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Edit and refine selections

  1. Photoshop Elements User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop Elements
    1. What's new in Photoshop Elements
    2. System requirements | Photoshop Elements
    3. Workspace basics
    4. Guided mode
    5. Making photo projects
  3. Workspace and environment
    1. Get to know the Home screen
    2. Workspace basics
    3. Preferences
    4. Tools
    5. Panels and bins
    6. Open files
    7. Rulers, grids, and guides
    8. Enhanced Quick Mode
    9. File information
    10. Presets and libraries
    11. Multitouch support
    12. Scratch disks, plug-ins, and application updates
    13. Undo, redo, and cancel actions
    14. Viewing images
  4. Fixing and enhancing photos
    1. Resize images
    2. Cropping
    3. Process camera raw image files
    4. Add blur, replace colors, and clone image areas
    5. Adjust shadows and light
    6. Retouch and correct photos
    7. Sharpen photos
    8. Transforming
    9. Auto Smart Tone
    10. Recomposing
    11. Using actions to process photos
    12. Photomerge Compose
    13. Create a panorama
    14. Moving Overlays
    15. Moving Elements
  5. Adding shapes and text
    1. Add text
    2. Edit text
    3. Create shapes
    4. Editing shapes
    5. Painting overview
    6. Painting tools
    7. Set up brushes
    8. Patterns
    9. Fills and strokes
    10. Gradients
    11. Work with Asian type
  6. Quick Actions
  7. Guided edits, effects, and filters
    1. Guided mode
    2. Filters
    3. Guided mode Photomerge edits
    4. Guided mode Basic edits
    5. Adjustment filters
    6. Effects
    7. Guided mode Fun edits
    8. Guided mode Special edits
    9. Artistic filters
    10. Guided mode Color edits
    11. Guided mode Black & White edits
    12. Blur filters
    13. Brush Stroke filters
    14. Distort filters
    15. Other filters
    16. Noise filters
    17. Render filters
    18. Sketch filters
    19. Stylize filters
    20. Texture filters
    21. Pixelate filters
  8. Working with colors
    1. Understanding color
    2. Set up color management
    3. Color and tonal correction basics
    4. Choose colors
    5. Adjust color, saturation, and hue
    6. Fix color casts
    7. Using image modes and color tables
    8. Color and camera raw
  9. Working with selections
    1. Make selections in Photoshop Elements
    2. Saving selections
    3. Modifying selections
    4. Move and copy selections
    5. Edit and refine selections
    6. Smooth selection edges with anti-aliasing and feathering
  10. Working with layers
    1. Create layers
    2. Edit layers
    3. Copy and arrange layers
    4. Adjustment and fill layers
    5. Clipping masks
    6. Layer masks
    7. Layer styles
    8. Opacity and blending modes
  11. Creating photo projects
    1. Project basics
    2. Making photo projects
    3. Editing photo projects
    4. Creating Photo Reels
  12. Saving, printing, and sharing photos
    1. Save images
    2. Printing photos
    3. Share photos online
    4. Optimizing images
    5. Optimizing images for the JPEG format
    6. Dithering in web images
    7. Guided Edits - Share panel
    8. Previewing web images
    9. Use transparency and mattes
    10. Optimizing images for the GIF or PNG-8 format
    11. Optimizing images for the PNG-24 format
  13. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Keys for selecting tools
    2. Keys for selecting and moving objects
    3. Keys for the Layers panel
    4. Keys for showing or hiding panels (expert mode)
    5. Keys for painting and brushes
    6. Keys for using text
    7. Keys for the Liquify filter
    8. Keys for transforming selections
    9. Keys for the Color Swatches panel
    10. Keys for the Camera Raw dialog box
    11. Keys for the Filter Gallery
    12. Keys for using blending modes
    13. Keys for viewing images (expertmode)

Edit selections

Making selections is a crucial part of editing. Photoshop Elements has a tool named Refine Selection Brush tool. This tool helps you add or remove areas to and from a selection by automatically detecting the edges.

The cursor for the tool is a set of two concentric circles. While the inner circle is the size of the brush, the outer circle indicates the area within which to look for an edge.

The Selection Edit toolbox provides the tools to refine your selection:

Add to selection (A)

Manually add to the current selection

Subtract from selection (B)

Manually subtract the current selection

Push Selection (C)


  • Placing the cursor inside a selection expands the selection within the outer circle to snap to the first image edge found
  • Placing the Cursor outside the selection contracts the selection within the outer circle to snap  to the first image edge found

Smooth selection (D)

Smoothen the current selection

Size (E)

Set the selection cursor size

Snap Strength (F)

Set the snapping of selection boundary to the edges

Selection Edge (G)

Set the selection edge radius

View (H)

Options to help view the selection being made. Select to have an overlay color with an opacity that you can set, or hard black or white.

Opacity (I)

Set the opacity of the overlay selected in the View option.

To refine the selection of an image:

  1. Open an image in Quick/Expert mode.

    Select an image that has minute and detailed edges

  2. Select Refine Selection Brush tool (A).

  3. From the four modes available (Add, Subtract, Push, Smooth), select the Add mode.

    Selection cursor in Add mode

  4. Press and hold cursor on the image you want to make precise and refined selections on. The selection within the concentric circles of the cursor begins to grow. Note a lighter-colored region on the outer periphery of the growing selection. This is the Selection Edge that will help you make a precise selection.

    Selection Edge (region enclosed between areas B and C in the image below)

    The size of the Selection Edge is determined by the Selection Edge slider. Experiment with the hardness and softness of this setting to get the right effect.

    A growing selection within the Refine Selection Brush cursor (Add mode)

    • A - Inner circle of the cursor, where the selection area begins to grow. Region within is automatically selected.
    • B - Outer edge of the Selection Edge.
    • C - Inner edge of the Selection Edge
    • D - Outer circle of the cursor, where the selection area stops growing if you keep the mouse pressed indefinitely.

    You can also use the cursor to 'paint' the region you want to select.

  5. Any texture like fur, hair, grass in the Selection Edge area are captured in fine detail.

    To capture more of the fine details, hover the mouse pointer over the edge of the selection, until the cursor turns to the Selection Edge cursor mode. With the tool in this mode, click and paint the areas that contain fine details.

    Selection Edge cursor


    The cursor turns to this mode when you hover the inner dark grey portion of the cursor over the edge of a selection. Also, the size of the darker portion of the cursor is determined by the Selection Edge slider setting. The larger the setting, more area can be painted over.

  6. Continue to select more regions, and refine the selected edges, until the areas you want to select have been selected. Use a different overlay option to view the details you are able to capture.

    Select the minute details captured in your photograph, using the Selection Edge cursor.

  7. Continue to experiment and perform Step 6, changing your selections and using the Subtract, Push, and Smooth modes of the Refine Selection Brush tool.


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Adobe MAX

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Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX 2024

Adobe MAX
The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online

Adobe MAX

The Creativity Conference

Oct 14–16 Miami Beach and online