The Lasso Tools

Figure 4-51: A Lasso selection

The Lasso tool is more flexible than the Rectangular Marquee tool and can be used to select almost any shape. You can then give your selection a soft edge to smooth the transitions between selections and the rest of an image. The Feather option is found in the Lasso options bar. You can close the shape you form with the Lasso by using a double click, by pressing Return V, or simply by closing the shape with the Lasso line itself. The Lasso requires a little more dexterity than the Rectangular Marquee, but it's a simpler way to select complex or asymmetric shapes. Working with the Lasso is easier if you use a graphics tablet instead of a mouse. The Lasso tool has three basic variants:

Normal Lasso • The form follows your mouse movements closely, making it simple to draw fine lines and shapes while holding down the mouse button.

Figure 4-52: The "Refine Edge" dialog in Photoshop CS5

Polygonal Lasso • Mouse clicks define the corners of a polygon. This is a very quick way to mirror straight edges in an image.

* 0Q ^ ® Feather: |ti pji | 0Anti-alias ( Refine Edge... )

Magnetic Lasso • This version functions the same way as the normal Lasso, but it has an additional built-in functionality that automatically looks for areas of contrast and color transitions near the cursor position, and leads the mouse accordingly. To change direction, click to create a corner and move on. Clicking while pressing the shift Q key draws a straight line between the last corner and the current cursor position.

^Hj P Ú] Feather: fl r* 1^1 Anti-alias Width: 1 f r,| Contrast: | 1PK Frequency

You can select the width of the soft edge in the Lasso options bar. The Antialias option rounds off the transitions between the selection and the rest of the image when using normal or polygonal Lassos. All Lassos include the Refine Edge button that opens the dialog shown in figure 4-52. Here, you can adjust not only the width of your soft edge, but also round your edge and adjust its radius and contrast, as well as expanding or contracting the entire selection.

The Ic-HEcfl/--> icons at the bottom of the CS4 dialog allow you to select various views of your selection: e.g., as a mask within the image, or as a free-standing selection with the rest of the image faded out. Try them all out. CS5 has its own View menu to perform the same function. Use the zoom tool ^ help check your selection. More details on this dialog can be found in section 7.4.1 on page 259.

The Refine Edge function is also available with the Rectangular and Elliptical Marquee tools.

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