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M aking Soft Selections

in Photoshop Cs4

What is a “soft” selection? A selection in Photoshop is an area of the image that you wish to change or work on. There are numerous ways of making selections, some very accurate, others soft edged. We’ll look at some soft edged effects. 1)

Select the Lasso Tool.

Make sure you choose the rounded lasso for this exercise.


Open an image - or get

one from the Internet.


Draw around a part of the image with the Lasso. Your selection will be surrounded by the marching ants.


Press CTRL + I to turn the selected part of the image into a negative. You should see quite a hard edge to the negative image. Press CTRL + Z to undo the change.


Go to Select > Modify > Feather and select 30 pixels.


Now when you press CTRL + I the negative part of your image should have a soft edge to it.


To hide the marching ants press CTRL + H. To drop the selection press CTRL + D.

Quick Mask

Quick Mask is a very overlooked method of making and modifying selections. 1)

Draw a hard edged selection on your image with the Lasso.


Press Q on your keyboard - you’ve now entered quick mask and the unselected part of your image has gone red. This allows you to see and modify your selections.


While in quick mask go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Drag the slider across and watch how the edge of your selection blurs.


To exit quick mask and go back to the marching ants press Q again.


Invert your image to see how the selection has been softened.


Undo the last action and drop the selection (CTRL + D).


With no selection active, press Q to enter quick mask.. Nothing should change on your image.


From the tool box choose the paintbrush tool.


From the tool modifier choose a large soft brush.


Press D on your keyboard to reset your colours to Black and White. Paint a selection onto your image.


Before you press Q to leave quick mask you need to press CTRL + I to invert the selection, otherwise you will have selected everything other than the area you painted over.

In quick mask you can paint over existing selections to modify or refine them. Pressing X whilst painting will swap from Black to White and add or remove from the selection.

Soft Selections  

Guide to Photoshop

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