SB1-The Selection Tools

Skill Builder 1

Selection Tool Tricks

What’s covered:

  • Selection Tools – How to select part of your image.
  • Adjustment Layers
  • Layer Blend Modes
  • Layer Opacity (Layers Palette)
  • Blur/Gaussian Blur
  • Applying and Blending Textures
  • Layer Masks
  • Eyedropper Tool (sampling color)


First, watch the two videos below for a demonstration. Make notes of the tools they use.

Then, using one of your photos from this semester:

  1. Use an appropriate selection tool to select a subject in your photo as demonstrated in the video.
  2. Use the “Refine Edge” button (MENU: Select>Refine Edge or CMD+Option+R) with the Smart Radius selected and clean up the edges with the Refine Radius brush. This will soften the edges so it won’t look “cut out.”
  3. Before selecting OK, select “New Layer with Layer Mask” in the OUTPUT selection menu. Then press OK. You should now have two layers.
  4. You can clean up the mask with the brush tool if needed (be sure you have the layer mask selected). Or use the Select>Refine Mask on the menu.
  5. Create a new Adjustment Layer BETWEEN the two layers (via the Adjustments Palette) to modify the background layer.
  6. With the Adjustment Layer selected, use the Properties Panel to distinctly change the background to highlight the subject on the top layer.
  7. When finished, save the PSD file in your assignments folder, then output a JPEG and turn it in to the Trapane Hand-in Folder.



Click on the links below to open the video viewer:

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=xbU3C_2v_qU width=720 height=480 anchor=”Layer Blend Modes”]

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=NTzeTBk2b_o width=720 height=480 anchor=”Refine Edge”]

Other Videos

For those who want to see more advanced techniques, check out these videos:

Fine Art Color to Black-and-White Conversions