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Chapter 3. Using the Photoshop Toolbox > Using the Selection Tools

Using the Selection Tools

The Selection tools are used to designate areas that you will be cutting out, cropping, painting within, or applying filters to. The area not selected is usually unaffected when you manipulate the image in any of these ways. When a selection is made around an area of the image, you will see what is often referred to as marching ants or the selection marquee running around the edge (see Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2. A rectangular marquee drawn in the canvas.

The following is a summary of the Selection tools:

  • Rectangular Marquee (M): This tool creates a rectangle-shaped selection area. Holding the Shift key while drawing constrains your rectangle to a square shape.

  • Elliptical Marquee (M): This tool makes an oval or ellipse-shaped selection. Hold the Shift key to constrain your selection to a circle.

  • Single Column Marquee (M): This tool selects a one-pixel–wide line that runs the height of the canvas.

  • Single Row Marquee (M): This tool selects a one-pixel–tall line that runs the width of the canvas.

    Like the marquee tools, many other tools share the same keyboard shortcut. To alternate between the different tools when this situation exists, hold down the Shift key when pressing the shortcut key on the keyboard. Pressing this key combination several times drills down through the tools nested together; the selected tool's icon shows up in the toolbox.

  • Move (V): This tool moves the content of the layer you are working with.

  • Lasso (L): Use this tool to draw a freeform selection.

  • Polygonal Lasso (L): After you select this tool, click, release, and drag the image to mark the corners (and draw the edges) of a polygonal selection.

  • Magnetic Lasso (L): With an image on screen, this tool follows the contours of part of an image as it creates a selection marquee. It's one useful way to cut out a subject from its background.

  • Magic Wand (W): This tool selects parts of the image by color similarity. Adjust the Tolerance setting in the Options bar to select more or fewer of the surrounding similar colors.

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