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Selecting with the lasso tools

From: Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos

Video: Selecting with the lasso tools

There are three kinds of Lasso tools that you can use to draw a selection. I have the regular Lasso tool selected in the Toolbar. This is a free-form Drawing tool. So, I'm going to come into the image and click. And then when I click-and-drag in any shape, that will create a free-form selection in that shape. Now, I usually don't use this tool to try to draw closely around photographic elements. So, for example I wouldn't try to select the letter C here with this tool. It's just too hard to control. But, the Lasso tool does come in handy for Adding to or Subtracting from selections that you've made with other tools.

Selecting with the lasso tools

There are three kinds of Lasso tools that you can use to draw a selection. I have the regular Lasso tool selected in the Toolbar. This is a free-form Drawing tool. So, I'm going to come into the image and click. And then when I click-and-drag in any shape, that will create a free-form selection in that shape. Now, I usually don't use this tool to try to draw closely around photographic elements. So, for example I wouldn't try to select the letter C here with this tool. It's just too hard to control. But, the Lasso tool does come in handy for Adding to or Subtracting from selections that you've made with other tools.

And that's a great example of the fact that you can use more than one Selection tool to create just the selection that you want. I'm going to deselect by pressing the common shortcut for Deselect, Ctrl+D on the PC or Command+D on the Mac. Now, let's take a look at the Polygonal Lasso tool here, which is used for drawing straight edge selections. I'll select the Polygonal Lasso from the options for the regular Lasso tool, down here in the Options bar. And then I'm going to come to the image, and I'd like to select this letter I.

Now, this isn't a perfect rectangle, as you can see down here. So, the Rectangular Marquee tool won't do. Instead, what I'm going to do is click a number of times to set anchor points for the corners of some straight edges that this tool will draw for me. I'll start here at the top right; I'll use that loop that's hanging off the bottom left corner of this tool icon to click on the top right of the letter I. And then--I'm not pressing down on my Mouse, I'm just moving the Mouse over to the next corner point--and I'll click there.

And here is another corner point. And then I move all the way down to the bottom of the eye. Again, I'm not pressing down on my mouse, I just moving it, so that the cursor comes down here to the bottom of the eye where I will click to set another anchor point, and one here, and one here. And then I'll move back up to the top of the eye. When I get close to the beginning of my selection, I'll see a small circle just to the bottom right of the tool icon. That means that if I click once here that will close the selection. If you don't see a circle icon when you get near the beginning of a selection then double-click, and that will also close the selection.

Now that I have that selection, let's do something with it. I'd like to fill this eye with another color. I happen to have red as my foreground color. If you don't, take your Eye Dropper tool and click on the red in the image to set the foreground to red. And then I go upto the Edit menu, and down to Fill Selection. I'm going to use the foreground color to fill with, and I'll click OK. And now to Deselect, I'll press Ctrl+ D on the PC or Command+D on the Mac. Finally, let's take a look at the Magnetic Lasso tool. Again, I'll select whichever Lasso tool is showing in the toolbar.

I'll go down to the Options bar, and I'll click the Magnetic Lasso tool there. With this tool I can draw a selection automatically along a high contrast edge. Like the high contrast between the black letter C and this silver background. There are some options for this Tool. And unfortunately, you just have to guess at these before you get started, or you can try to draw selection and if you don't like it, you can come back in here and move the sliders. In this case, I'm going to leave most of the sliders at their options, but I would like to have kind of a soft edge on this selection.

So, I'm going to drag the Feather slider just very slightly over to the right. I'll put it in about 4 pixels. You have to use a light hand with the Feather slider or else you get a really soft edge selection. Now when I come into the image, and as I did with the last tool, I'm going to click once to set an initial anchor point; I'll click right here. And then I'll release my Mouse--I am not pressing down on my Mouse--I'm just moving my cursor along the edge of the letter C. And as I do, you can see that the tool is setting these little squares, or anchor points, which are snapping a selection right to the edge of the letter C. And it's doing that based on contrast.

Now, when I get to a place like this where I have to have a specific anchor point, I can add my own anchor point by clicking. And then I'll move over here and I'll click again. And then as I go around a curve, I let the tool do it for me. Now, if I move too far away from this high contrast edge, sometimes this Tool will set down and anchor point that I don't want. The last anchor point is black. If I want to eliminate that anchor point, I'll tap the Backspace Key on my keyboard. And I move my mouse back, again not clicking.

