A selection is an area of a photo that you define. When you create a selection, the area is editable (for example, you can lighten one part of a photo without affecting the rest). You can make a selection with either a selection tool or a selection command. A selection border, which you can hide, surrounds the selection. You can change, copy, or delete pixels inside the selection border, but you can’t touch areas outside the selection border until you deselect the selection.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and later provide several selection tools for different kinds of selections. For example, the Elliptical Marquee tool selects circular and elliptical areas, and the Magic Wand tool can select an area of similar colors with one click. More complex selections can be made with one of the Lasso tools. You can even smooth the edges of a selection with feathering and anti-aliasing.
Selections are limited to the active layer—to make changes to all layers at once, you first need to flatten the image.
The selection tools are located in the Tools panel, which is located, by default, on the left side of your screen.
In Photoshop Elements, you must be in Expert mode to see the selection tools.
Quick Selection tool: Quickly and automatically makes selection based on color and texture when you click or click-drag an area.
Selection Brush tool: Automatically selects or deselects the area you paint, depending on whether you’re in Sselection or Mask mode.
Smart Brush tool: Applies color and tonal adjustments and effects to a selection. The tool automatically creates an adjustment layer for non-destructive editing.
The Rectangular Marquee tool draws square or rectangular selection borders, and the Elliptical Marquee tool draws round or elliptical selection borders.
To drag a marquee from the center, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) after you begin dragging.
To reposition a marquee tool selection border, hold down the spacebar as you drag with the selection tool. Release the spacebar once the selection border is in the correct area.
The Polygonal Lasso tool draws straight-edged segments of a selection border. You can create as many segments as you need to draw a selection border.
The Magnetic Lasso tool draws a selection border that automatically snaps to the edges of objects you drag over in the photo. This makes it easy to draw precise selection borders. The Magnetic Lasso tool is useful for quickly selecting objects with complex edges set against high-contrast backgrounds.
To switch between the Magnetic Lasso and other lasso tools when the Magnetic Lasso tool is selected, do one of the following:
To change the Magnetic Lasso pointer so that it indicates the area of edge detection (the Width value), press the Caps Lock key.
The Magic Wand tool selects pixels within a similar color range with one click. You specify the color range, or tolerance, for the Magic Wand tool’s selection. Use the Magic Wand tool when you have an area of similar colors, like a blue sky.
The Quick Selection tool makes a selection based on color and texture similarity when you click or click-drag the area you want to select. The mark you make doesn’t need to be precise, because the Quick Selection tool automatically and intuitively creates a border.
The Smart Brush tool makes selections like the Quick Selection tool and simultaneously applies a color or tonal adjustment. See Apply the Smart Brush tools.
The Selection Brush tool makes selections two ways: you can paint over the area you want to select in Selection mode, or you can paint over areas you don’t want to select using a semiopaque overlay in Mask mode.
You can first make a rough selection with a marquee tool, Quick Selection tool, or other selection tool, and then fine-tune your selection with the Selection Brush tool. You can add to the selection using the Selection Brush tool in Selection mode, or subtract from it in Mask mode.
The Magic Extractor feature is not available in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and above.
Use the Magic Extractor to make accurate selections based on the appearance of foreground and background areas that you specify. You can specify these areas by placing colored marks in the areas you want to select. After you mark the areas and close the dialog box, only the foreground area appears in the photo.
The Magic Extractor makes it easy to select people or objects so that you can superimpose them on other backgrounds. For example, you can remove yourself from a photo of you on your bicycle at home, and superimpose it on a photo of cyclists in the Tour de France. You can save the extracted image as a file that you can use again and again.
In Photoshop Elements, you can fine-tune your selection using the Refine Edge (select a portion of an image, right-click the selection, and choose Refine Edge from the context menu) dialog box. You can also open the Refine Edge dialog by choosing Select > Refine Edge.
To open the Refine Edge dialog on a Mac, select a portion of an image, Control-click the selection, and choose Refine Edge.
View Mode. From the View pop-out menu, choose a view mode for your selection. Press F to cycle through the modes
Show Radius. Displays the radius of the edge refinement.
Refine Radius and Erase Refinements tools. Precisely adjust the border area in which edge refinement occurs. To quickly toggle from one tool to the other, press E. To change the brush size, press the bracket keys. Note: Brush over soft areas such as hair or fur, to add fine details to the selection.
Smart Radius. Automatically adjusts the radius for hard and soft edges found in the border region. Deselect this option if the border is uniformly hard- or soft-edged, or if you want to control the Radius setting and refinement brushes more precisely.
Radius. Determines the size of the selection border in which edge refinement occurs. Use a small radius for sharp edges, and a large one for softer edges.
Smooth. Reduces irregular areas (“hills and valleys”) in the selection border to create a smoother outline.
Feather. Blurs the transition between the selection and surrounding pixels.
Contrast. When increased, soft-edged transitions along the selection border become more abrupt.Typically, the Smart Radius option and refinement tools are more effective.
Shift Edge. Moves soft-edged borders inward with negative values or outward with positive ones. Shifting these borders inward can help remove unwanted background colors from selection edges.
Decontaminate Colors. Replaces color fringes with the color of fully selected pixels nearby. The strength of color replacement is proportionate to the softness of selection edges.
Important: Because this option changes pixel color, it requires output to a new layer or document. Retain the original layer so you can revert back to it if needed. (To easily see changes in pixel color, choose Reveal Layer for the View Mode.)
Amount. Changes the level of decontamination and fringe replacement.
Output To. Determines whether the refined selection becomes a selection or mask on the current layer, or produces a new layer or document.
When you delete a selection on a background layer, the selected area is replaced with the background color or checkerboard background pattern (transparent pixels).