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Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool

From: Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

Video: Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool

The Magnetic Lasso tool is one of those tools than often gets overlooked, but it's useful when you need to select an object with a high-contrast edge like these balloons against the blue sky. With the Magnetic Lasso tool, you can get this job done without even holding your mouse down. You might say it's the lazy woman's way of selecting. I'm going to choose the Magnetic Lasso tool from the toolbox where it can be found in the flyout menu with the other Lasso tools. Then I'm going to move over to this balloon and I'm going to click once right on its edge and then I'm going to lift my finger off the mouse and I'm just moving the mouse around the balloon with my finger not pressing down on the mouse button.

Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool

The Magnetic Lasso tool is one of those tools than often gets overlooked, but it's useful when you need to select an object with a high-contrast edge like these balloons against the blue sky. With the Magnetic Lasso tool, you can get this job done without even holding your mouse down. You might say it's the lazy woman's way of selecting. I'm going to choose the Magnetic Lasso tool from the toolbox where it can be found in the flyout menu with the other Lasso tools. Then I'm going to move over to this balloon and I'm going to click once right on its edge and then I'm going to lift my finger off the mouse and I'm just moving the mouse around the balloon with my finger not pressing down on the mouse button.

As I do, the Magnetic Lasso is laying down anchor points, attaching this thread to the balloon. Now once in a while it will make a mistake, like it did here, where it's actually attaching itself to some of the pixels in the sky. Here is how you back up to fix a mistake like that. I'm going to just move this thread back and then I am going to press the Delete key, that's the Backspace key on a PC, and that will delete those anchor points and then I can continue to move around. Also, if I find a problem area like that, I can click to add my own anchor points, rather than relying on the tool to set the anchor points automatically.

When I get to an area where there really is no problem and there is nothing out to decide. I can make it easier on myself by increasing the width of the brush tip. To do that on the fly, I'm first going to press the Caps Lock key so that I can see what the current width of that brush tip is. Then I'm going to use my Right Bracket key to increase the brush size, just like I do with any Brush tool. Now as I go around the balloon here, I don't have to worry about being so close to the balloon. There is another mistake. Let me back up and start it again. So you have to keep your eye on it, but it pretty much does the work for you.

When I get to the beginning, I'll click and there is my selection. There are a couple of other options in the Options bar that I'll explain to you. The Frequency option governs how many anchor points are set down around the edge. If you're working on a bigger image then you'll need more anchor points to keep the selection through to the edge. If you are working on an object that doesn't have as much contrast with its background as this one does, you might want to increase the Contrast field a little bit too. But the Magnetic Lasso has given me that selection that I want in this case.

Even though the Magnetic Lasso tool is often hidden from view behind the other Lasso tools in the toolbox, do keep it in mind as an option, when you are working on an object with a high-contrast edge.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Essential Training
Photoshop CS4 Essential Training