When I get back toward the edge, and I don't have any stray anchor points, again I'll just move my cursor along this edge--not clicking, but letting it set down the anchor points-- and fasten the selection thread to those point. Here at this sharp corner, I'm going to click to set my own point. I'll click here to set a point. And when I get back to the beginning of my selection, if I see that small circle, I'll click once to end the selection; or if I don't see the small circle, I'll double-click. And that will close the selection. If I didn't get the result that I want, I would deselect and come down here and try to alter the Width, Contrast and Frequency options for this tool.

The Width option determines how far away from the edge I can be as I move my cursor around; increasing Width using more latitude. So, I might want to do that over on this side, but I would be awful careful around this side, so that I didn't accidentally select the letter I as well. Here I can tell the tool how much contrast an edge needs for it to set down anchor points. And I can use a Frequency Slider to increase or decrease the number of anchor points that are set down. The fewer the anchor points, the smoother a curved edge will be, but the less accurate it maybe.

So, now that I have a selection, let's do something with it. I'm going to go to the color chips at the bottom of the toolbar, and click the double-pointed arrow there to set the red as my background color. And then I'm going to get my Move tool. I'll move inside the bounding box that appears, and I'm just going to click-and- drag slightly to the right and up to move the selected black letter C. And then I'll deselect by pressing Ctrl+D, Command +D on a Mac. What moving the black C did is leave a space behind, and that space is filled with whatever color I happened to have in the Background chip in my toolbox.

So that gives me a little bit of a three-dimensional effect on this letter. And notice that softness at the edge of the black letter, and at the edge of the red space that's left behind. That was caused by just that slight increase in the Feather option that I used here with the Magnetic Lasso tool. So, that's a look at the three kinds of Lasso tools; the Magnetic Lasso for automatically making a selection along a high contrast edge; the Polygonal Lasso for making straight edge selections; and the free-form Regular Lasso.

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This video is part of

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  1. 6m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Overview of the editing workspaces
      3m 34s
  2. 43m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 21s
    2. Making the most of the tools in Elements
      4m 6s
    3. Arranging the panels
      4m 32s
    4. Zooming and panning
      4m 3s
    5. Viewing multiple photos
      3m 51s
    6. Undoing
      5m 15s
    7. Cropping
      3m 46s
    8. Resizing
      7m 18s
    9. Saving images and examining formats
      6m 2s
  3. 19m 23s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 59s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      4m 33s
    3. Creating new layers
      6m 51s
  4. 38m 28s
    1. Why use selections?
      4m 20s
    2. Selecting with the marquee tools
      3m 56s
    3. Selecting with the lasso tools
      6m 40s
    4. Selecting by color and tone
      6m 22s
    5. Refining a selection
      4m 51s
    6. Selecting hair
      5m 42s
    7. Hiding content with a layer mask
      6m 37s
  5. 46m 54s
    1. Why use adjustment layers?
      5m 15s
    2. Adjusting color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 32s
    3. Correcting lighting with a Levels adjustment layer
      3m 32s
    4. Adjusting part of an image with an adjustment layer
      5m 19s
    5. Exploring auto adjustments
      3m 55s
    6. Improving shadows and highlights
      2m 14s
    7. Removing a color cast
      1m 47s
    8. Fine-tuning with Color Curves
      3m 16s
    9. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    10. Correcting camera distortion
      5m 32s
    11. Reducing noise
      2m 56s
    12. Sharpening
      6m 10s
  6. 20m 51s
    1. Creating a panorama
      5m 6s
    2. Merging bracketed exposures
      6m 0s
    3. Removing people from a scene
      5m 25s
    4. Combining group shots
      4m 20s
  7. 29m 24s
    1. Removing blemishes
      3m 42s
    2. Reducing wrinkles and circles
      4m 16s
    3. Enhancing eyes
      5m 19s
    4. Removing red-eye
      3m 15s
    5. Adjusting skin tone
      2m 21s
    6. Removing dust spots
      4m 7s
    7. Removing content
      6m 24s
  8. 52m 36s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      5m 18s
    2. Using the latest Camera Raw controls
      3m 16s
    3. Camera Raw basics
      6m 22s
    4. Making use of the histogram
      3m 45s
    5. Setting white balance
      3m 44s
    6. Adjusting lighting
      4m 28s
    7. Adjusting color saturation
      2m 9s
    8. Cropping and straightening
      3m 58s
    9. Reducing noise
      3m 33s
    10. Sharpening
      3m 38s
    11. Synchronizing edits to multiple photos
      3m 36s
    12. Outputting from Camera Raw
      6m 14s
    13. Using Camera Raw with JPEGs
      2m 35s
  9. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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