Successfully Use the Marquee and Lasso Tools in Photoshop
Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
Frequently in Photoshop you're going to want to make changes to just an isolated portion of your image and selections in masking can help us do this.S Probably the most common selection tools are the marque tools and the lasso tool, so let's look at those first. Now in order to draw a selection we're going to open up a new file, and this new file is going to be maybe seven by five inches at, say, 150 pixels per inch. Click OK, you can see we have a new blank, white document. I'll zoom in once using Cmd + n the Mac or Ctrl + on Windows, just so that it fills our screen.
Now, if I tap the m key, I get the marquee tool. if I tap the l key, I get the lasso tool, but both of these tools have additional marquee and lasso tools Nested underneath them. So if you click and hold on one of them, you can see the fly out menu, and I've got my rectangular marquee tool and also my elliptical marquee tool. There's actually two additional tools, the single row and the single column marquee tools. They don't have the M key assigned to them. You can do this under the custom keyboard shortcuts, but because these tools are used just for kind of very specific reasons, and it's not that common, they don't have the keyboard shortcut. If we click and hold on the lasso tool, you can see that we have not only the regular lasso, which will help us draw just free form lines, but also the polygonal lasso tool, and the magnetic lasso tool. All right, so we're going to begin with the marquee tool. So I'll tap the M key.
And, if I click and drag you'll notice that by default it drags out from the corner, and as I'm dragging you can see that there's a little heads up display if I wanted to check the size. When I release the cursor, then the heads up display disappears and if I position my cursor inside of these marching ends, when I click and drag, you'll notice that I'm not moving any pixels. I'm actually only dragging the actual selection marquee and not anything underneath it. If I want to deselect this, I can just click anywhere, either outside or inside that marquee.
Let's go ahead and drag another marquee, this time I'm going to hold down the Shift key. You can see, when I hold down the Shift key, that I'm constraining the aspect ratio. In this case, I'm creating a perfect square. I'll go ahead and deselect that. And this time, I'll drag from the center of my image and I'll hold down the option key. You can see when I hold down the Option key on the Mac, or the Alt key on Windows, that I'm dragging the marquee from the center. As opposed to the upper left. If I release the option or the alt key, then you can see that it's dragging from the upper left.
Remember, I started this one in the center. Alright, let's go ahead and deselect that. And I'm going to click and drag out a rather large rectangle here. And now, I want to add to this selection. So, there are keyboard shortcuts to add to a selection, track to a selection, even intersect a selection. Or you can select the icons at the top of the option bar to do the same thing. So here we've got the add to, subtract from, and intersect. So we'll click on the add to, and I'm just going to add.
A small rectangle right over here. Now you can see that I didn't quite start the rectangle and alignment. So as long as I still have my mouse down. I can hold down the Space bar and I can actually reposition this. Then when I let go of the space bar, I can go ahead and continue drawing it larger or smaller. So I'm just going to add another little rectangle right there. You can see instead of having two selections. Those have become one single selection. Now if I want to subtract an area then I'll select this third icon. And I just want to subtract a little square maybe right aorund here. And now I want to actually add something back.
So I'll move back to the Add To selection. You can see I can just drag out my cursor like this, in order to add this area. Because remember, what looks like those little windows right now. I've subtracted that. So they're not selected. So I'm just adding back in some little window panes here in my illustration. Alright, now I want to subtract one more thing this time instead of changing tools I'm just going to hold down the Option key, you can see my cursor change when its got the plus that means I'm going to add.
I hold down the Option key, I get the minus. And I'll just start right about here, and just subtract this out away. I don't have to be exact here at the bottom. Because remember, we're subtracting out, so I can actually subtract more, or subtract further below the original selection. Because it's not part of the selection, anyway. Then again if I wanted to change where this started, if I didn't quite get it in alignment with the top of those other squares. I can go ahead and hold down the Spacebar. That allows me to change my point of origin. Let go of the Spacebar and then I can continue dragging.
So, what we're doing is we're creating a basic mask. Anything inside the selection would be affected by whatever we do, and anything outside would not be affected. So, let's go ahead and give this a try. I'm going to go to the Edit menu, and I'm going to select Fill, and for the contents, I'm going to use a Color. And we'll just select maybe a yellow color here. And we'll make it pretty pale. Click OK. OK again, and now we've filled that region that we had selected. If I do have one of these icons selected like the Add To or the Subtract From, you'll notice that just clicking outside of the selected area doesn't deselect. So you might want to learn a keyboard shortcut and that's Cmd+D or Ctrl+D on Windows to quickly deselect anything that's selected in your image. Now, let's scoot over to the Elliptical Marquee Tool. If we just click and drag, the Elliptical Marquee Tool might take a little getting used to.
