Skip to main content

Selection Tools

Lesson 2 from: Making Selections in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

2. Selection Tools

Lesson Info

Selection Tools

So now let's see if we can make some selections in this image. I'm gonna start off with simple selection tools and we'l progress into more complicated and advanced ones, and I'll start with the second tool that's found in our tool panel. And that is the marquee tool. The marquee tool is there to select rectangular and oval shaped objects, so it should work okay here. Let's say I wanted to only work on the door itself. What I could do with this tool is move my mouse to the lower left corner of the door then click and hold down and drag to the upper right corner of the door, let go and now it's selected. And now, if I were to make a change like I wanted a black and white door or let's just say I want a different colored door, I could come in here and in this case I chose an adjustment called hue saturation, so that's Image Adjustments, Hue Saturation. There I could change the color of something, so I wanted a blue door, and I got it. If I click outside the selection with the marquee tool...

, so I'm not within it, it will get rid of the selection. It's equivalent to choosing Deselect, and so that's a common convention. If you have a selection and you click outside of it, it usually means deselect. Now I'd like to select the round portion of the door, and so I'm gonna go to my tool panel, I'm gonna click and hold down on that icon for the tool, and you'll find there's more than one tool in that slot. Here I can go to the Elliptical Marquee Tool and therefore I can select round and oval objects. But that tool works a little bit differently than you might expect. Watch what happens when I click right here and I begin dragging. When I started to drag, you'll find that the selection isn't anywhere near where I initially clicked. I initially clicked near the upper left of my screen and now the selection extends very far away from that, and it doesn't begin anywhere near where I clicked. And that's because there's something you need to know about selecting circles and ovals and that is Photoshop is thinking about a rectangle even though you're not selecting something that's rectangular. So let's say I wanna get the brown portion of the door, the round area. Well, imagine you had that and you put it in a rectangular box, the smallest rectangular box that could contain that particular shape. If that was the case, and it was the brown area that I'm thinking about, the upper left corner of that box would be approximately right over here if you can see where my mouse is. And if that's the case, that's where I need to click with this tool. I click and then I drag towards the lower right. And again, I think about a rectangle. I think about if I took the brown circular area and put it in the smallest rectangular box I could get where would the lower right corner of that box be. Wouldn't it be right about here? Well, that's exactly where I need to end up. So now I was able to select that round area, but it's not perfectly precise at the moment if you look at the lower right area. I'm a little bit off and so there's a trick you can use as long as you have not released the mouse button yet, if you're mouse is still being held down. So you see you're really still making this. Then you can press the space bar. So I have the mouse held down and the space bar. And if you have the space bar down, then when you drag you move instead of changing the size of this. So now I can get the top edge to line up just right and then the left edge, it's kinda hard to tell where the left edge should be 'cause it's kind of blackish in there, but then I can let go of the space bar and then when I'm dragging I'm no longer moving the overall position. I'm then changing its size. So, I can get that selected. I find a lot of people have troubles with what I just described because you'll end up letting go of the mouse button when you didn't mean to and so I'll give you an alternative. If you need to select a round or oval object, you can start with this tool and simply make a selection that is larger than what you need. So that's a lot larger than what I need. Then, go to the Select menu, and you're gonna find a choice called Transform Selection. It'll only be there when a selection is active on your screen. But if I choose Transform Selection now, I can grab the corner here in the upper left and bring it down, get it to be, I'm looking at the left edge of the brown area, get it to be exactly where I need it to be. If I wanna reposition it, instead of grabbing the corners or the edges, click in the middle and you can just reposition it as a whole. And then I'm gonna grab the lower right, pull it in until it's the right size. The only problem with that is it's going to constrain the proportions, so if I attempt to drag the bottom edge up and I want it to only affect the height, I don't want it to affect the width, you'll see that it is affecting the width. In order to prevent it from doing that, you need to hold down the shift key when you drag. If you hold shift, it means do not constrain the proportions, do not keep the width and height to be the same ratio. Anyway, now I can get it to line up, and I press return or enter when I'm done and now I have that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice Images

Ratings and Reviews


This class is exactly what I needed. Up to this point I have used the tutorials provided with Photoshop to learn and they are excellent, but as I am using PS more and more I need in depth learning. Example: I have been working with a photo for two weeks using what I knew about selections and masking. I have been so frustrated. I decided to dedicate time every day to learning PS and the other apps I have with my CC subscription. I was able to edit the photo and get all of the tiny details I wanted after taking this class. This is the second of Ben's classes I've taken and he is an excellent teacher. Thank you!


The Master once again has presented a clear concise easy to learn and follow class.

a Creativelive Student

Ben is always very thorough and informative.

Student Work