Written Tutorial On Using The Polygonal Lasso Tool In Photoshop CS5
The Polygonal Lasso Tool is located in the Toolbox on the left side of your screen in Photoshop and is used to select objects inside a photograph or image. The tool is excellent for selecting objects that are comprised of straight lines. If you’re patient and willing to do some extra clicking, you can also do a fair job of selecting curved objects, as long as the contour is not too irregular.For this demonstration, I have chosen a stock photo from Flickr.com with a stop sign in the foreground. The sign’s straight edges lend themselves to using the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
Here are the simple steps for employing the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select an object in a photograph:
1. In Photoshop, open the photograph from which you want to select the object.
2. Zoom in on the object you would like to select. Photoshop has several options for zooming in. One of the simplest is to do a “Control +” on a PC or a “Command +” on a Mac.
3. The third icon down in the Toolbox on the left side of the Photoshop screen is the Lasso-Tool icon. If you click once on that icon and move the cursor away from the Toolbox, you’ll get whatever tool is already activated in the Lasso-Tool submenu. If you left click and hold, however, the entire Lasso-Tool submenu appears. It contains the Lasso Tool, the Polygonal Lasso Tool, and the Magnetic Lasso Tool. (Right clicking will also open this submenu.)
4. Left click on the Polygonal Lasso Tool to activate it, move over to the photo, and you’ll notice that the cursor has changed. It now looks like a bird with a short line pointing down and to the left. The bottommost tip of that line is where the anchor points are set when you left click your mouse.
5. With the Polygonal Lasso Tool activated, left click on a corner of the object you want to select and release the mouse button to set the first anchor point, then pull the line to the next point. Click and release to set another anchor point, and continue moving your mouse to subsequent anchor points around the object to complete the selection.
6. If you make a mistake, just hit the delete key or the backspace key, and the most recent anchor point will be eliminated. Do this as many times as necessary to eliminate your mistake and get back on track. Then continue making your selection.
7. When you reach the closing point and are ready to complete your selection, a small circle will appear on the bottom right corner of the cursor. Click to close the circuit, and the object will be selected. You’ll see a dotted line (sometimes referred to as “marching ants”) moving around the perimeter of the object.
8. Zoom out by doing a “Control –“ on a PC or a “Command –“ on a Mac.
9. Return to the Toolbox to pick up the Move Tool, which is the first icon at the top. With the Move Tool activated, click on the selected object and drag it to a new location, and you’ll see that you can move the selection around on that layer.
10. One way to isolate your selection for future use is to go to the Edit Menu to Copy and Paste the selection. When you paste it, a new layer is created in the Layers Panel and is displayed above the background layer. Click twice on the layer’s label and rename the layer. In this case, I’ve renamed it “Stop sign.” (Another way of creating a new layer is by doing a “Control J” on a PC or a “Command J” on a Mac.)
11. On the Layers Panel, select the new layer called “Stop sign,” and with the Move Tool activated, you’ll find you are able to move the sign around on the layer. If you turn off the Background layer, you’ll see the selected sign alone on a transparent background.
It’s that simple! You’ve used the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select a straight-sided object in Photoshop CS5, and you’ve isolated the selected object on a new layer. I hope you find this tutorial to be useful.