There are three Lasso Tools accessible from this icon. The Lasso Tool, which is also known as the Free Hand Lasso, the Polygonal Lasso Tool and the Magnetic Lasso Tool. Photographers primarily use the regular Lasso Tool and the Magnetic Lasso Tool. The Polygonal Lasso Tool makes straight lines between points which usually isn't quite what photographers need. However, occasionally that can be helpful with architectural selections. Using the Free Hand Lasso, the regular Lasso Tool, is much like taking a pencil and drawing an outline around something you want to select. I'm going to begin by zooming in. I'm going to do Command Plus and I'm going to click on New Selection and begin dragging around to draw my selection. Now, I'm using a trackball and it's pretty hard to make an accurate selection free hand drawing it. This is one of those places where a Wacom Tablet can make this tool a lot easier to use rather than trying to use a mouse or a trackball or a trackpad. When you let go, the lasso will take the shortest path back to the original point, thereby completing the selection. If it's not what you had in mind, don't panic. You don't even have to start over. Just click the Add to Selection or Subtract from Selection and continue drawing the outline. For example, if I had also wanted to select this egg, I could click the Add to or if I was concerned about this little black area, I could click the Subtract from, zoom in and try and come down over here, do a little bit more accurate job of going along the edge and I can do a wide job and say subtract that area from the selection. And I've improved my selection a bit. At some point you're going to think that you wish that Photoshop would help you a bit with sticking to the edge and that's just what the Magnetic Lasso is designed to do. Let's click on a New Selection. You begin by selecting a brush size. Notice up here that we have width, contrast and frequency. Width is the size of the brush and I like to control it with my Bracket Key so I can visually choose how large or small a brush to use. I want a brush that's large enough that I don't make myself crazy as I try and trace along the edge of the egg or the selection but small enough that I can work fairly accurately. Using the Bracket Keys makes it easy to adjust it up or down visually to a size that looks like it would work. The Magnetic Lasso is designed to lay down points to help you identify the edge based on the contrast in the pixels. So when you're relying on Photoshop to detect more subtle changes in contrast, such as right here between the eggs, you'll need a low contrast setting like 20. If you were selecting this egg along the edge that's along the black, then you might want a higher contrast setting like 50. The difference is with the low contrast setting, you're going to have to work a little bit more precisely and accurately whereas with a high contrast setting, you can work a little more quickly. So let's give this a try. I'm going to zoom in a little bit. I've got it on New Selection so my old selection goes away and I'm just going to come along and drag. Notice that Photoshop is laying down points. That frequency said that it should lay down points every 57 pixels or if it thinks that it particularly needs it because of a turn or some other issue. At any point where I need to help it along, I can left click and add a point. For example, right here it's having trouble. It wants to jump over to the other egg so I can guide it and left click to lay down a series of points a little closer together right here where it's having trouble and then as we get into areas of a little higher contrast where it's easier for it to work, we can just trace around and we get back over the beginning point, double click and we have the selection. So far, so good. And the Magnetic Lasso Tool looks pretty amazing and it's something that you're going to want to use a lot and in truth it is but sometimes it can be difficult. Let me click on the Add to Selection and let's say that we want it to select this egg over here as well. So I'm going to come along and go to select this egg and notice I've run out of space so I need to get the Hand Tool and the Spacebar and try to move this over but when I did, the Magnetic Lasso accidentally got away from me and did all this weird stuff and now I'm not very happy because I've ruined my selection. But the fact is I haven't really ruined my selection. The trick to using the Magnetic Lasso Tool is to put it back over the last good point that you had and hit the Delete or Backspace Key until it gets back to that point, left click and continue on your way making your selection. That way you contain the Magnetic Lasso and make it do what you hope it will. When making selections, you want to zoom in and work as carefully and as accurately as is reasonable. I think you're going to find that the Magnetic Lasso Tool and the regular Lasso Tool are tools that you'll use from time to time.
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