Supercharge your Photoshop workflows with selection and masking on your iPad.

Making selections and adding masks are two powerful ways to edit selective areas and add effects to your composites.

Make selections

A selection isolates one or more parts of your image. By selecting specific areas, you can edit, and apply effects and filters to portions of your document while leaving the deselected areas untouched.

  • Double tap or long-press the active selection tool from the toolbar to bring up more selection tools — Lasso, Object Select, Quick selection, Rectangular marquee, Elliptical marquee, and Select Subject. Lasso is the default selection tool.

    - Use Object Select to select one of the objects or part of an object in your composite having multiple objects.

    - Use Select Subject to identify and select all the main subjects in your composite.
Choose from a selection tool
  • When you tap a selection tool, the associated tool options appear. From the tool options, you can choose whether to add to your selection (), subtract from your selection (), or select the areas that intersect with the current selection (). 
Choose a selection action
  • When you make a selection, the active selection properties appear at the bottom of the workspace. It gives you the option to deselect, mask, erase, invert, transform the selection, or select similar.
active selection properties

Selection tools

Select with the Object Select tool

Ps-iPad-Object-select-gGIF

To select an object using Object Select, do the following:

  1. Double tap or long press Lasso (default) or any other active selection tool from the toolbar to bring up more selection tools.
  2. Tap Object Select (). 
  3. (Optional) From the associated tool options that open, you can choose to add to your selection (), subtract from your selection (), select the areas that intersect with the current selection (), or tap () to open Object Selection settings.
  4. (Optional) Under Object Selection settings, you can choose a selection Style — Rectangle (default) or Lasso. You can also choose to enable — Sample all layers, Enhance edge, and Object subtract.
  5. Tap and draw a rectangular area or a rough lasso, based on the chosen selection style in step 4, around the object you want to select on your composite. Photoshop automatically selects the object inside the defined region.

Select with the Select Subject tool

Powered by Adobe Sensei, the Select Subject () tool is trained to identify a variety of objects in an image—people, animals, vehicles, toys, and more, while working with Photoshop on the iPad. Select Subject uses the power of Sensei to analyze a layer, identify the most prominent subjects in your document and make a selection — in a single tap of an icon. 

The Select Subject tool saves time by quickly isolating the main subjects from the background. It gives the best results when your composition is less cluttered, free of reflective surfaces, has a good amount of contrast between the main subject and the background, and has sharp edges around the main subject. You can further refine the automatic selection using other selection tools — Lasso, Quick selection, and Marquee to fine-tune your selection. 

To make a selection using the Select Subject tool, do the following:

1. Double tap or long press Lasso (default) or other active selection tool from the toolbar to bring up more selection tool options.

2. Tap Select Subject (). The Select Subject tool automatically selects the main subject in the active layer of your document.

Let the Select Subject tool intuitively identify and select the main subject in your image.
Let the Select Subject tool intuitively identify and select the main subject in your image.

Select with the Lasso tool

The Lasso tool is the default selection tool in Photoshop on the iPad and is useful for drawing freeform segments of a selection. Tap  from the toolbar to select the Lasso tool and choose from the tool options that appear. Simply draw a freehand selection on your document to proceed.

  • Add to selection (): Next selections will be added to the current selection.
  • Subtract from selection (): Next selections will be subtracted from the current selection.
  • Select the areas that intersect with the current selection (): Select the intersection of current and next selection.
  • Lasso settings (): Feather - Select the number of pixels to feather the edges of a selection.
Lasso tool settings

Select with the Quick selection tool

The Quick selection tool allows you to quickly paint a selection using an adjustable round brush. As you drag, the selection expands outward and automatically finds and follows defined edges in your document.

Double tap or long press the Lasso tool from the toolbar to bring up the Quick selection tool () . As you tap the Quick selection tool, choose from the tool options that appear:

  • Add to selection (): Next selections will be added to the current selection.
  • Subtract from selection (): Next selections will be subtracted from the current selection.
  • Brush size: Determines the pixel size of the quick selection tool.
  • Hardness: The hardness setting controls the size of the brush’s hard center.
  • Quick Select settings (): Enable/disable Use pressure for size.
Quick selection tool

Select with the Marquee tools

The marquee tools allow you to select rectangles and ellipses. To make a marquee selection, choose one of the marquee tools and simply drag over the area you wish to select. If you have a physical keyboard connected to your iPad, you can also press M (Shift) to select the Marquee tools.

Use the Rectangular marquee tool () for making a rectangular selection.

Rectangular marquee tool
Rectangular marquee tool

Use the Elliptical marquee tool () for makins an elliptical selection.

Elliptical marquee tool
Elliptical marquee tool
  • Add to selection (): Next selections will be added to the current selection.
  • Subtract from selection (): Next selections will be subtracted from the current selection.
  • Select the areas that intersect with the current selection (): Select the intersection of current and next selection.
  • Lasso settings (): 
    Feather - Select the number of pixels to feather the edges of a selection.
    Style - Select a style from the drop-down list.

Active selection properties

Once you make a selection, you can see active selection properties at the bottom of the workspace:

  • Deselect: Deselects the current selection.
  • Mask: Turns the current selection into a mask for the layer.
  • Erase: Allows you to erase the selected area.
  • Invert: Inverts the selection so that the deselected area becomes the selection.
  • Transform selection: Allows you to transform the selection.
  • Select similar: Adds pixels to the selection that are similar to the ones already selected.
active selection properties

More options on taskbar

  • Cut: Allows you to cut a selection or layer
  • Copy merged: Allows you to copy a merged selection or layer to be pasted over another layer.
layer-selections-1-400

Apply masks

You can use masks to hide portions of a layer and reveal portions of the layers below. Masks are nondestructive, which means you can go back and edit the masks again without losing the pixels they hide.

  • A layer mask hides part of a layer from view.
  • A clipping mask uses the contents of one layer to clip or hide the contents of one or more other layers from view.
Easily create accurate selections and masks in Photoshop on your iPad.
Easily create accurate selections and masks in Photoshop on your iPad.

Layer mask

You can create a layer mask to show parts of a layer and hide others by turning a selection into a layer mask, or by painting on the layer mask after creating it. In areas where the layer is masked or hidden, the layers below are visible. Masking layers is a valuable compositing technique for combining multiple documents into a single document or for removing unwanted objects from a composite.

Create a layer mask from a selection

  1. Make sure the layer you wish to mask is selected. Simply tap a layer thumbnail from the taskbar to select a layer.

  2. Create a selection using one of the selection tools.

  3. Tap the layer mask icon on the taskbar ().

You can view the selected area while the rest of the layer gets masked.

From the compact layer view, you can swipe left and right on the layer thumbnail to switch the view from layer view to layer mask view. Both thumbnails are visible on the detailed layer view. To learn more about layer views, see Work with layers.

Create a layer mask and edit the mask with a brush

  1. Make sure the layer you wish to mask is selected. Simply tap a layer thumbnail from the taskbar to select a layer.

  2. Tap the layer mask () icon on the taskbar to create a mask.

  3. Tap the brush () icon.

  4. Set up brush properties as desired. Choose black to fully mask where you paint. To learn more about brush properties, see Draw and paint with brushes.

  5. Paint over the mask layer.

To learn more about layer masks, see Work with layers.

Clipping mask

A clipping mask allows you to use the content of one layer to mask the layers above it. To learn more about clipping masks, see Work with layers.