What do you do when your boss comes up to you and says “Red apples are out… Make it green!” You have several options. You could try to find a green apple and reschedule the photo shoot, or you could try out Microsoft Expression Graphic Designer’s SmartSelect tool!
The challenge here will be to change the color of the apple, without affecting the rest of the image. We will need to create a precise selection around the apple.
Choose the Pixel Selection Tool (M) from the Toolbox and create a rough selection around the apple.
Click on the SmartSelect icon in the Toolbox or choose it from the top menu (Pixel Selection > Start SmartSelect). This will automatically tighten up the selection based on the pixel edges in the area you selected.
As you can see, it did a pretty good job at guessing what we wanted to isolate, but we need to clean up the selection a bit. We will use the SmartSelect tool options to do this.
When you select the SmartSelect tool, you will see the Toolbox changes to display three new tools: Mark In Regions, Mark Out Regions, and Erase Marks.
- Mark In Regions: This tool allows you to ‘mark’ areas and add them to the current selection
- Mark Out Regions: Removes areas from the selection
- Erase Marks: Erases areas you have marked. This is a key tool since you cannot Undo marks you’ve made.
To add areas to the selection, select the first icon, Mark In Regions, and mark on the areas of the apple that were not included in the selection. To remove areas to the selection, select the second icon, Mark Out Regions, and mark on the areas of the image that you want to remove from the selection. The Marking tools act just like a brush– click and drag to draw a line. Mark in Regions are indicated by a blue line, Mark Out Regions are indicated by a red line.
When your selection is complete, click on the Done button
Note: You cannot UNDO marking lines. If you make a mistake, use the Erase Marks tool to erase Marked lines.
Next we are going to expand and feather the selection. This will help the final color change to blend better with the rest of the image. This step is optional, and depends on the complexity of your selection and resolution of the source image. In our case, since there is some overlap of the model’s fingers with the apple and there are soft shadows, we will need to do this step.
From the main menu, choose Pixel Selection > Modify > Exand.
We are going to expand our selection by 1 pixel.
Now we need to Feather the selection. Feathering softens the edges of the selection, creating a blending effect.
From the main menu, choose Pixel Selection > Feather and choose a feather radius of 1 pixel.
Now we will remove the existing color from the apple. From the main menu, choose Image > To Grayness to desaturate the apple.
This step is optional. For a monochromatic object like an apple, this method works great and gives us more control over the final color.
Adding Color using Color Balance. From the main menu, choose Image > Color Balance. Our boss wants a green apple, so we will move the Magenta-green slider to the left (to add green). We added a touch of yellow as well to create a more interesting hue.
When you have your desired color, click OK.
That’s it! Here’s our shiny new green apple! We better get a raise for this one.