103 video lessons · 67331 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 4s
  2. 25m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 25s
    2. Working with tabbed documents
      5m 15s
    3. Using tools efficiently
      3m 51s
    4. Arranging panels
      3m 53s
    5. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      2m 50s
    6. Saving a custom workspace
      3m 0s
    7. Changing screen modes
      2m 0s
  3. 19m 3s
    1. Touring the Bridge interface
      6m 31s
    2. Opening images from Bridge
      1m 20s
    3. Reviewing images
      4m 42s
    4. Finding images
      6m 30s
  4. 44m 53s
    1. Setting preferences
      4m 23s
    2. Choosing color settings
      8m 11s
    3. Zooming and panning
      5m 27s
    4. Resizing and image resolution
      3m 17s
    5. Adding to the canvas
      2m 2s
    6. Rotating the canvas
      1m 44s
    7. Choosing color
      4m 49s
    8. Sizing a brush tip
      3m 4s
    9. Undoing and the History panel
      5m 0s
    10. Saving and file formats
      3m 29s
    11. Creating a file from scratch
      3m 27s
  5. 37m 58s
    1. Making geometric selections
      6m 14s
    2. Modifying selections
      4m 43s
    3. Combining selections
      3m 16s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      5m 34s
    5. Refining selection edges
      4m 12s
    6. Using Quick Mask mode
      2m 18s
    7. Selecting with the improved Color Range command
      4m 32s
    8. Selecting with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    9. Using the Background Eraser tool
      3m 7s
    10. Saving selections
      1m 34s
  6. 39m 56s
    1. Understanding layers
      5m 43s
    2. Creating layers
      5m 12s
    3. Working in the Layers panel
      2m 19s
    4. Locking layers
      4m 17s
    5. Working with multiple layers
      4m 6s
    6. Merging and flattening layers
      3m 55s
    7. Adding a shape layer
      4m 43s
    8. Basic layer masking
      4m 23s
    9. Using layer blend modes and opacity
      5m 18s
  7. 23m 19s
    1. Cropping
      3m 26s
    2. Straightening
      3m 17s
    3. Transforming
      4m 42s
    4. Working with Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    5. Using Content-Aware Scaling
      5m 6s
  8. 1h 10m
    1. Reading histograms
      4m 21s
    2. Using adjustment layers and the Adjustment panel
      6m 4s
    3. Adjusting tones with Levels
      7m 49s
    4. Limiting adjustments with layer masks
      5m 40s
    5. Using masks in the new Masks panel
      6m 9s
    6. Limiting adjustments by clipping
      3m 6s
    7. Adjusting with Shadow/Highlight
      5m 7s
    8. Adjusting with Curves
      7m 37s
    9. Adjusting with Hue/Saturation
      3m 42s
    10. Adjusting with Vibrance
      2m 16s
    11. Removing a color cast
      4m 26s
    12. Using the Black & White adjustment layer
      2m 39s
    13. Using the Dodge Burn and Sponge tools
      4m 11s
    14. Reducing noise
      2m 39s
    15. Sharpening
      4m 42s
  9. 38m 0s
    1. Using the Spot Healing Brush tool
      5m 17s
    2. Using the Healing Brush tool
      5m 51s
    3. Using the Patch tool
      4m 52s
    4. Using the Clone Stamp tool
      4m 8s
    5. Enhancing eyes
      9m 29s
    6. Changing facial structure
      5m 0s
    7. Softening skin
      3m 23s
  10. 44m 38s
    1. What's a raw image?
      4m 25s
    2. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      7m 35s
    3. Working in the Basic panel
      7m 54s
    4. Working in the Tone Curve panel
      2m 21s
    5. Working in the HSL/Grayscale and Split Toning panels
      3m 46s
    6. Looking at the other Camera Raw panels
      3m 45s
    7. Using the Adjustment Brush tool
      4m 2s
    8. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      3m 56s
    9. Working with multiple files
      6m 54s
  11. 21m 6s
    1. Using the Brushes panel
      8m 30s
    2. Filling with color
      3m 49s
    3. Replacing color
      4m 14s
    4. Using gradients
      4m 33s
  12. 16m 55s
    1. Working with point type
      9m 59s
    2. Working with paragraph type
      3m 17s
    3. Warping text
      3m 39s
  13. 25m 23s
    1. Adding a layer style
      4m 6s
    2. Customizing a layer style
      3m 35s
    3. Copying a layer style
      3m 5s
    4. Creating a new style
      3m 32s
    5. Using Smart Filters
      5m 22s
    6. Working in the Filter Gallery
      5m 43s
  14. 13m 14s
    1. Auto-blending focus
      4m 47s
    2. Creating Photomerge panoramas
      4m 2s
    3. Combining group photos
      4m 25s
  15. 23m 27s
    1. Creating an action
      7m 16s
    2. Batch processing with an action
      6m 36s
    3. Using the Image Processor
      9m 35s
  16. 29m 20s
    1. Printing
      11m 32s
    2. Making a contact sheet from Bridge
      6m 12s
    3. Creating a web gallery from Bridge
      7m 17s
    4. Preparing photos for the web
      4m 19s
  17. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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