There are times when we need to select things out in an image so that we can only edit the selected part. For those purpose, we have several dedicated tools in Photoshop, and one of them is the Lasso Tool in Photoshop.
Before we begin with lasso Tool, let’s understand selection in Photoshop. Selection is like a lock. When we select any part in image, only that part gets edited. Let’s understand this with the help of Fig. 1. In that image, the dome is selected as you can see marching ants surrounds the dome. So whatever I do now, be it increasing brightness, decreasing contrast or anything, it’ll only affect the dome.
Now there are numerous tools present in Photoshop for this kind of selection. One among them in Lasso Tool.
Photoshop provides three variants of Lasso Tool. Each one performs same function but being executed differently. These three are:
- Lasso Tool
- Polygonal Lasso Tool
- Magnetic Lasso Tool
Fig. 2 will show you where to find them. You can also press Shift+L again and again to activate selection.
Now I am going to explain you each of them one by one. They all are very much similar. Let’s start with the first one i.e. Lasso Tool.
This tool is like a freehand selection. You just draw on the screen and Photoshop will automatically select the area as soon as you leave the mouse button.
I am sorry for the not so accurate drawing or selection. I am not good at drawing.
Believe you, you’re never going to use this tool. The other two kinds of Lasso tool may be used by you in future. The reason is that we have other tools that perform same action but with better result in lesser time. There’s nothing there to explain in Lasso Tool.
Let’s move to the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
Polygonal Lasso Tool
This tool is basically present for straight edges. You activate this tool just by clicking anywhere on the image, and wherever you take your mouse cursor, the tool will go with you. To create an edge, you need to click on the point. Fig. 4 will explain things better.
Are you seeing a gray color line near the edges of the building? They are made with the help of polygonal lasso tool.
I intentionally placed the selection slightly off the edges so that you could see properly.
Let’s understand how it works. I started the selection from the viewer’s left side. You could see the beginning of the selection in Fig. 4. Now I all needed to do is to click on the point where I want my selection to take different path or bend. You are seeing 5 corners in the above selection which means that I clicked on five points.
Let’s move to Magnetic Lasso Tool.
Magnetic Lasso Tool
This tool works like a magic. It automatically detects edges and tries to align itself according to the edges.
Let’s see it in action.
I know that the result is not perfect, the I appreciate the try. Photoshop does a wonderful job there.
Basically Photoshop looks for drastic contrasts between adjacent pixels and whenever Photoshop finds it, it’ll know there’s an edge present.
So how to handle this tool? The answer is you don’t. It’ll handle itself. All you need to do is to keep the mouse as close as to the edge, and let the Magnetic Lasso Tool performs the rest of work for you.
Now let’s talk about the option panel that comes with the Lasso Tool.
A. You have seen these four boxes in Marquee Tool’s chapter. I am going to write same for your reference.
- New Selection: This function provides you a new selection. Let’s 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.
- Add to Selection: I bet 99% of users use this mode. Let’s 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 of tricky selections can easily be done by this selection. When this mode is on, you’ll see a + sign near your mouse cursor.
- Subtract from the Selection: As name says it subtracts the selection. Basically it is just opposite of “add to selection”. You’ll see a – sign just below the cursor.
- 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. By pressing this you can see a small multiplication (x) bar at the bottom of your cursor.
B. Feather: It softens the selection. It helps a lot when you are creating vignette effect to your photo. You can learn more about it here.
C. Anti-Alias: Photoshop smooths out the color transition between the pixels around the edges of your selection and the pixels in the background.
D. Refine Edge: You have a whole tutorial dedicated to this feature. It is probably one of the mightiest feature in Photoshop.
I hope that you found this tutorial helpful.
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