Convert paths to selection borders

Paths provide smooth outlines that you can convert into precise selection borders. You can also convert selection borders into paths, using the Direct Selection tool  for fine-tuning.

You can define any closed path as a selection border. A closed path can be added to, subtracted from, or combined with the current selection.

Convert a path to a selection border using the current settings

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. To convert the path, do one of the following:
    • Click the Load Path As A Selection button  at the bottom of the Paths panel.

    • Ctrl‑click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the path thumbnail in the Paths panel.

Convert a path to a selection border and specify settings

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Load Path As A Selection button  at the bottom of the Paths panel.

    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the path to the Load Path As A Selection button.

    • Choose Make Selection from the Paths panel menu.

  3. In the Make Selection dialog box, select a Rendering option:

    Feather Radius

    Defines how far inside and outside the selection border the feather edge extends. Enter a value in pixels.

    Anti-aliased

    Creates a finer transition between the pixels in the selection and the surrounding pixels. Make sure the Feather Radius is set to 0.

    For more information on these options, see Soften the edges of selections.

  4. Select an Operation option:

    New Selection

    Selects only the area defined by the path.

    Add To Selection

    Adds the area defined by the path to the original selection.

    Subtract From Selection

    Removes the area defined by the path from the current selection.

    Intersect With Selection

    Selects the area common to both the path and the original selection. If the path and selection do not overlap, nothing is selected.

  5. Click OK.

Convert a selection to a path

Any selection made with a selection tool can be defined as a path. The Make Work Path command eliminates any feathering applied to the selection. It can also alter the shape of the selection, depending on the complexity of the path and the tolerance value you choose in the Make Work Path dialog box.

  1. Make the selection, and do one of the following:
    • Click the Make Work Path button  at the bottom of the Paths panel to use the current tolerance setting, without opening the Make Work Path dialog box.

    • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Make Work Path button at the bottom of the Paths panel.

    • Choose Make Work Path from the Paths panel menu.

  2. Enter a Tolerance value or use the default value in the Make Work Path dialog box.

    Tolerance values can range from 0.5 to 10 pixels and determine how sensitive the Make Work Path command is to slight changes in the selection shape. The higher the tolerance value, the fewer the anchor points used to draw the path and the smoother the path. If the path is used as a clipping path and you have problems printing the image, use a higher tolerance value. (See Print image clipping paths.)

  3. Click OK. The path appears at the bottom of the Paths panel.

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