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The Lasso tool is yet another Selection tool that works much the same way as the Direct Selection tool in Illustrator. It can be used to select either single objects within groups or single anchor point on a shape as well. The difference is that you'll be using a marquee method of selection when you're using this tool. It also differs in the fact that the Lasso tool is what we call a pure selection tool. There are no modifying capabilities like what you have with the Arrow tools. For instance, when you make a selection with one of the Arrow tools, you simply click on the object, it become selected, and then you can move the object around, edit the anchor points in the case of the Direct Selection tool, and all that kind of stuff.
With the Lasso tool, you simply make a selection and that's it. There's no modifying anchor points, there's no moving the object, it's simply selected. Let's take a look. In order to locate the Lasso tool, come over to your Tools panel and find this object right here. You can also hit the letter Q on your keyboard to instantly invoke that tool. Once you have the Lasso tool selected, you'll notice that it comes out, and it's a little cursor with a lasso attached to it. In order to make a selection with the Lasso tool, you simply come out and draw a selection around a piece of artwork.
Once you do that, you'll notice that it becomes selected and much the same way with the Direct Selection tool, you do not get a bounding box around this object. That's because this is essentially a free- form drawing of the Direct Selection tool. Let me grab the Direct Selection tool and show you exactly what I mean. The Direct Selection tool, just like the Lasso tool, when I make a marquee selection, will encompass whatever piece of artwork that you have inside the selection, just like that. But in the case of the Lasso tool, I actually get the ability to draw around shapes, which makes it a lot easier when I'm inside of a tight window or when objects are overlaid over the top of each other, for me to select the objects that I really need.
When I'm using the Direct Selection tool, I just get this big square and that's really difficult to use inside of complex pieces of artwork. So again, let's go back over to the Lasso tool here. Once I've the Lasso tool selected, I'm going to zoom in right down here in the bottom on this little piece of artwork here. So I'll zoom in, and then in order to pan this to the center of my screen, I'm going to use a really cool keyboard shortcut. I'm going to temporarily hold down the Spacebar key. When I do that you'll notice that my icon turns from the Lasso tool into the Hand tool, and with my Spacebar held down, I can then grab and drag my canvas, just like this.
It doesn't matter what tool you have selected in Illustrator, if you temporarily hold down the Spacebar key, it automatically turns into the Hand tool for just a moment, and allows you to reposition your artwork. This is going to eliminate the need to constantly go over to the Tools panel and click the Hand tool in order to use it. So remember, just temporarily hold down the Spacebar, click and move your artwork. Now that I've got my artwork in position I'm ready to start making a selection. You can see that this is a little difficult to get in between these objects, especially if I were using the Direct Selection tool.
If I try to make a selection of this, check that out. I get the bottom part of the paintbrush as well. You see that? If I switch to the Lasso tool, I can draw around this object, like so, and I only select that particular part of it. You can do the same thing for some of the paperclip or even these stars over here. I can draw around, and this is a really tight window, but with the Lasso tool, it's very easy. Just draw around and release your mouse.
Now it's going to take some getting used to, especially if you're not used to drawing with a mouse. I actually recommend when you're working in Illustrator, for making selections or using brushes to maybe use something like a drawing tablet. There are a ton of drawing tablets out in the market. They make it a lot easier to draw with. They even make monitors nowadays that you can draw directly on the screen. They are pretty expensive, but they're worth the money if you're going to be doing a lot of freehand drawing or making a lot of freehand selections. As you can see, the Lasso tool is great for performing precise free-form selections inside of Illustrator.
So the next time you're in a tight spot and need to select that one anchor point in a sea of thousands, try using this tool and see if it doesn't get you the result you're looking for.
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