Let's deselect that for a moment and I'm actually going to show my rulers under the View menu. So that we can drag out some guides. So I'm just clicking and dragging in the ruler area. I want to drag one out from the left side, and one out from the top so I have a horizontal and vertical guide that just connect. And the reason I'm drawing this is just to show you that if I place my cursor with the elliptical marquee in the crosshairs there of where those two overlap, when I click and drag. Do you see where I'm drawing the marquee from? So, the cirtcle is going to start in the upper left and I'm going to drag out just like I was dragging out the rectangle by default.
Now, if I wanted this to behave in a different manner, Let's go ahead and use Cmd + D or Ctrl + D in order to deselect that. And this time, I'll put my crosshairs in the intersection of those two guides. Then I'm going to hold down the Option key, and now watch as I drag out. You can see that I drag this elliptical marquee from the center. And of course if I hold down the Shift key, I get a perfect circle. So we'll go ahead and draw a circle right about there, and now I really don't need those guides showing anymore, so we'll select view, and then show, and I can just hide my guides by selecting them here from the list.
Those guides are actually still in my file, if I ever wanted to show them again. All I need to do is choose View, and then Show, and Guides again. If I actually wanted to delete the guides, I'd go into the View menu, and I would select Clear Guides. Now, I'm not hiding them. I've actually deleted them from the file. Now this looks like a nice little sun up here that I could be putting in the sky, but let's go ahead and change it to a moon. So I'm going to select either this third icon here, or I can simply hold down the Option or the Alt key, and that's going to allow me to subtract from the selection.
So I'll stary roughly here, and click and start dragging. Now, I didn't quite get it where I wanted so with that Option or Alt key still held down, I'll add to it the space bar, remember that helps me to reposition the point of origin. We'll just reposition that maybe here. Release the spacebar and then release my cursor. So now I have the moon and we can go to the edit menu again, and choose fill. This time I'll fill with 50% gray and click okay. I'll also add just a little doorknob down here, I'll just click and drag.
Now, instead of using the edit menu to select a fill, I'll use the Shift key and tap the Delete key. And that will bring up the Fill dialogue box. Let's go ahead and choose a different color for the doorknob. I'll click on Color. And this time if I wanted to sample a color from my image, you'll notice that while the Color Picker's up, I can reposition my cursor over the top of my image and click with the eye dropper to sample that color. Will just make it a little bit darker, click okay, okay again and it will fill that. All right will deselect using Cmd or Ctrl + D..
Now let's move over to the lasso tools. Select the first one, just the regular lasso tool and I'm going to zoom out using command minus or control minus. The lasso tool has a hot spot, that's the point where you'r going to be dragging and drawing from, and that is at the tip of the little arrow. If you prefer you can turn on the cap locks key in which case you get your cross-hairs and then the hot spot is right there in the center. So I'm going to actually start right here and just start dragging out, and then I'm going to drag beyond the image size, come all the way down, all the way around, and then start dragging again. Now, that whole time, I had my mouse down.
So most people don't know that you can drag beyond the canvas size, but certainly you can, and I don't even have to try to drag a straight line between where I am now and where I started this. If I just release the cursor, Photoshop will automatically close my selection and draw that line for me. So now we can fill this with another color. I'll use Shift Delete. We'll choose a color here and then select maybe a green, click Ok, Ok again. So the lasso tool is great when you just need to draw some freeform lines. Excellent, I'll use Cmd-Ctrl-D to deselect that, and now we'll switch over to our polygonal lasso tool.
This tool is great for drawing straight lines, you can see if I just click Wherever I move my cursor, Photoshops going to draw a straight line between where I clicked the first time, and where I clicked the second time. So I can go ahead and click, and click, and click and draw my own polygons. Now if I want to close the selection, I can either double click in which case Photoshop will close the selection for me automatically, or if I return to my start point. You can see that the cursor changes, and I get the little zero. That tells me that Photoshop's going to close that selection.
Now, I don't want that, so I'll use Cmd or Ctrl + D. And then I'll just make a little roofline here, starting maybe in the center of the door. We'll come down over to the right. Remember, I'm just clicking once and then letting go of my mouse. If I want to make this a straight line, I can hold down the shift key. Come over to this side, maybe right about there, equidistance, click again, and then I can either position my cursor over the starting point. Or if I want to, I can just double click and Photoshop will close that selection. If you've accidentally deselected, you can always use this select menu. And if you've just deselected, you should be able to reselect. All right, I'll fill this with the color using Shift Delete. And then selecting the color again.
You do have to click on it in order for that color picker to come up. Move down here and maybe get a dark brown roof. Click Okay, and Okay again. And then Cmd or Ctrl to deselect. So as you can see the marquee tools are great for selecting your geometric shapes. And the lasso tools are great for your more kind of free form shapes, and, of course, you can use any of these tools in combination with one another to make more complex shapes.
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