Basic Selection Tools
This is a handy-dandy image that's just gonna help us look at the selection tools and see what these selection tools do. And what we've done when we set up our toolbar is we made all of our selection tools comfortably sit right here on the left-hand side, in one grouping. So we have our rectangular tool, we have our elliptical tool, we have our lasso tool, we have our polygonal lasso tool and we have a magnetic lasso tool. Of all of these tools, I think that they're important to know, but you probably will find yourself using them less when you see some of the other selection tools. But we have to know how these tools work because there might be an instance where you need this tool as opposed to just the quick selection tool that people seem so quick to jump to. So the marquee tool is exactly what it is. If you click and hold and move it around, it will make a selection in a restricted rectangular marquee. If you press and hold shift, it will maintain a square. So if I wanted to select...
that square, I can press and hold shift and I've got that square selection maintained. Now if we look up here, we can see, what is this trying to do? We can make multiple selections within one layer. So right now we have this set to make its own layer, that's a new selection, making its own new selection. But we can say, maybe wanna add another selection to this or subtract a selection from this or intersect it with a selection. Now, while we can use these different tools up here to do that, we can also use hot keys to do that as well. For instance, if I wanted to subtract an area from this with the same marquee tool, if I press the alt or option key and then drag in pressing and holding shift, you can see that I've now made what looks more like a block piece, like a Tetris piece or something like that. So, if I wanted to add to that selection, I would just press and hold shift and I can add to that selection and make that selection a little bit larger. So yeah, you can revert to these tools up here, or you can press alt or option as you use that tool. Now notice when I press and hold shift, it adds a plus sign next to there, telling me that anything I do with this selection tool is going to add to this selection. Now this doesn't just work with this selection tool, it works with all the selection tools. So it's important to know these shift and alt keys. And also notice that when I press and hold shift, it's automatically selecting that add the selections. If I press alt, it's going to minus the selection and subtract from that selection. If I press shift and alt, it's going to allow me to alternate them. So notice how I've always told you, if you're working with a tool and you wanna see if it does something different, press shift and look at that tool, press alt and look at that tool, try shift-alt and look at that tool, try shift-alt-control and then try to bend over backwards at the same time while you're doing all that, and you might get a different variation on that tool. So if I go ahead and just clear this out and make that selection again, press and hold shift, making that selection with the marquee tool, you can see here that I have something called feather. Now I haven't done anything with this tool yet at all. All I've done is made a selection. But what I can do with that selection is if I add a new layer here and I press something like shift-F5, I can now fill that selection with any color that I want and it's restricting it just to that selection. So I made the layer, I made the selection, made a new layer, and I can fill that with whatever I have selected. If you've already made the layer and then you make a selection, you can use something like a mask to block that out. For instance, if I go ahead and delete this and I make a new layer here, press shift-F5, fill it with black, I can actually turn this layer off, make a selection with that marquee tool, go back to this layer, and if I make a mask on there, notice how it automatically makes the mask for that selection. So that's important to know also, that if a layer does not have a mask yet and you put a mask on it, if you already have a selection made, it will automatically default that to that mask. So I can go ahead and delete that. Next over here you're gonna see something called feather. So if I change the feather on this to something like, let's do something big like 50 pixels, and I press and hold shift and drag here, notice how my racing ants that I get around here now have a radius edge around it. What's happening is, it' giving me, even though I made a square, it's giving me a visual representation of what it's gonna look like with a 50 pixel feather. So if I were to add a new layer, press shift-F5 and fill with black, notice how now that selection has that faded and feathered edge to it. Now that's gonna be a strict feathered edge for that layer. I can't go back at that point. So if I needed to make a strict rigid square, I would have to change that feathering back and go ahead and delete this layer. So I'll go ahead and change this back to zero pixels on the feather. If I press control and space bar, that's how I'm zooming in and out, control and space bar, right click, I can say fit on screen to get me back to where I was. Now alternatively, you also have the elliptical tool here. If I press and hold shift on the elliptical tool, it's gonna make a perfect circle. If I just use the elliptical tool freeform, it's gonna allow me to move it around like this. So press and hold shift, gives me the elliptical tool and then I can move that around and make a selection for an area. Not ideal when you're trying to make a perfect selection for this circle at that point. So I'm gonna go ahead and look at another tool in here and look at the lasso tool. Now the lasso tool is a freeform selection tool all by itself. It doesn't do anything with squares, it doesn't do anything with circles. It just allows you