Selection Basics

Selection Basics

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Make a Selection in Photoshop



There are several ways to select an object in Photoshop. Once the object is selected, the non-object areas can become masked and invisible. This technique is often used when compositing a series of objects that were photographed one at a time.

The selection bag of tricks includes, Magic Wand, Quick Selection, Rectangular Marquee, Elliptical Marquee, Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Polygon Lasso. and Quick Mask. You can also use the Pen tool to make a selection.

For more information, check out the other topics in the Selections section of the Photoshop CS6 Topics page.


Step One

The Magic Wand tool (w key) makes a selection based on color.

Step Two

If you are trying to make a selection with obvious edges and contrast with the background, try the Quick Selection tool (w key).

Step Three

The Rectangular Marquee and Elliptical Marquee tools (m key) work well in selecting a circle, square, ellipse or rectangle.

Step Four

For large rough selections, the Lasso tool (L key) does a great job.

Step Five

As you click-drag around an object, the Magnetic Lasso tool sticks to the object shape and makes a selection.

Step Six

If you are dealing with a straight sided object, the Polygon Lasso tool can easily trace the object shape.

Step Seven

With the Quick Mask feature, the selection is painted using the Brush tool.

Step Eight

The Pen tool (p key) can be used to outline a shape. Once the path is compete, it can be converted into a selection.

Step Nine

Use the Refine Edges option to fine tune your selections.

Step Ten

Selections are saved as Channels and Layer Masks.

Which Selection Method is Best?

It depends. Based on your image, you'll find that one method works better than the others. It helps to familiarized yourself with each of the tools and their options so you'll grab the right tool from the toolbox and get the best results.


Stock Photos from 123RF