What is Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee Tool in Photoshop | TrickyPhotoshop | TrickyPhotoshop test Skip to content

What is Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee Tool in Photoshop | TrickyPhotoshop

28 min read

Hello guys I am Vaibhav and in this article I am going to teach you how to use rectangular and elliptical marquee tool for selections and creating cools effects like vignette etc. Last time I discussed about Refine Edge tool in Photoshop which gives you amazing power to refine your selections. Photoshop gives us few amazing tools like marquee tool, magic wand tool, quick selection tool pen tool etc. to select the custom area in our image. Basically I am going to focus on elliptical marquee and rectangular marquee tool in this article.

Why do we use “Selection”?

It’s a pretty basic question. Why do we select a custom portion of the image? The answer is that we can apply any adjustment we want(contrast, hue, saturation etc.) to that particular selected area without disturbing the unselected area. After selection Photoshop gives you entire flexibility to do any type of changes in that selected area. Some of them are listed below.

  • Resize: After the selection you can resize that area or  transform that area. Go to edit>transform>wrap. After selecting the wrap tool you can distort, change the dimensions etc within seconds. In the below shown two images you can see by selecting the wrap tool I can change the size of the eye (I have done it very roughly just to show you a rough example). Note that after using using wrap tool my selection also got distorted.



  • Free Movement: You can move your selected part, copy your selected part and paste it to other photo. In the below shown picture I have selected the image using pen tool and then copied it by pressing ctrl+C/cmd+C and then moved back to my original document and then pasted it by pressing ctrl+V/cmd+V.


  • Fill with Color: After Selecting a custom part you have full freedom to fill it with any color. Change the foreground color as per your requirement. Press shift+F5 or go to edit>fill. In the content section drop down, select “foreground color”. Press OK. This will fill the selection with your foreground color. To  understand blending click here.


  • Add Border: You can add border to your selection. Go to edit>stroke. Fill the stroke dialogue box as per your requirement. In the below shown case my border would be the width of 1 pixel and it’s color would be black. Inside location means your border lies inside the selection. Center location means my border half lies outside the selection and other half lies inside the selection. Outside selection means my border lies outside the selection. Press OK. To understand blending click here.


I guess it’s enough to show you the importance of the “selection”.

 [message_box title=”Note” color=”blue”]

  • To deselect the selection press ctrl+D/cmd+D
  • To re-select the selection press ctrl+shift+D/cmd+shift+D. [/message_box]

Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee Tool

I am going to use elliptical marquee tool for this whole article. Note that rectangular and elliptical marquee tool is totally same except there shape.

You can select the elliptical marquee tool from the tool panel(left one). You can also press shift+M again and again until it comes. After selecting the tool, your cursor should be turned to “+(plus)” sign.


Now drag and drop the elliptical selection as shown below.


Basically I am going to create a vignette effect by using marquee tool. Till the completion I will explain all the feature of the marquee tool. Now grab move tool from the tool panel or press V. Simply drag and drop the selected area according to you. You can see below image for reference.

[message_box title=”Note” color=”blue”]

Want to move the selection in the mid way of the selection? Press and hold spacebar to move it. One done, release the spacebar.



The below shown image is the view of the option panel(top one).

It will only show up if you have selected any selection tool(except pen tool).


I have numbered the functions accordingly. I will write the name and its functions according to its numbering. Let’s start.

  1. New Selection: This function provide you new selection. Lets assume that you have selected a custom area in your image and then you don’t like the selection and want to select a new selection that is going to override the existing selection. This mode is best to do these kind of things. In short you if you deselect a selection by pressing ctrl+D/cmd+D and then select a new area, the result would be same.
  2. Add to Selection: I bet 99% of users use this mode. Lets say you have selected an area and you also want to select another area but don’t want to deselect the existing area. Then my friends this selection is perfect for you. Lot’s of tricky selection can easily be done by this selection. In the below shown image you can see that I have selected multiple are using this mode. In simple words it add the selection. If you have selected “new selection” mode and want to add a new selection but lazy enough to click on the “add to selection” button then simply press and hold shift key while selecting. By holding shift key you can see that Photoshop has added a small “+(plus)” sign just below your cursor.
  3. Subtract from the Selection: As name says it subtracts the selection. Basically it is just opposite of “add to selection”. By             pressing and holding alt/opt you can activate this mode. You can see that Photoshop has added a small “-(minus)” sign just below     your cursor.
  4. Intersect with Selection: Suppose you have selected an area A and also selected an area B. A small part of area B lies inside the area A. Then only that small part will be selected. Basically the overlapped are will be selected in this mode. The shortcut is shift+alt/shift+opt. By pressing this you can see a small multiplication bar at the bottom of your cursor.
  5. Feather: It softens the edge of the selection. It is a part of the refine edge tool. To learn about refine edge tool, click here.
  6. Style: In this drop down menu you can see 3 sub menu. First is “normal” which is nothing but a default mode. Second is “fixed ratio”. By selecting fixed ratio you might have realized that the width and the height panel adjacent to it has activated. Now just enter the width vs. height ratio and here you go. The third sub menu is “fixed size”. After entering the width and height, no matter how long you drag you image it will select only select the area with the entered dimensions.
  7. Refine Edge: One of the most versatile tool that makes Photoshop different from all the other software’s. I have written a whole article on “refine edge tool”. To view it click here.
  8. Anti Alias: By turning on anti aliasing your selections softens a little bit. But you cannot control the amount of softens like “feather”. The softens will be done in such a way that Photoshop provides a better selection for different color tones. Until and unless you want extremely sharp selection, keep this feature turned on for better result.

Lets move back to creating a vignette point. Once you have selected the area, invert the selection by pressing ctrl+shift+I/cmd+shift+I. This will select the entire area which was not selected before.


Now I am going to refine my edge using the setting that is shown below.


You can see that I added feather to soften my edge. By dragging “smooth” bar to the left, it smooth’s my selection. Press OK.

You may have not noticed any changes in your selection.

Now make black as your foreground color, press alt+backspace/opt+delete. This will fill your selection with black color.

As I have written this tutorial basically for beginners so I have just shown most basic way to get most basic vignette. There are lot more that you can do after creating a vignette.

Your final image should look like this.


And you are done here.

Read my next tutorial in which I will show you How to Create Bubbles in Photoshop.

Thank you for reading this article. Hopefully we will meet again in four days.

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