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mango head

selection tools

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Adobe Photoshop basics. Introduction to Selection tools. Creating a mango-head lesson plan.

Learning objectives:

Students learn to use Selection tools:

  • Move tool
  • Marquee tools
  • Lasso tools
  • Magic Wand tool
  • Quick Selection tool
  • Crop tool


selection tools in photoshop


melon head

Download the work file and open it in Photoshop.

These are the pieces you are going to put together to create a face.

Focus of this assignment is to practice the use of selection tools.

selection tools

Selection tools are grouped together.

We are going to use many of them in this project.

Some of them will be much easier than the others. But it is really important to try them all.

marquee tools

The first group of selection tools is called "Marquee Tools".

Rectangular and elliptical marquee tools will let you make rectangular or circular selections.

Single row and Single column tools will let you select a row that is 1 pixel high or a column that is 1 pixel wide.

elliptical marquee

Select the Elliptical Marquee tool.

We are going to make a circular selection to select a blueberry for an eye.

round selection

To make a round selection you just click and drag the cursor over the area that you want to select.

Try it.

If you want to select a perfect circle (or a perfect square) - hold SHIFT while dragging.

If you want to start your selection from the center - hold Option (Alt) button.

If you want both of these options (perfect circle/square drawing from the center) hold both keys (Shift + Option (Alt)) while dragging.

Try it!!!

Now zoom in the area with the blueberry. Select it.

Move tool

The next step is to move the blueberry over the avocado.

Move tool is for moving!

Select the Move tool.

moving selection

Place the cursor inside your selection. Do you see the cursor changed to scissors? By using this tool right now you are cutting the blueberry out of the background in order to reposition it.

Drag the selection over the avocado.

While your blueberry is still selected, you can adjust its position (with a mouse or using the arrow keys on the keyboard)

Once you deselect it - it it permanently embedded into the image.

Select > Deselect on the menu bar
or Command D (Ctrl D)

Use Magnetic Lasso tool to select the green shape..

Magnetic Lasso will snap to the edges of the objects that you draw. Actually, it snaps to the biggest contrast between the colors (values). