Selecting with the Lasso Tools
Marquees are great when you have to select something with nice neat edges, or if you want to draw and fill a shape. For selecting small bits of a picture or pulling one flower out of a bunch, they're not the best tools for the job. That's when you need a Lasso. Use the Lasso to draw a selection line that is a single pixel wide around any object. As long as you're dragging the mouse while holding down its button, the Lasso tool will draw a line where you want it. As soon as you release the mouse button, the two ends of the line automatically connect, giving you a selection box in the shape you've drawn.
In addition to the "regular" lasso, you have two others, the Polygonal Lasso and the Magnetic Lasso. The Polygonal Lasso tool Options bar is shown in Figure 23.4.
Figure 23.4. I've selected the Polygonal Lasso.
The Polygonal Lasso is useful both for selecting objects and for drawing
Figure 23.5. The
Making Selections with the Magic Wand
The Magic Wand is, in many ways, the
Figure 23.7. Selecting the red tulip took about eight clicks, because there were many shades of pink included. Here, I'm almost done.
The Magic Wand's tool Options bar has check boxes for Antialiased and Contiguous selections, and for selecting through all
Using the Selection Brush Tool
If you have a steady hand, and possibly a drawing tablet and pen instead of a mouse, you might find the easiest selection method, at least for some things, is to paint over them with the Selection Brush tool. It looks like a paintbrush, and in some circumstances works like one. To understand what it does, you need to think of making a selection as a way of isolating the part of the picture you're working on, from the
Using the Selection Brush is like using any other brush. You have a choice, however, as to whether you are painting to mask the area around an object, or to select the object itself. The Options bar for the Selection Brush is shown in Figure 23.8. If you choose Selection from the Mode list, the area you drag over adds to the selection. If you choose Mask instead, the area you drag is subtracted from any existing selection (adding to the mask, or the area you don't wish to affect). What this actually means is that, when you choose the add icon, with your first brush click the image completely covers it with a layer of mask. Each
Figure 23.8. Select the options you want to use with the Selection Brush.
In Figure 23.9, I have changed the mask color to blue for better contrast with the red flower, and I'm in the process of selecting it with the paintbrush. It's very easy to make an accurate selection this way, especially if you enlarge the image and work with a small brush.
Figure 23.9. In Photoshop, this feature is called Quick Masking.
Selecting and Deselecting All
In addition to the selection tools, there's another quick and easy way to make a selection. To select the entire image, rather than dragging a marquee around it, or clicking the Magic Wand repeatedly, just type Command/Ctrl-A to select all. To deselect whatever is selected, use Command/Ctrl-D. If you want to clear the image and start over, select all and press Delete. To erase part of the image, draw a marquee the size and shape you want to erase, and press Delete. Memorize these commands. They will save you tons of time.
If you reach a point at which Elements seems to freeze or doesn't do what you want it to, try pressing the deselect keys. You may have accidentally selected a single pixel, and not noticed it.