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In Photoshop CS5: Selections in Depth, author Jan Kabili offers a comprehensive tour of Photoshop CS5's selection features. Selection options are the key to performing creative imaging tasks, such as isolating photo adjustments and making image composites. This course covers selection basics as well as the nuances of selections, including selecting hair, refining masks, saving and recalling selections, working in Quick Mask mode, and creating selections based on image properties, such as luminosity and color channels. Exercise files are included with the course.
The Polygonal Lasso tool, which is located behind the Regular lasso tool in the toolbox, is very handy for making straight edge selections. One use for this tool is to create straight-edged graphics like a triangle. To do that, I'll click once with the tool to set an initial anchor point - and this is important. I am not going to press down on the mouse; instead, I am just going to move my cursor to another point and click to create another anchor point with a straight line selection segment between the two points.
I'll move here and click to create another anchor point, and then I'll move up toward the original anchor point, and when I get near to it, I'll double-click to close the selection. Now I am going to fill that selection with my background color, which happens to be white, by pressing Command+Delete on the Mac, that's Ctrl+Backspace on the PC, and I'll deselect by pressing Command +D on the Mac, or Ctrl+D on the PC. The polygonal lasso is also useful for creating a selection around a straight- edged image object, like this newsstand.
To begin my selection, I'll move to one corner of the newsstand here, and I'll place the tail of the Polygonal Lasso icon at the corner of the newsstand and click to create the first anchor point. Then, without pressing down on the mouse, I'll move over to this corner of the newsstand, and I'll click to make another anchor point. Here, I'll make a few short segments by clicking one more time and coming down here and clicking again. Each time I click, I am setting an anchor point and adding a straight-line segment to my selection.
I can unfasten those anchor points by pressing the Delete key. Each time I press Delete key I lose another anchor point, and then I can come back in and reset those anchor points by clicking. I'll continue around the news box, setting anchor points and making straight-line segments. When I reach this blue handle, I realized that I really don't have a straight corner; instead, I have a rounded corner.
So I would like to switch from the polygonal lasso, temporarily, to the regular lasso. To do that, I'll press the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on the PC, and click and drag, and you can see that the icon of the tool switches to the regular lasso. I am just dragging around this handle. When I get back to a corner like this, I'll release the Option or Alt key to switch back to the Polygonal Lasso tool, and I'll click to set an anchor point. Then I'll continue to set my anchor points and straight-line segments.
When I get down to the bottom here, I am actually going to click outside of the image, into the canvas, to move all the way around to the other corner. I'll click there to set an anchor point, and then I'll come to this curved corner. I'll click to set an anchor point, and again, I am going to hold the Option or Alt key and click and drag to switch temporarily to the Regular Lasso tool to get around that corner. Then I'll release the Option or Alt key, I'll click to set an anchor point, and I'll head up to this corner. I'll set a couple more anchor points and when I get back to my original anchor point, I'll double-click to close the selection.
Notice that I included a bit of the background here by mistake. I can get rid of that by switching to the Subtract from selection icon, here in the Options bar for the polygonal lasso. Then I'll come in to the image, and I'll click to set my initial anchor point here. I'll move along the edge of the newsstand to the opposite corner here, and then I'll click a few times in the background, and I'll double-click when I get near the original anchor point. Now, there is one thing about the polygonal lasso that might trip you up.
That is that if you click inadvertently, the tool starts to create this thread, and sometimes it's hard to know how to stop this thread. The solution is to press the Escape key on your keyboard. Now that I have made the straight-edged selection around the newsstand with the Polygonal Lasso tool, I'll use this selection to brighten up the selected area. I'll go to the Adjustments panel, and I'll click the icon for the Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer. That adds an adjustment layer here in the Layers panel and displays the controls for the brightness contrast adjustment here in the Adjustments panel.
I am going to drag the Brightness slider to the right to brighten just the selected newsstand without affecting the rest of the image. Notice that you can no longer see the marching ants here in the image. That's because when you have an active selection at the time that you add an adjustment layer, the marching ants are converted into a layer mask, which is just another way of representing a selection. So that's a look at the Polygonal Lasso tool. The next time you need to make a straight-edged selection, give this tool a try.
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