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Using the Marquee and Lasso tools

From: Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

Video: Using the Marquee and Lasso tools

The most basic Selection tools in Photoshop are the Marquee Selection tools and the Lasso tool. So, let's spend a little bit of time learning how these work and how you can customize them as you are working with them. So, here they are at the top of the tools panel, the Rectangular Marquee tool and the Lasso tool. They have letter shortcuts assigned to them. If I press the letter M, that switches you to the Rectangular Marquee tool. If I press the letter L, that takes you to the Lasso tool. Let's go back to the Marquee tool by pressing M. There is more than one Marquee tool. If you hold down Shift and press M, you can cycle back and forth between the Elliptical and the Rectangular.

Using the Marquee and Lasso tools

The most basic Selection tools in Photoshop are the Marquee Selection tools and the Lasso tool. So, let's spend a little bit of time learning how these work and how you can customize them as you are working with them. So, here they are at the top of the tools panel, the Rectangular Marquee tool and the Lasso tool. They have letter shortcuts assigned to them. If I press the letter M, that switches you to the Rectangular Marquee tool. If I press the letter L, that takes you to the Lasso tool. Let's go back to the Marquee tool by pressing M. There is more than one Marquee tool. If you hold down Shift and press M, you can cycle back and forth between the Elliptical and the Rectangular.

So, it's just a toggle. Shift+M to go back and forth. If you don't like the keyboard shortcut route, you can of course click on the tool and you will see the other tools in that slot, including some special case Selection tools where you can select just a single row or a single column if you need to do that. Let's go back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. The way the Marquee tool works, if you click and drag in a diagonal direction, you will be dragging out a random rectangle and you are drawing out the width and height at the same time. If you want to draw from the center as you are dragging, you just hold down the Option or Alt key and you will see it changes.

Instead of going from corner to corner, it goes from the center out from wherever you clicked and dragged. Now, the modifier keys are modifying the current behavior. So, if you want that modification, you need to hold down the key and let go of the mouse first. If I let go of the key first, like I am doing now, you will see it goes back to the unmodifier behavior. So, I am still having the mouse down. Hold down the modifier. It alters the behavior. Let go of the modifier. It doesn't modify it any more. So, again, when you are holding down a modifier key and you want that, let go of the mouse first then the key and it will get that behavior that you want. Okay.

So, that is just a basic regular rectangular selection. Once you have a selection started, if you put your mouse in the middle of it, you will see the cursor changes to show you that if you click and drag you will be moving that selection somewhere else. Note that you are not actually moving any pixels. You are just moving the selection marquee. To move pixels, you actually need to use the Move tool. That actually moves content. The selection tools just move the selection itself, by clicking and dragging. If you click anywhere outside of a selection, you will deselect that selection. So, selections are very temporary.

If you want to save a selection and use it another time, we will cover that later on. So, just a basic selection, you just click and drag, click inside to move it, click outside it to deselect it. Once you have a selection started, let's click and drag here. If I want to constrain it to draw a perfect square, I will hold down the Shift key. And now as I drag, it constrains it. Instead of just a random rectangle, it's going to be a perfect square. So, I will go ahead and click outside to deselect that. Now, if I want to draw a perfect square from the center of where I click and drag, then hold both modifier keys down together.

So, Shift+Option on the Mac, Shift+ Alt on Windows and click and drag. You will be drawing a perfect square from the center of where you dragged out initially. Now, once you have a selection started, if you want to add to an existing selection, you hold down the Shift key. You will see the cursor changes to a little plus sign on the main crosshair. If I want to subtract from a selection, I will let go of the Shift key here, I hold down the Option or Alt key, and it turns into a little minus sign on the cursor. So, let's go back to Shift to add. So, if I just click anywhere else in the image and click and drag again, I am adding a second selection to this marquee here.

Now, you will see that I am getting a random rectangle. I am not getting a perfect square. So, what if I wanted a perfect square at the same time? Well, here is where it gets a little tricky. The Shift key is adding to the current selection. As long as you keep your mouse button down, don't let go of the mouse. If you want that next selection that you are adding to also be constrained as a perfect square, simply let go of the Shift key as you have the active selection, then press it again. Now you are constraining that new selection to be a perfect square as well. You have got to be a little nimble with your fingers there. Okay.

Let's do that again. Let's add a third square. Again, we will hold down the Shift key to start adding to the selection. But it's not constrained. If I want that third one to be constrained, let go of the Shift key, keep the mouse button down, hold down the Shift key again, and it's back to being a perfect square again. Awesome! All right. Now, if I want to subtract from a selection, we hold down the Option or Alt key. Same principle. Click and drag and you start taking a bite out of those selected pixels here. And when I let go of the mouse, you can see I have made a kind of non-uniform selection here. So, I can actually create some pretty complex shapes just with the basic building blocks, by adding and subtracting to an existing selection.

You can also switch from tool to tool while you have an active selection. So, if I want to now do elliptical selections, I can type Shift+M to switch me to the Elliptical Marquee tool, or I can click on that tool slot and switch to it manually. Same principles apply. So if I want to add an elliptical selection to the current selection, hold down the Shift key, start dragging. Again, it's doing an oval shape at first. If I wanted to do a perfect circle, because I already have an existing selection, let go of the Shift key, press it down again, and now that new selection is a perfect circle.

Now, as I mouse over an existing selection and let go, it's going to merge and create this union shape here. Now, if I want to make a subtraction, hold down the Option key again. I am going to click in the center or the middle of this active area and take a bite out of it. So, Option+Drag, Alt+Drag. If I want that to be a perfect circle, let go of the Option key. Press it again. Hold down the Shift key, and I am doing a perfect circular bite out of that selection by holding both of those keys down at the same time.

This just takes practice to get a feel for it. I am throwing a lot of keys at you. Once you have done it a few times, it will feel a lot more comfortable. All right. Again, to deselect, just click anywhere outside of your existing selection. Well, I didn't mean to do that. I want to get my selection back. You can undo the last thing you did there by just doing Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. What does it mean to have a selection? So, a selection is basically a mask. Anything inside the selection will be affected by whatever you do, such as painting or running a filter or doing an adjustment or whatever.

Everything outside the selection is protected. It's masked. So, if I press the B key on my keyboard and switch to the Brush tool, you see I have a very small brush here. I am going to make the brush size a lot bigger by using my right bracket key on the keyboard. Just tap that a bunch of times to make it big. Now, if I start painting by clicking and dragging, you will see as I am painting outside the selection, nothing happens. But when I go into the selection, this is what I mean by just a very basic mask. Everything that's selected gets affected. Everything that's not selected gets protected.

So, I am obviously going to undo that painting, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. Switch back to a Selection tool. I am going to press L this time for the Lasso tool. Same principles apply. If I want to add to my current selection, hold down the Shift key. The Lasso tool lets me do freeform drawing. So, I can just create any random shape. If I want to subtract with the Lasso tool, hold down the Option key and drag through and take a bite out of that selection with a random shape. So, by switching between the Elliptical, the Rectangular, and the Lasso tools, you have a rich set of basic tools to create some pretty complex selection shapes, just by mixing and matching and holding down various modifier keys as you go.

Then when you are ready to deselect, just click anywhere outside the selection to make the marching ants go away.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

154 video lessons · 93185 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      50s
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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