Photoshop Quick Tip: Selections


If you are working with keyboard-shortcuts in Photoshop, you may use the M-key very often to make a selection or to determine a distance. You may also need the horizontal and vertical selection tools (called “Single row” and “Single column”) in order to select 1px of the entire width/height of your document. By default, these selection tools aren’t included in the Photoshop shortcut-list but you can assign keys to them by using the “Keyboard Shortcuts”-dialogue which is accessible through “Edit -> Keyboard Shortcuts…”. There, just select the dropdown-box at “Shortcuts for:” and choose “Tools”. In the following window, you can assign any key to the horizontal/vertical selection tools so if you assign the M-key, you are able to switch through all selection tools by pressing SHIFT-M”.
Photoshop also allows you to disable the SHIFT-modifier-key” by disabling the “Use Shift for alternative tool”-checkbox in the “Preferences -> General”-dialogue but I wouldn’t recommend this.

The next tip that could help you is the use of the SPACE-bar when making a selection. So when you draw a selection with the mouse (by holding down the left mousebutton and moving the mouse) you can hold down the SPACE-bar additionally in order to move the selection around. This gives you the possibility of adjusting the position of your unfinished selection.

The last point I want to discuss is the transformation of selections which is a very common operation in Photoshop. There are several ways to transform a selection:

- add/subtract selection by pressing SHIFT/ALT-LeftMouseButton
– resize the entire selection via the menu “Select -> Modify -> Expand/Contract
– transform the entire selection via the menu “Select -> Transform Selection
– transform the entire selection by switching to the Quick Mask Mode
– resize the entire selection by using my script

Choose the way you like the most. Keep in mind that the “Quick Mask”-method doesn’t preserve sharp edges so you may get anti-aliased edges. If you want a pixel accurate selection (exact amount of Pixels), you should use the “Transform Selection”-method from the “Select”-menu or my “TrimSelection”-script.

Article postedPosted in @ 06/10/08