to, whatever you click and whatever you select, it's going to make. So, some people have a lot more steady hands than others and can find this tool to be very successful to make a circle around here. But as you can see, I can't draw that very well with a mouse, nor can I probably do that with a pen. But it makes a freeform selection of exactly what I choose. Now what you'll notice here is that I made a complete circle all the way around and it went ahead and made this connection for me. If I were to go right around here and then unclick, it's going to make that half circle selection. Basically when I unclick from that lasso tool, it's automatically gonna snap back to the starting point and make that my selection. So a lasso tool, in terms of making things exact and precise, is not exactly the best thing to use, but it can be very useful when you wanna select a certain area and make a mask and then maybe feather that out. So we talked about custom vignettes before, correct? If I were to go ahead and make a selection around this area like this, just like that, and then go ahead and make a new layer, and we're gonna go ahead and invert this selection. So to invert a selection, you press control, shift and I, and it's going to invert your selection. So my main selection was the circle in the middle. By pressing control-shift-I, it will invert it so that my selection is no longer that selection circle in the middle. If I press shift-F5, it's going to fill that with black. And now I have that freeform selection set to black. It doesn't have a very beautiful cut edge in the center, but if you use that in conjunction with things like the feathering, you can create your own vignette using the lasso tool. If we look at the next tool which is the polygonal lasso tool, this tool makes straight lines. It's designed to make strictly straight lines. So if I were to zoom in to this area right here, click on right here, click and you see that there's a little circle next to it, click right here. When I first started, it needed me to start somewhere, and I can click on each of these points, and that makes a selection using a polygonal lasso tool. If I press and hold shift while I'm using the polygonal lasso tool, it will ensure that I'm only moving straight up and down or at 45 degree angles. You see that, how I'm rotating around? If I were to do this freeform, I can use any angle I want. Pressing and holding shift will restrict me to 45 degree angles, so I can make a more precise selection as I go around this square and make an actual square selection by clicking around. And again, this is the same concept. If I were to double click right here, it's automatically gonna snap me back to where I started. The next tool we have in the selection tools is the magnetic lasso tool. And this magnetic lasso tool, in years past, was something that we used quite a bit, before Adobe came up with all these really incredible selection tools. This was the way that we would select a person in an image, because it would magnetically find pixels within the image that you could trace around. It has a couple of settings that are gonna be a little bit different than what you're used to seeing for the other selection tools that we've already looked at. But if I were to zoom in to this area of this test image, click right here, start going around, notice how it magnetically is going to that area on the image. If I go up too high, though, it's gonna start making its own points all over the place. So these settings up here that you see along the top for this tool are really helpful to keep and restrain that magnetic lasso tool from going too far. So if I adjust the width to something like 50 pixels, that gives me a little bit more leeway to go a little bit higher, up to 50 pixels higher as I go around with the magnetic lasso tool before it's gonna start trying to make other points for me. See that? It went 50 pixels out before it started making other points. So if I were to change this to something like 100 pixels or, yeah, 100 pixels, it allows me to go really far before it starts making its own points for me. But those points are important because as it makes those points it's trying to make those points for me. If I click, I tell it to basically reset itself and go from that point. If I don't click, it's not gonna anchor itself and it's gonna go all over the place. So this is a tool that we used a lot in the past. I still use it a little bit to this day because I'm used to using it. The other setting that you're gonna see here is the frequency, and that's the frequency of how many points it's gonna put down automatically by itself before you click on the trigger. So if I make this five as a frequency, you're gonna see that it's gonna start, it's gonna make less points here. I'll go ahead and change it to something like 100. And now it's gonna start making a lot more points. You see that? A lot more anchor points before it allows me to go too high, which makes that selection a lot easier, and it's really restricting this tool from going outside of the bounds of that area. So while the magnetic lasso tool is a tool of the past, it's one of those tools that we often overlook because we don't understand what those other settings are. And those other settings just help us select the area a little bit better without going too far out of our bounds. So you notice I'm going pretty far out of the bounds here and it's making more selections now. So you do have to be a little bit careful with this tool if you're gonna use this tool. But more importantly, there is another tool in here that we use a little bit more frequently now than the magnetic lasso tool or the polygonal lasso tool, and that would be something like the magic wand or the quick selection tool. I'm gonna start with the magic wand first, because the quick selection tool is the new way of making selections very quickly and very easily, whereas the magic wand is