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Make selecting a snap with CS3's new Quick Selection tool

Added on Saturday 27th of January 2007 01:01 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS3

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows




Outlining a selection is often a tedious and time-consuming process. We’ll show you how Photoshop CS3’s new Quick Selection tool makes that task a breeze.


To make quicker selections with CS3’s new Quick Selection tool, we’ll:

     Introduce you to the Quick Selection tool and tell you what’s so great about it.

     Teach you how to use the Quick Selection tool and explain the different options available.

     Show you how to use the Refine Edge command to tidy up your selection edge.


When you’re in the midst of a project, the thought of having to stop what you’re doing to trace a selection probably makes you cringe. After all, making a selection often turns into its own venture. Well, cringe no more! CS3’s new Quick Selection makes creating Photoshop selections a fun and snappy process.


Move over Magic Wand!

The Quick Selection tool is similar to the Magic Wand tool, in that it makes selections based on contrasting pixel values. In fact, both tools share the same space in the Tools panel. What’s different about the Quick Selection tool is that instead of setting a tolerance value, you simply adjust the brush size and click or brush in the selection.


A quick shortcut

Making a fast selection starts with accessing your tool quickly. The quickest way to access the Quick Selection tool from the Tools panel is to simply press W. If the Magic Wand tool activates instead, simply press [shift]W to toggle between the two tools.


To try out the Quick Selection tool, you’ll need an image file to work with. If you want to follow along with our example, download the file from the URL listed at the beginning of this article, and extract the file stockings.psd. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)


Make a quick selection

Before you make your selection, you should set the tool options. We’ll explain the different choices available and then show you how to make a selection quickly.


To set the tool options and make a selection:

1.       Launch Photoshop and open the file stockings.psd, or another image to work with.

2.      Choose the Quick Selection tool quick_selection from the Tools panel to display the tool options, shown in Figure A.



3.      Select the New Selection button to begin a new selection.

4.      Click on the Brush pop-up menu, and set the diameter to a size that correlates with the area you wish to select.


Note: While you could fiddle around with the other brush settings, we didn’t notice any different results after doing so.



5.      Select the Sample All Layers check box if you want your selection based on all layers in your document. Select the Auto-Enhance check box to reduce your selection edge’s roughness.

6.      Click and drag to brush in the image areas you wish to select as we did for the stockings, shown in Figure B.




Refine the selection edge

At first glance, you may think your selection looks great. That is, until you zoom in. As you can see in Figure C, our selection is a little jagged and we also missed a few spots! First, we’ll explain how to touch up some of the bigger gaps, and then we’ll explain how to use the Refine Edge feature to clean up the selection edge.




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