just a temporary layer to help you see it, but it’s showing you exactly what the selection is, which, in this case, pretty obviously white is selected and black is not so just like a layer mask, white reveals black conceals in this convention. Here we can, in fact, make changes here in Lumens. If I wanted to, I could start painting black on this and actually chip away at the edges of the selection or I could even go and grab white or any grayscale. I want start drawing on it, and then when I click this button again, it’s going to reload that as a selection, so this utility and Ylim Enzi allows you to both see a selection as well as change the selection and you can use any tool you want. I could apply a curve adjustment to that preview. I wanted to so all sorts of things you can do with it, but it’s really helpful for understanding What’s going on here if I start painting with this now, we’re gonna see that, yeah, well. I can’t paint outside those lines. I’m sure enough that’s what that selection is, so let’s try this now with a luminosity selection because obviously the complexity goes up, and that’s why things get confusing, so I’m deselect this. Let’s recreate a new blank paint layer and I’ve got this little gradient strip I’ve created at the bottom as a reference at the left-hand side of this is black and the Right-hand side is the brightest possible yellow to cover the full spectrum just as a reference and we want to make a luminosity selection, so click down to the new live selection mode and we can click on any of these red buttons to create a selection, so for example. I click on l2 We get the lights to selection just like we did at the beginning of the video, but now that we had this selection below, we can see that the yellows have also been selected, so it’s taking the whole image into account. Well, let’s figure out like what it is about these marching ants like how does. Photoshop determine where in marching ant should go. If I grab my paintbrush. And once again with red paint starts to paint across this image. Well, obviously I can paint inside the ants. That’s that’s pretty clear but notice that I can paint outside the ants as well, but I can’t paint very much on the dark stuff, So this selection obviously is preferential to the bright stuff and it’s trying to minimize a bunch of paint on the dark stuff. For example, if I go down to pure black, I really can’t paint anything on it at all, but it doesn’t tell me exactly where the selection is or why this edge has been selected, so lets. Grab a guide and drop it down over the edges of our selection here down in this greeting because that’ll be the easiest way to identify, so we’ve just put these markers over the edge of this selection, lets. Go visualize this active selection. What’s happening here if we look at the info panel, look at the RGB and the brightness values in HSB outside of the selection. Things are very, very dark over the left. Here things are darker. The magic at this point here is notice. RGB values 127 and the brightness is 50% so the marching ants are being laid down at the place, where things that are brighter than 50% meet things that are darker than 50% So if I jump from something super bright, like 77% brightness here down to 9% brightness, while I get in marching ant along that edge or for dancing around the edges. The selection here we can see that well looks like right around here or 50% selected so somewhere in this little spot here should be marching ant, and if we load things back up, Yep, sure enough. That’s where you know. Those boundaries of the marching ants show up, but looking at the actual selection notice that, you know, even though the marching ants are kind of constrained to this part of the fog, tons of the image has a selection. If I start painting on the top of this image, I’m still getting like right here. For example, I’m at 40% selected, so I can pin down a lot of red paint if I paint over an area that’s 40% selected. You know, two or three times? I’m basically up to fully painted, so the marching ants aren’t really telling you anything about what’s being protected. In fact, they’re they’re really kind of useless for luminosity selections, and that’s why we had this new visualization tool in order to bring that up and understand exactly what’s going on. Let’s clear this out and let’s just try it one more time. Take a look, you know, real world. How might we use that? So when you get rid of these guides here and let’s get rid of our gradient. Now let’s say that. I want to bring up more of this. Atmospheric fog. It’s a really nice separation in the image. I’d love to bring out even more of it, so we do that with a Dodge and burn layer and we want to paint white to accentuate the white of the cloud you, but we want to do through some kind of a lights luminosity selection to target as much as we can just the cloud and not the trees around it to really create that separation. So I think it Lights 3 is probably going to be pretty darn close. I really don’t know, and I can’t tell by looking at the luminosity at the marching ants, But if we check the selection on it. Yeah, we can see that. It did a nice job. I mean, for the most part, it’s not selecting a bunch of trees. It’s really just selecting the right parts of the fog here, so we can further accentuate this. Make this event even better selection before we start working by going up to image adjust and let’s do the levels. What we’re doing is actually modifying this preview to give us a modified lights 3 I’m just bringing this in to create more selection here. Hit, OK if I wanted to. I could grab a black paintbrush. And actually, you know, this is not really relevant to this particular selection, But if I wanted to, I could start to black out, lets. Go ahead and keep up the flow here. I could, you know, protect these areas that I don’t want modified through my selection and this is the sort of thing that’s really helpful, for example, like this little extraneous stuff here to just get rid of it, so you have a nice separation between what you’re trying to adjust and what you’re not, you know, for things like this way up here. I’m not gonna paint that far out of the lines, but for the stuff that’s closer in like this. This might be the kind of thing you want to do to your selection to just make it a little bit more targeted and give you some more control, but once you’ve got it looking the way you want, It Just hit the check selection again to have it loaded up. Obviously, the marching ants are reflecting a much greater selection of the target area here. So that’s that’s a good sign. Let’s load up our white paintbrush. I’m gonna hide the marching ants because they really just aren’t that useful. Let’s undo that need to take the flow way down. I always dodge and burn with something. Like 1 To 3 percent, very low amounts gives you much more control. Otherwise, you’re going to have obvious brushstrokes and things that just don’t look very natural and we can see already. We’re starting to bring out a lot more of these clouds. I’d be thoughtful about where you drop them. Maybe some of these background trees that are poking through it. I want to paint over them and let them continue to add a little bit of that mystery as they shine through there, but we can see with our refine selection. We’re able to just in a really nice way. Target this and bring out more of that cloud mystery, so I hope that at a minimum, you’ve walked away from this video with a better understanding of what the marching ants are and they aren’t, which is to say for luminosity selections. They really aren’t that useful, and for the most part, I would just hide the marching ants, but if you’ve got loom NZ version 5 be sure to check out the new check selection feature, it’s a great way to see exactly what’s going on as well as further refine your selection and for more information about lament Eeeh head over to Greg Benz, Photographycom slash Lumens eeeh.