MacMost Now 886: Pixelmator Paint Selection

The latest version of Pixelmator introduces a handy new way to select part of an image. You can paint with a brush to add to or remove from a selection and cut out a person or object. You can then apply filters to that selection, or invert the selection to apply filters everywhere else.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 886: Pixelmator Paint Selection.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at the paint selection tool in Pixelmator.

So the paint selection tool is something added in the last update of Pixelmator. It is another in a long series of different ways where you can select part of an image. In the past you might have used the Magic Wand tool in say Photoshop or maybe Smart Lasso in Preview.

Well with this tool here, the paint selection tool, you basically paint to select. So I'm going to try and select me out of this photo. I have a brush here and I can change the brush size here. I can just paint and you can see it will select me as I paint over parts of me and will add more as it learns more about what I am selecting. So I'll just fill in here around my ear, grab some hair, and just keep going. It is always going to select the area that you paint and then any similar nearby areas that it thinks also belong.

What I can do here is I can stop and you can see it has that selection. Now I can use the shift key, and you see my cursor changes to a plus + and the option key changes it to a minus -. So I'm going to + and then keep drawing holding the shift key down and you can see now it selected even more.

So holding the shift key down and selecting more I am going to keep painting until I select everything.

Then also notice that sometimes it is going to select things that you don't want. That is where you get to use the minus -. Here it selected a portion of the background. I'm going to do option and select minus and just paint that out and you can see now that's not selected anymore.

Now I'm going to add the glass to the selection, get my thumb in there, and you can see it is going to reselect area and that is fine since I am adding. Let's see what I've got there. Oh, it selected this again so let me option and deselect it. There. So now I've got a pretty good outline of me. There is another area that I want to deselect. There we go. So I've got a pretty good outline.

I can test this by hitting Command and X to cut. You can see that it pretty much cut me out there. Add a little bit more here. Again I have to remove this part which is very similar to the color of my shirt. So Command X and there we go. We have a pretty good cutout very quickly by painting rather than selecting.

So now what can you do with this? Well the next thing you want to do is you want to refine the selection a little bit more. You can do that under Edit/Refine Selection right here. Now with this I can then more clearly see the selection. It kind of masks out the rest there. I can increase the size of the selection or decrease it. But it is where I want it to be right now so I'm going to leave it at zero.

But I can Feather it. What feathering does is it adds a little bit extra around the edges but it is semi-transparent. So it is kind of going to create this feathered look around the edges. This really works well. It doesn't work so well if you copy and paste it into another image because you are going to get a little bit of the background, kind of a fuzzy version of the background on the end. But if you are going to just change the look of either what is inside the selection or outside the selection then feathering is a good idea.

So I'm going to feather just at 5% and say okay. Now I can for instance see I can cut it there again or I can Command C for copy and create a new document and paste it in and I can see what it is I have selected. I can see the feathering can probably be a little bit better there so I am going to go back in here.

I'm going to undo the Refine Selection and I'm going to do it again here. I'm going to do just a little bit more feathering, 26% there. Now when I copy and create a new document and paste it in I can see I get a much nicer version here where you can see just a little bit of the background showing through which is fine because I want to use that as I change the image.

So now if I were to copy this out of here I can see that I actually have another document open there and I can paste into it. You can see that it pastes in pretty well. You can see there is a little bit of feathering around the edges there but that's okay. That kind of works as long as the backgrounds are about the same. It almost makes it look like a shadow because the background is darker in the other image.

But let's go back here and what I really want to do is add an effect. So I'm going to go to View and Show Effects here. It is going to bring up the Effects Browser. Now I'm going to hit All Effects and just let's add something simple here. Like something that would change the exposure. I can drag and drop that onto the selected area and I can change the exposure. You can see it is not changing the background exposure at all.

Now in a lot of cases it is not as useful to actually change the selected area but change the rest of it. So I can go to Edit and I can go to Invert Selection. Now what actually happens is it has selected everything except what I had selected before. Inverted it. So when I drag and drop the exposure onto the background I can actually change the exposure of the background while leaving the selected area the same.

Exposure is pretty boring. So we can do something really cool like say make the background black and white, like that. I can undo. There are tons of different really cool effects that you can apply. You could go for something really bizarre like pointallize the entire background. You can see it leaves the selected area unchanged. Or you could, you know, add some sort of other cool effect in the background like that, like a fog effect. You can pixelize it. There are tons of effects you can play with. There you can see it created an old photo and now you can see I am in full color and the background looks like an old photo. Of course I could have done the opposite of that by applying that to the selection here instead of inverting the selection and doing it back there.

So here is a little bit of fun using the paint selection tool in Pixelmator. Hope you found this useful.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 886: Pixelmator Paint Selection”

    Joel Anderson
    6 years ago

    Very cool. I’ve had and used Pixelmator for a long time, but have barely scratched the surface. You have succeeded in showing me some simple, yet very useful and powerful, features that I didn’t know about. Thanks.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    6 years ago

    I tried Pixelmator ages ago but watching this video it seems to be better than Photoshop.
    I do that a lot in photoshop and it gets a bit annoying because I nearly always after finish it off with the Clone Tool. Good video Gary

    Stan Kays
    6 years ago

    Great video Gary. It seems with each new version of Pixelmator, its graphic design capabilities just get better. Maybe next time discuss various options placing text around objects.
    Thank You..keep them coming

    6 years ago

    Thanks Gary – another great video that has saved me hours of time!

Comments Closed.