I have an image of a joystick.. I only want to select the grey area so I can overlay an image.. custom modded joystick. I want to duplicate the layer to leave the original, then in the second layer I want to cleanly get rid of the black areas (buttons, joysticks, and joystick sides, and also get rid of the colored buttons and have a transparent background.
I can then easily select the grey area and past into that area.
I tried multiple ways, but they're not working. How the heck do I learn to use the elliptical marquee tool? I draw a circle and it's never the right size.. how do resize that circle to be exactly the size in the image? Will grids help me easier?
It needs to be perfect, but I'm getting bad edges especially on the colored buttons because of the rasterization pixels.
The important thing to remember is that Photoshop has a very wide range of tools and command to select things. If the gray is important, then one way to do it is to select based on gray, instead of having to draw it yourself. One way to select by tone or color is to use Select > Color Range, sample the color, expand the Fuzziness to include enough of the variations in gray, then take that selection and convert it to a layer mask.
One thing I forgot to do is set a better blending mode for the pattern layer. That would help it merge better with the shading in the joystick image.
That approach might work well enough for a mockup. If you are trying to be precise enough to print from, then instead you will want to outline the buttons and such, but instead of fighting with the marquee tools, consider creating a vector mask containing paths drawn with the shape tools (e.g. Ellipse, not Elliptical Marquee) and Pen tool. This takes more training if you are not already familiar with editing vector paths, but is much easier to edit both precisely and rapidly, and is resolution independent.
I appreciate the help. Mine didn't look as good as yours, so I thought of another way. Youy did mention the word vector. I opened it in Illustrator and did an Image Trace of just black and white. I found some settings that made nice circles and ovals. I had to fill in some spots with black. One circle was messed up on one side, so I duplicated the good side and flipped it horizontally. I also h ad some spots erase. After that I selected the transparent section and pasted my image into it. I had the original image as a layer, so I selected the outside and deleted that so only the image is in the grey. I then lowered the opacity of the image. It looks fantastic.