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I’m frustrated

Photoshop: Cannot modify selection after Select All.

Photoshop: Cannot modify selection (expand/contract/feather) after Select All. Used to work pre CS2. Please un-grey these options once again.

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  • 1
    As far as i know, in most versions of photoshop, except cs3, when you have your selection as above (select all) those options are geyed out.

    There are several solutions including actions and scripts, but this script seems to work well: Contract Canvas Selection.

    http://morris-photographics.com/photo...
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  • Jeffrey, do you remember why the behavior of that function changed?
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  • 1
    yeah - this seems really silly. especially DJ's comment about preferring a 4 step process to what was once achieved in 2.

    If the end result is the same, why not make it simple and intuitive like it use to be?

    Bring it back.
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  • 1
    The reason that some people like the way it works now (which is the way it worked in every version except CS3), and objected when we changed it in CS3, is this: They are making a selection of something within the image that touches one or more edges -- a sky or building, for instance. They then expand, contract, smooth, and / or feather the edge, in preparation for using the selection as a mask on an adjustment layer to darken the sky or blend another image over the building, for instance. If the selection is also modified along the edge of the image, an unwanted border is created along the image edge (a light line along the top of a darkened sky, for instance).

    So the reason that those commands are disabled is that since selection edges along the image edges aren't affected by those commands, those commands wouldn't do anything at all in the "select all" case, since *all* the selection edges correspond to image edges.

    With the CS3 behavior, where feathering or shrinking modified all edges of a selection, even if they were at the edges of the image, correcting the resulting selection along the edge of the image requires hand-painting or hand-selecting those pieces that touch the edge to get rid of the unwanted shrinkage, smooth-age, or feather-age.

    Avoiding the problem in the first place requires making the selection, then switching to quick mask mode, and using Filter->Other->Minimum... or Filter->Other->Maximum... or Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur instead of Contract, Expand, or Feather selection. (I actually don't even know off the top of my head how to do smooth).

    Any actions that modified a selection no longer worked properly if the selection touched the edge of the image.

    So this is another one of those cases in Photoshop where the "right" way for something to work depends on which way you look at it. Are you trying to make borders with selection commands, or are you trying to modify selections of objects in your image that happen to touch the image edges?
    • While this makes total sense for those instances, then shouldn't it at least be an option or preference to turn on/off maybe in General Preferences so that those of us who used it strictly for the Select All to get a canvas selection to modify with those sub commands. I had tons of actions that were created in CS3 that are all rendered useless because of the switch back to grayout for these Modify commands. Not fair.
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  • I really wish Adobe would put back the functionality of the Select>Modify -- Smooth, Expand, Contract, & Feather options for a "Select All" selection. This was a feature that was "fixed" in CS3 and I was ecstatic about it as previous versions and unfortunately--subsequent versions yield these Select Modify commands useless, grayed out when a selection has been made via the Select All command! The reason I was happy to use them in CS3...and wish they would do an update to fix CS4 and CS5, is because I had created many actions to create borders using the Select All command and then the Contract, Smooth, Feather, Border, and/or Expand sub commands. This was awesome because I could automate these borders, edges and/or photo corners without regard to the portrait or landscape orientation or the size of the canvas, because the "Select All" created a selection of the existing Canvase which could then be manipulated via the Select>Modify options. The current Photoshop version and the predecessors to CS3 did and do not recognize the marquee created with the Select All command as a selection that can be modified!!! How silly is this and how could it have been missed?

    Please, Chris Cox, if you're still out there, could you please address this issue which is very important to me! Thanks!

    Warmest Regards,
    Mama Shan

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Want the Select-Modify commands available after a Select All selection.
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  • Thanks for the support so far people.

    Maybe, as some have suggested, we could have a check box somewhere where we can enable/disable the effect of the modify command on a selection that touches edges? Having done a bit of programming in my lifetime, I would assume it should be a pretty trivial task.
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  • I’m all for it!
    I agree, the CS3 option to modify Select All scenario should be restored. It only makes sense.

    In the mean time, the Transform Selection still works on Select All.
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  • I’m excited
    2
    This works for the Photoshop versions prior to and after CS3.

    I downloaded Trevor's script but in watching it discovered, don't need it. The trick is to do your steps which are actionable in this order.
    1. Select All
    2. Select>Modify>Border -- Choose 1 pixel
    3. Select>Inverse (and at this point ALL the Select Modify options are available)
    4. Select>Modify>Contract (or any other options you need).
    I'm ecstatic about this work around, that is "Actionable" as I haven't got my head around writing Scripts, yet!
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  • To Andrew Hart--
    Re: "This method will not produce an unfeathered contracted selection. ''

    Seems that method works fine for me, as shown in this example, the edge border isn't feathered and I made an Action using the 4-Step process outlined above.
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  • This reply was removed on 2011-06-08.
    see the change log
  • I’m Frustrated and disappointed.
    This seemed like a silly thing to decide to remove, considering just how useful it really is. I know there is use for the way it currently works as well, but I think we deserve to have both, photoshop is supposed to be the most versatile image editor out there, yet a simple basic function has been yanked.
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  • In cs5.5 a “select all” selection will not contract. Has anybody else experienced this?

