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Articles & Tutorials

Adventures in Photoshop - Making Selections

by Jake Redekop

Summary : Creating and manipulating selections with the selection tools.

This month we're going to explore the various methods to create and manipulate selections with the selection tools.

FYI: You'll notice a small black arrow in the bottom right corner of some of the tools in the toolbar. This designates that the displayed tool is part of a tool group. Right-click to reveal the other tools in the group.

The selection tools allow you to select a portion of an image to edit. While you have an area of the canvas selected, you can edit the color, position, size, etc. of it while the portion of the image outside of the selection is protected.

Marquee tools: The Rectangular Marquee Tool allows you to make rectangular selections. Not surprisingly then, the Elliptical Marquee Tool produces elliptical selections.

TIP: Holding the 'Shift' key while using the Marquee Tools constrains the selection so that you create perfect squares or circles.

Lasso Tools: The lasso tools are great for making more complicated or irregular selections. The three tools in this group are the Lasso Tool (freehand selections), the Polygonal Lasso (shapes with straight edges)and the Magnetic Lasso (automatically finds the strongest edge of an image).
The Magic Wand is a "shortcut" tool that makes selections based on color.
The selection tools can be used either alone or together to make precise selections via the options bar.

With 'New Selection' chosen, active selections are replaced by any new ones that you initiate; however, by choosing 'add selection', 'subtract selection' or 'intersection', you can edit existing selections! Practice selecting parts of an image using the tools we've covered this month. We'll build on these skills next month.