This Photoshop tutorial shows you how to use selections to cut out or isolate things in Photoshop. The basic Marquee tools are very powerful if you know the keyboard modifiers and hidden menus. This tutorial will show you a number of tricks that you may not be aware of. Enjoy!
We will start with this shape. Instead of using the magic wand etc, lets use the marquee tools already in Photoshop. These tools give nice clean edges, and they are quick when you understand how to use them.
Before we start, why don’t we get rid of the distortion on this photo. Don’t worry, we will keep a distorted version, so you can learn how to select that too.
Duplicate the photo layer by choosing it in the Layers panel and pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J
Choose Filter>Camera Raw
Click on the perspective button at the top left of the screen. Its the icon that looks like a grid.
Click the Full upright option
The distortion will now be gone.
We will now have a corrected version of the photo above the original. Lets get started,
Selecting the logo
Choose the elliptical marquee tool.
Drag to make a selection around the outer ring.
Here are some tips to help.
Lets make an inner selection
Hold Down Alt/Option to remove from the selection (you will see a minus sign by the selection)
Make an inner ring selection
Choose the rectangular selection tool. To add to the selection, hold down the Shift Key
Make the selection over the “theater” words.
Press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the selection to a new layer. You can see the shape was easily selected, using only 2 tools. Wait, there’s more.
Let’s tackle something a little harder. Lets do the skewed image.
Make the outer ring selection with the elliptical marquee tool, as before.
Hold down Alt/Option and make the inner ring selection. Don’t forget to also use the spacebar to move the selection. Its a finger-dance, but you’ll get used to it.
Ok, the rectangular tool isn’t going to work this time, what do we do?
Choose the Magnetic lasso tool.
Hold down Shift, to add to the selection. Click in the top left corner of the skewed rectangular shape.
As you move the cursor, notice the line follows your mouse, like gum stuck to a shoe.
Click the top right corner to anchor the 2nd point
Now move to the bottom right corner. If the line is only constraining to 45 degree angles, its because you are shill holding down Shift. It’s ok, you can let go of the shift key, Photoshop already knows you are adding to the selection.
Click the bottom right corner.
Click on the left corner, bottom left.
Move the tool over the first corner where you started the selection. You will see a tiny “0′ which indicates the start point Click to complete your selection
YOu have now selected a more complex shape. But, the best id yet to come, read on…
Lets do a more complex shape.
“What? The wheel is complex? Its just an oval.” I hear you say.
Th challenge is that its an oval at an angle. You can’t do that with the elliptical marquee tool. Or can you? Read on.
Make the basic elliptical selection.
Ok, time for the big reveal.
Choose Select>Transform Selection.
Now you can dra any of the 9 points to rotate and scale the selection. Isn’t that handy? And it works on any selection.
Pro Tip: Holding down Cmd/Ctrl enables you to move the points independently, getting you the control you need for an oh, so perfect selection.
Cutting out the wheel so you can see it.
You can use the Filter>Blur Gallery>Spin to spin the wheel and put it in motion.
Pro Tip: Why did I select the rim and not the whole tire? (I know someone will ask). OK, stop and look at the result. Does it look like I needed to spin the tire? No, I didn’t, it looks fine as is. Selecting the rim was a lot easier than selecting the tire too and this yields a more realistic result because there is no sloppy selection on the tire. One thing I have learned doing this for a living for 20 years or so, is that it’s result that matters, and getting there as fast as possible. If you are doing this for a job, its about getting the job done right, as quickly as possible.
Thanks for checking out this week’s tutorial. Let me know if you like it in the comments.
Let your friends know about this tutorial and PhotoshopCAFE. Remember, Create.Don’t Steal.
Stop struggling with selections. Learn how to select and cut out anything from people, hair, trees, complex shapes and even transparency.
Discover how to get perfect edges, without halos and jaggies. Colin shows you exactly how in 18 lessons.
All the images are included for you to follow along.
You will be able to select and cut out anything: faster and cleaner.
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You asked so here it is: the last 2 tricks
Your tutorials are great, Colin! One thing that would help me a great deal is if you could provide “work along” images for the more complex tuts, Thanks for your great teaching!
Hi Lynn, all out premium tutorials come with work along images.
Colin, why not use the polygonal tool instead of the magnetic lasso tool? It does great straight lines without worrying that the magnet will latch onto a wrong spot.
I’ve use all the ones you did, but didn’t know about the Transform Selection tool! That is awesome! Can’t tell you how many times I could have used that and saved me some major time and head aches!
I use Photoshop Elements but find many of your tutorials relevant, like this one – all but the Raw filter. Thank you so much.
Thanks for these super tutorials Colin … 20 years of using PS and I almost always learn a new trick or two!
Thanks for another great tutorial.
I learn something new every time you post a new video .
Great tutorial I learnt a lot. Did not know how versatile the selection tools are.
Thanks for your tutorial.
OMG! I’ve been fixing distortions manually with the Ruler Guides/Edit>Distort. Transform in Camera Raw is so much more efficient! Thanks so much!
Do you have the files for the tutorial, the logo and the wheel?
We provide all the source files on premium tutorials, we don’t on the free ones.