Photoshop Selections using the Pen Tool

Ever get frustrated doing selections? Try the Pen Tool to make things a lot easier.

When using the lasso tool for complex selections, invariable, I get off the lines, or my fingers get tired of holding the mouse key down. I use a drawing tablet most the time, but even then it’s a serious pain on complex selections. The Polygonal tool is even worse, sometimes completing a selection unexpectedly, or I can’t find the end point/closing box. Here’s the image I was working with.

Enter the pen tool. Just hit P on the keyboard and you have it! You might want to right click on the tool and make sure the top option “Pen Tool” is the one selected. I usually zoom in quite a ways, especially if it is a complex item I’m selecting (100-300%) Now, click along the line you want to select, you can stop and rest anytime! Each click will set an anchor point. If you goof, you can either use the history to undo or right click on the toolbar tool and use the delete anchor point tool.

Eventually, you will get back to your starting point and close the selection loop. Now, you need the Paths window open and on the right side top corner of the window, there’s a little lined thingy with a down arrow. Click and choose “Make Selection”.

A pop up window will appear with several choices, most times you’ll want “New Selection”.

Yes, there are more steps, but once you’ve done it a couple times, you’ll see how easy and convenient it is, for more than the simplest selection jobs.


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