an older way of doing it. Before the quick selection tool came out, the magic wand was a tool that we used. And the magic wand has a couple points here that we need to take into consideration. That's the tolerance, the contiguous, or sample all layers. If there were multiple layers in here, it would be smart enough to know what to make the selections from if we were to click sample all layers, but the tolerance is what I'm concerned with now. So the magic wand tool, if we just click right here when it's set to contiguous, it's only going to select the pixels that look like that color gray that I told it to select. This is actually a pretty powerful tool that, if we use it in conjunction with that contiguous, we can make a selection for certain areas in our image that we might not have been able to make without it. So I'm gonna press command or control D, to deselect. Command or control D will always deselect whatever selection you have set, and that will change us to contiguous. Or unclick contiguous. When I click that, notice how now, with that unchecked, it's selecting any like gray pixels to what I told it to select. Turn contiguous off, so you can see that again. It's not selecting the grays that are inside this circle. Same thing would happen here if I select this purple. It's only selecting that purple now because contiguous is checked. If I uncheck contiguous, it's gonna select anything that's purple. But notice how right here inside that little center one right here, how we got a whole bunch of selections that we're not quite sure what it's selecting? What that's saying is that it's selecting anything that's purple within a tolerance of 32. So if we change that tolerance down to five and then click on that purple, we get less of a selection. If we change that tolerance to something like 100, and then click, it's gonna give me anything that is remotely close to that purple and even go even farther outside of that because it's selecting darker colors because the tolerance is set so high. So this is a varying way that you can make selections on your image for a specific color pixel. That's what it's looking for, it's looking for pixels that look like that pixel that you've selected. If we were to check this gray block now, look at the tolerance as we look at these shaded corners at the top. It's selecting anything that's that color gray, plus expanding even further into the dark shadowy areas. So I'll press command or control D to get out of there. And now I'll go to my tolerance and set that to five and click on that gray. Notice how now it's much different. Because there is, you don't even see it but there's a slight feathered edge that's happening here. So it's not selecting those areas. So this tool, well, we typically don't use the magic wand as much as we used to. This is a tool that we would use to select the background, to get the subject away from the foreground. It's still a very valid tool to this day. I use it when I'm trying to select a certain color pixel within my image that I might wanna make a mask from that and then feather it out, and I can make some really nice selections from that. Now, let's go ahead and go to the magic, the quick selection tool actually. The quick selection tool, this is the new, I guess I can't say the new tool, it's been around for quite a while, but it's new to me 'cause I've been doing Photoshop since like 1998. So this tool is, to me is a new tool that is very helpful for making selections that, really, of all the tools that I use for making selections, this is probably the one I'm gonna use primarily. So I'm gonna go ahead and reduce the size of this brush a little bit so you can see this. This allows me to make selections based on the size of the brush that I'm using. So if I use a very large brush, it's gonna make a very large setting. So notice how we still have brushes even here in something like a selection. While this brush is not necessarily the brush that we would think of as making a stroke to actually fill in with color, this is a brush to select certain sizes. So if I make a very small brush and I start clicking around here, notice how the selection that it's making is not like the magic wand tool. It's not saying, I'm gonna select everything that's gray. It's just saying, you made a small brush and you made a very small stroke, so that's what I'm gonna select. But it's very smart in that if we make a very large brush, and then we click and make that stroke, look at how it selects a whole area now. So this tool can be very frustrating if you make a very big brush with it and then you start clicking on your image, and you're just gonna be like, aghhhh, because it's selecting so much stuff with one big stroke. I tend to use this brush rather small and use it with something like a size like that. As I click and I drag, it's going to select more areas that are like it. Now this, unlike the other tools where you had to press and hold shift to ensure that it was making the selection, you don't have to press and hold shift. By default, if you look at the top, it's already got the plus sign selected for it, so I can go anywhere else in my image and start making selections. And I don't just have to select the gray. I can even select the blue at this point too. And I can select all around my canvas and it's automatically adding to it. If I press alt or option though, notice how the inside of that circle now goes from a plus sign to a minus sign. And now I can restrict what I'm gonna make that selection from. So just press alt or option, click around, and now I can pull that blue away. Press alt or option, start painting inside this gray, and it's gonna start pulling that area away as well. Get rid of that area. So then if we were to add a new layer here, press shift-F5 and fill this, shift-F5, not shift-F6, and fill this with, let's just make a different color here. Yellow is okay. That's the selection that we actually made.