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The Lasso tool

From: Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

Video: The Lasso tool

The Lasso tool in Photoshop is probably the most flexible of all the Selection tools. That's not to say it's the most sophisticated, it's actually in some respects the simplest, but it allows you to create a selection of any shape you can imagine. And that's because with the Lasso tool, you're actually creating selections free hand. You're tracing or drawing to create the selection. As a result, I tend not to use the Lasso tool for creating initial selections, but rather I use it to modify existing selections.

The Lasso tool

The Lasso tool in Photoshop is probably the most flexible of all the Selection tools. That's not to say it's the most sophisticated, it's actually in some respects the simplest, but it allows you to create a selection of any shape you can imagine. And that's because with the Lasso tool, you're actually creating selections free hand. You're tracing or drawing to create the selection. As a result, I tend not to use the Lasso tool for creating initial selections, but rather I use it to modify existing selections.

In other words, to clean up a selection that isn't quite perfect. Let's take a look at the basic use of the Lasso tool. I'll start off by selecting the Lasso tool from the Toolbox, and then we can take a look at the Settings on the Options bar. We of course can choose to create a new selection, Add to an existing selection, Subtract from an existing selection, or Intersect with an existing selection, and then we have the option to Feather our selection. But I recommend not feathering in the process of creating the selection. Instead, saving that for later in your workflow.

I do recommend having the Anti-alis checkbox turned on so that the edges of your selections will be smoothed out a little bit. But as you can see, there's not a whole lot of options for the Lasso tool. We simply click and drag within the image to define the shape of our selection. We can also then hold the Shift key to access the Add to Selection option if we need to add additional areas to the selection. We can hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh if we want to access the subtract from Selection option in order to remove areas from the current selection.

And we can hold both the Shift and Alt keys on Windows or the Shift and Option keys on Macintosh to access the Intersect with Selection option. So that the area we draw will define the only portion of the existing selection that should remain selected. I'll go ahead and deselect that selection though, because for this image, I have an existing selection already saved, and I want to clean that selection up a little bit. So, I'll go to the Select menu and choose Load Selection. I'll make sure that the appropriate selection that I've saved previously is selected from the channel pop-up. In this case, the only selection.

It's called Chain, and then I'll click OK to create that selection. And if we take a look at the selection a little bit closer, especially, we'll find that the selection is far from perfect. There are some areas of the image, for example, that are selected and should not be. And I'm sure we'll find some portions of the image that are not selected, but should be. But here, we find an area that is not chain but it's included in the Chain selection, so I want to remove it from the selection, and that is exactly the type of task I'll typically perform with the Lasso tool.

So, I need to Subtract from selection, so I'll hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh, and then I'll start off from a position where the selection is in the right place and then I'll click and drag. And follow the edge of the area that I need to, in this case, subtract from the selection. And I'll trace that until I get back to the area where the selection meets, in this case, the chain, the object that I'm selecting in essence. And then I just loop back to my original starting point and release the mouse and that area is subtracted from the selection.

I'll press and hold the Space Bar key to access the Hand tool and then I can pan around the image. There's a portion here for example of the chain that is not included in the selection, so I can hold the Shift key. And then click, starting from inside the chain or inside that existing selection. And then I'll cross over that selection and follow the outline of the chain as carefully as I can and then loop back around to my initial starting point. And that area is added to the selection as well. There's another area here that I think should be included as part of that selection but it was not. That looks much better.

I can also zoom out just a little bit, and then pan around the image and look for any other areas that need to be cleaned up. Overall, the selection looks pretty good, but there are some areas that were not quite perfect. Up here, I need to add to the selection. So I'll hold the Shift key and then trace along that edge and loop back. And here's another area that needs to be subtracted from the selection. So I'll hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on Macintosh, and then adjust that portion. Looks like I didn't quite trace exactly along that chain, so I'll hold the Shift key in order to add to that selection and clean up that area.

And in this way, we are able to add to or subtract from our selections, and that is really in my mind the best use for the Lasso tool. Because it is so flexible, it's not the best tool for creating large selections, but it's certainly incredibly helpful when it comes to cleaning up or fine-tuning existing selections.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop
Photoshop CC Selections and Layer Masking Workshop

51 video lessons · 11259 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 1m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
  2. 46m 26s
    1. Selections, alpha channels, and layer masks, oh my!
      5m 48s
    2. Anti-aliasing and selections
      6m 6s
    3. The case for not feathering selections
      6m 50s
    4. Adding, subtracting, and intersecting
      7m 31s
    5. Inverting a selection
      3m 4s
    6. Mixing and matching selection tools
      2m 32s
    7. Using Deselect and Reselect
      3m 47s
    8. Temporarily hiding a selection
      2m 7s
    9. Saving and loading selections
      6m 14s
    10. Using the cursor for selections
      2m 27s
  3. 51m 42s
    1. The Rectangular Marquee tool
      8m 24s
    2. The Elliptical Marquee tool
      6m 2s
    3. The Lasso tool
      4m 55s
    4. The Polygonal Lasso tool
      6m 27s
    5. The Magnetic Lasso tool
      10m 9s
    6. The Quick Selection tool
      5m 33s
    7. The Magic Wand tool
      10m 12s
  4. 38m 38s
    1. Selecting the border of an existing selection
      1m 50s
    2. The Color Range command
      7m 19s
    3. Focusing a Color Range selection
      2m 55s
    4. Selecting faces with Color Range
      2m 31s
    5. The Pen tool
      5m 40s
    6. Selecting by luminosity
      3m 39s
    7. Selecting from a channel
      6m 13s
    8. Transforming a selection
      4m 4s
    9. Quick Mask mode
      4m 27s
  5. 50m 46s
    1. Combining layers into a single document
      1m 49s
    2. Layering images manually
      1m 55s
    3. Assembling a panorama automatically
      3m 1s
    4. Advanced blending
      4m 0s
    5. Painting to hide and reveal
      3m 24s
    6. Creating a selection-based composite
      2m 43s
    7. Select, then paint
      3m 28s
    8. Advanced mask cleanup
      6m 18s
    9. Creating an edge-fade effect
      2m 23s
    10. Using a filter to add an artistic edge
      3m 6s
    11. Using a brush effect to add an artistic edge
      5m 30s
    12. Transforming a masked object
      1m 51s
    13. Unlinking image and mask
      2m 53s
    14. Matching composite images
      2m 17s
    15. Adding layer effects with masks
      2m 21s
    16. Reviewing layer masks
      3m 47s
  6. 28m 58s
    1. Painting in an adjustment
      3m 20s
    2. Shades of gray
      3m 14s
    3. Using the Gradient tool
      4m 4s
    4. Adjusting a selected area
      1m 42s
    5. Creating a vignette effect with masking
      2m 13s
    6. Using a layer group
      3m 34s
    7. Working with multiple masks
      4m 5s
    8. Refining an adjustment mask
      6m 46s

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