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Contract Selection problem in CS 5.5.
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  • I'm adding my voice to those who want the modify commands available when 'select all' has been invoked. This is something I've personally wanted chaged for years.

    I'm an ACI and I often find that this is a 'feature' that leaves new (and sometimes not so new) users scratching their heads in disbelief.

    IMO, the situation described by Russell Williams above - a selection touching an edge - is arguably valid for a selection that touches one, two or three sides of the canvas. However, it IS NOT VALID for a 'select all' where *all* selection edges touch *all sides* of the canvas.

    At the very least this behaviour should be a user preference - as others have suggested.
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  • Follow up - see my new post for another way to contract a 'select all'
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  • Hello, CS6 is out as beta and still hasn't got the option to treat "select all" in the way CS3 did. When we changed from CS3 to CS4 I was very disappointed, because this was a feature, I've used very often. Well, there are several ways to make a complete selection smaller but please keep in mind that the other features are not so easy to replace. Smooth for example. Our webstyle uses boxes with round corners. With CS3 it was very easy to make them. Just select all, smooth the selection, apply a border-layer style and that all. Without its getting complicated. I had to make a javascript that select all, enlarge the canvas, smooth the edges, and then crop the canvas.

    So if you have the chance to bring it back in what way ever it would be really, really great.
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  • I’m concerned
    When selecting an entire image (CTRL-A) or manually dragging box around entire image, I am unable to then modify the selection (Contract, Feather, etc.). I use this method a lot to create frames for images. Thanks for your consideration on this.

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Photoshop: CS6 Beta: Unable to modify selection after select all..
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  • Do Select All then Select Modify Border 1 pixel, then Select Inverse, now you can modify the other Select attributes like contract, etc. I made an action you can download from a previous post in this thread.
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  • Yep, quite disappointed when I bought CS6 last week and tried it as well.
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  • I’m confused
    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Contract Full Canvas Selections.


    Make the select all able to contract. Very simple idea, don't know why it was changed in CS6. Don't make changes for sake of change. If there is a group that somehow is offended that you could do such a thing, then make it optional, don't force this ridiculous concept of not being able to contract the selection on everyone. I can't imagine any possible logical reason for turning that feature off. But even if there is one, still I'm sure there are just as many people who use the contract function when selecting the entire canvas that it should be an option setting.
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  • I've probably run into this limitation hundreds (if not thousands) of times over the last years. It worked fine in CS3, but has not worked again since. And it would not be so troublesome if at least "border" did not feather the selection.

    Needless to say, I use an action to achieve the same result, but it doesn't feel right - I am sorry but I never saw a reason for this behaviour. As Mike Abbott pointed out before, if all 4 sides touch the canvas border, and you choose "contract", it's 100% clear you DO want the borders to contract. But even if only part of a selection hits a border, why on earth would that mean that I don't want it to shrink too? Contract means contract, period. I can understand that, in very specific cases, I might not want it to shrink certain areas (be along a border or any other place), but I think it's clear most of the time, when choosing contract, I want the selection to contract. Don't care if the selection is round or square. Don't care if it's close to the border, along the border or whatever. Don't care if it has 90o angles or not. It's simple: contract.
    And even if I might come across and exception every now and then, I would rather deal manually with such specific cases 1% of the time, that make the exception become the rule and have to work my way around it the other 99%.

    Please let me be clear: I love Photoshop, Adobe and all the geniuses that are working there, you are indeed very talented people doing an amazing work. But I can't understand that now (PS CC 14.2) I can plant trees or apply flowers along a border while I still can't contract a selection border (with or without flowers!) after Ctrl+A. Or accurately place the center of a radial blur. Or make old filters from the filter gallery work in 16 bit...

    We don't need a JDI for this. We need a JCI (Just Contract It!) xD

    Sorry, after so many years, I needed to rant a little about it!
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  • I’m frustrated
    I have to agree with Carlos' last major paragraph.

    It seems to me that the Photoshop team have really lost their focus. Far too much emphasis on adding 'exciting new features' - many of which, in my opinion, are half-baked, and of use to a tiny fraction of the user base. Too little emphasis on developing the core tools that once marked out Photoshop as the professionals tool of choice.

    Like Carlos - I like to be able to place a radial blur with accuracy rather than print out a 3D chocolate bunny...
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