Photoshop basic selection tools

Photoshop has many types of selection tools. In this post I’ll explain the most basic (8 types) selection tools available in Adobe Photoshop(I’m working with CS3, although this tools are available in all versions).
Let’s take a look at the various tools in the toolbar available for making selections.

1. The Rectangular Marquee tool is the first tool in the Toolbar, and is used to select rectangular areas of an image/pixels. It’s simple to use – just select the tool and drag across the image to select the area you want. By default the tools works in corner-to-corner mode. Dragging fr0m top-left or bottom-right creates the marquee.

Changing marquees Holding down the [Alt] key will change the marquee mode so that the selection expands fr0m the center, rather than the corners,as you drag.

2. The Circular Marquee works in exactly the same way, except the selection will be elliptical.With both tools you can constrain the selection so it is either a perfect circle or a perfect square by holding down the [Shift] key while you drag. Lift your finger off the [Shift] key while still holding the mouse button down to switch back to unconstrained mode.

3. The Options bar displays tool-specific settings.The selection tools all have a set of four buttons that change the effect that subsequent selections have on the one that’s currently active.The normal mode is New Selection – each time you click and drag,a new selection is made and the current one is lost. Add mode makes the current selection larger and a different shape.
photoshop basic selection tool options

4. In Subtract mode, you can remove areas from the current selection. Here we changed to the Circle Marquee tool to subtract an elliptical shape from the rectangular selection we had made. You can continue to make negative selections that chip away at the current selection.This is a good way to refine a selection to fit a specific shape in an image.
advance selection with photoshop basic selection

Shifting around Rather than using the buttons you can hold down modifier keys to add and subtract selections.To add,hold the [Shift] key before you begin to click and drag.To subtract hold the [Alt] key before you click and drag.The marquee cursor will change to show which mode you are in.

5. The fourth mode is Intersect. When in this mode, you can create a new selection that is the intersection between the currently active one and one you will drag out. Basically all parts of the current selection will disappear except that portion that overlaps with the new selection you drag out. Here is the original selection with a new one being dragged out over it, using the Intersect mode.
selection with photoshop basic selection
Working with the Intersect selection option

Short intersection To activate Intersect mode without using the buttons hold down the [Alt} and [Shift] keys before you drag.

6. This is the result of the intersection. Note that it’s only the overlapping parts of the two selections that remain selected. This selection method is not used very often but you’ll appreciate just how handy it can be in certain situations.Creating similar selections any other way would be very difficult and time-consuming.
selection made by photoshop basic selection
Result of the Intersect selection option

7. The last two selection types in this tool group are the Single Row and Single Column Marquees.These are special types of marquee which, as their name suggests, select either a single row or column of pixels. In this case dragging only defines which row or column in the image is selected and the selection extends to the edges of the image in either mode.
photoshop basic selection tools

8. Uses for the Single Row and Column Marquees are varied,but not always obvious. Here, they’re used to create multiple random vertical and/or horizontal lines in an image much more quickly than using the
Pencil or Line tool.The Add Selection mode was used and the selections filled with black, on separate layers, to create lines whose opacity and blending mode we can vary.
selecting a single pixel with photoshop

If,after dragging while holding down the [Shift] key, you want to force the selection to be constrained to a perfect circle or rectangle, release the [Shift] key momentarily and press it again. Holding the [Alt] key while dragging will force a selection to be drawn fr0m its centre as mentioned. If already holding the [Alt] key, such as when using the Intersection shortcut, momentarily release it and then press the [Alt] key. This forces the ‘constraint fr0m centre’ to occur.