Photoshop I-1c Basic Tools and the Control Panel

By · January 18, 2010 · Print This Page Print This Page

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Using the Lasso Tool

  1. Now we need to deselect the bit that cuts into the crab’s claw tip on the right side. It will help to zoom into this detail a bit. Select the Zoom tool from the Tools panel: Zoom tool
  2. In the Control panel, make sure that the Zoom In button is active: Zoom In
  3. Click twice on the tip of the crab’s claw on the right side of the picture. If the claw tip is partly hidden at the bottom edge of the image window, use Photoshop’s vertical scroll bar to move it all back into view.
Zoom in to the crab's claw

Zoom in to the crab's claw

  1. We need to draw around the edge of the claw to add it back into the selection. This bit will take a steadier hand. We will need to use a selection tool that gives us more control: the Lasso tool. It is the third tool down in the Tool box (and may be hidden in a fly-out menu.)
Lasso tool

Lasso tool

  1. In the Control panel, click on the Add to selection button so that you don’t need to press and hold the Shift key during the next step. Also make sure that Feather is set to 0px so that we get a crisp edge.
Lasso tool settings

Lasso tool settings

  1. Now you will need to draw a loop around the claw tip. While keeping your mouse button pressed, start inside the current selection, come out to the top of the edge you need to add, draw down alongside the claw edge until you get to the bottom of the area you need to add, then draw from there back to your starting point.

Draw with the Lasso tool

Draw with the Lasso tool


New selection added

New selection added

  1. If you let go of the mouse too soon, the Lasso tool will complete the new selection from where you let go. This is okay; just draw a new area to add to the selection where you left off.
  2. If you add way too much outside of the claw’s edge, simply switch to the Subtract from selection button in the control panel, and draw to cut the extra area out.
Selection too big

Selection too big

  1. Select the Hand tool from the Tools panel: Hand tool
  2. Click-and-drag with the Hand tool from the top-left to the bottom-right a few times (to navigate up and to the left), so that we see the crab’s left shoulder in the image window.
  3. With the Add to selection button activated in the Control panel, add this bit (shown below) back in, where the bright highlights on the crab’s shell met up with the white background.

Another piece to add to the selection

Another piece to add to the selection


Selection added

Selection added

Using the Magnetic Lasso Tool

  1. Zoom all the way out so that the crab fits in the image window: double-click on the Hand tool icon inside the Tools panel.
  2. There’s one more area that needs to be subtracted from the selection: the opening within the right-hand claw.
Last bit to subtract from selection

Last bit to subtract from selection

  1. Zoom into this region.
  2. Select the Magnetic Lasso tool from the Lasso tool’s fly-out menu:
    Magnetic Lasso tool

    Magnetic Lasso tool

  3. In the Control panel, click on the Subtract from selection button.
  4. The Magnetic Lasso tool “sticks” to edges where there is high contrast. You simply draw close to the edge and the Magnetic Lasso should snap to the edge, marking its path with tiny square markers. Click once to start the selection, then release the mouse button; simply drag the mouse slowly around the desired selection area.
Drawing with the Magnetic Lasso tool

Drawing with the Magnetic Lasso tool

  1. The bottom corner of this claw opening does not have enough contrast for the tool to “see” it. Click at any place along the edge to “help” the tool add a square marker to your selection.
  2. If you end up with a square marker way off the path, simply press the Backspace key to back up. Each time you press the Backspace key, you will undo the markers working back toward the beginning of your selection.
  3. When you all the way around the claw opening, hover your mouse over the first square. Your Magnetic Wand cursor should show a little open circle next to it. This indicates that you are ready to complete the path. Click once with your left mouse button to do so.
Selection subtracted

Selection subtracted

By the way, it’s okay if these selections don’t look perfect. You’re just getting the hang of making selections. We’ll soften the edge a bit to hide some of our imperfections. Later on, you’ll learn how to use the Pen tool to make very precise selections.

  1. Finally, use the selection tool of your choice to add this white bit back into the crab selection. It’s another highlight (not background.)
Final bit to add to selection

Final bit to add to selection

Refining and Saving a Selection

  1. Up in the Control panel, click on the Refine Edge button (you should still have the Magnetic Lasso tool active for this to be visible): Refine Edge button
  2. In the Refine Edge dialog box, click on the On Black icon to darken the unselected areas to black. This allows us to see if there is any nasty white haloing around our edges.
  3. Set the numerical values as you see below, and click OK.
Refine Edge settings

Refine Edge settings

  1. Double-click the Hand tool again to zoom all the way back out.
  2. Let’s save this selection you worked so hard on, in case you’d like to recover it at some later date. Go to Select > Save Selection…
  3. This command saves your outlines as an alpha channel, something you’ll learn more about later. Name the selection crab in the dialog box and click OK. (Note: You can later recover your selection by going to Select > Load Selection….)

Save Selection...

Save Selection...


Completed selection

Completed selection

  1. Save your file as crab.psd.

Next: Moving a Selection into another Image

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3 Comments

  1. Glad you’re back into it! I love your tutorials!

  2. I had learned most of this just by poking around Photoshop’s menu, but I always learn something I didn’t know before.

  3. I have to say this is the best tutorial I have used by far. I tried some of the video ones you can find on YOU TUBE and they just rush through asthough you know what your doing…I really appreciate the person responsible for this as it is an invaluable resource to people like myself who want to learn how to use CS4..Thanks

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