Sweet Selections Secret

with 10 Comments

Barb Brookbank

Has this, or something like this, ever happened to you? It’s 4:00 p.m., and you have a spare moment to work on a photo before dinner. Your plan includes making some tedious selections. You know that you should wait until everyone is home, fed, bathed, and in bed (hubby included), but you really, really want to get started on your project. So, against your better judgement, you sit down and get to work.

It takes about 10 minutes, but you finally get one selection just the way you want it. And then, the phone rings. It’s your neighbor saying that her car won’t start and asking if you could please, please pick her kids up from school.

Okay, you’ll pick up the kids. But, you know you won’t be able to resume work on your project until at least 9:00 p.m., or even the next day. So, what to do? Well, there is a little secret about the selection tools that you may not know!

In this tutorial, I’m first going to teach you how to make selections using the Magnetic Lasso tool. Then I’ll show you how to save those selections so you won’t have to go through the work of making them all over again, even if you close your document!


Step One: Choose a Photo and Make a Selection

  • Choose a photo that has high contrast edges in the areas you want to select. I chose an image of two bright flowers – one purple and one red.
  • Get the Magnetic Lasso tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon, check Anti-aliasing and set Feather to 5px.
  • On the document, click on an area and begin to trace around it.
  • The Magnetic Lasso tool automatically clings to the edges, laying down points. You can click to create a point at any time, which I do quite often.
  • When you return to the starting point, a closed circle appears. Click to close the selection and the “marching ants” will appear.
  • You can now safely edit the flower without affecting the rest of the photo.

Step Two: Save the Selection

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Save Selection.
  • In the dialog box, choose New for Selection and type in Selection #1.(Photoshop: Choose New for Channel.)
  • Click OK.
  • Press Ctrl D (Mac: Cmd D) to deselect.

  • Repeat the above steps to create another selection and name it Selection #2.
  • You can make and save as many selections as you want. Remember to give each one a new name. I saved three – the purple flower, the red flower, and the bottle.
  • Remember to deselect when finished.
  • Save your document (File > Save).

Step Three: Load a Selection

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Load Selection.
  • In the dialog box, click on the down-facing arrow of the Selection option and choose Selection #1.(Photoshop: Choose Selection #1 from the Channel drop down menu.)
  • Click OK.
  • You will now see the “marching ants” around the selection you chose.

Step Four: Load Additional Selections

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Select > Load Selection.
  • In the dialog box, click on the down-facing arrow of the Selection option and choose Selection # 2.(Photoshop: Choose Selection #2 from the Channel drop down menu.)
  • Click on the Add to Selection button.
  • Click OK.

Here I have all three selections loaded:

And here’s my finished work of art after darkening and sharpening my flowers while leaving the background light and blurry!


Tutorial: Sweet Selection Tool Secret by Barb Brookbank

Photo: Barb Brookbank

Word Art: Kim Klassen 

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

10 Responses

  1. Mungo

    Many thanks for sharing this

  2. Jenifer Juris

    This is awesome! Thx!! 🙂

  3. C.J. Sturtevant

    Cool!! Thanks. There is SO much to learn in Photoshop!

  4. Florence Longman

    I have to try this. Thank you.

  5. Peggy Drechsler

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have been using Photoshop since Photoshop 5, and I had no idea this was possible!

  6. Shirl

    This is truly cool. So glad to see this in 11, whcih I have. I must admit, I learned this technique of saving selections in PSP years ago. So glad to see this because eventually I will be able to remove PSP off of my computer. I really appreciate your keeping us up-to-date on new aspects of PSE-11.

    I could not resist, which reveals my addiction to these tips and DS. I just arrived home from hospital discharged three-hours ago and should be resting. Now, I can.) Blessings.

  7. jomama

    Wow! Is it possible to ever learn all there is to know in PSE? These little steps are soooo helpful. Thank you so much.

  8. Barb Brookbank

    I’m so happy you all are finding this helpful!! 🙂

  9. Renee

    Thanks so much…love all the tips you share with us:)
    This tip is awesome….

  10. Roxi

    great tip! didn’t know I could add to my saved selections like that.