Editing Trick – Making a Selection Stand Out

Usually, technology and I don’t get along. 

Therefore, the idea of starting this Photoshop project was a little daunting. I had great ambition in the beginning – I got some inspiration from this infographic with all of its interactive features and thought about creating something the viewer could mouse over and have fun with. But I’m not that good.

In the end, I took a look at this infographic and decided to go from there. I liked the simple, clean look and the way each of the geographic divisions stood out – this would be a good starting point for examining how much states or regions spend on arts education – but it looked almost too plain. I wanted to give the selections a little more depth, so this is what happened:

I started by opening up my chosen image in Photoshop and increasing the image size. Then, I zoomed in to about 375% so I could get a more defined outline of the object I wanted to select. I used the Lasso tool to select the state of New York. I wanted to make this selection its own separate entity, but I was unable to create a new layer because the selection was empty. (Honestly, it took a while to get used to this whole “layers” thing.) The quick fix here was to fill the selection with a color.

color

Now that the selection was filled, I was able to right-click within it and select “Layer via cut”. I was free to manipulate New York however I pleased.

To make my selection stand out more, I borrowed from a tutorial used to create the rollover graphics that I thought about creating in the first place. With my outline still selected I went to the Styles panel and started fiddling around with the different preset styles found in the drop-down menu. In the end, I chose the Buttons preset and the Bevel and Emboss, Inner Glow, and Drop Shadow options. This gave my selection the three-dimensional look I was going for.

final

Granted, this is still pretty rough and I’ve still got a lot to learn about Photoshop, but I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I’m really looking forward to doing more research and improving upon this project!

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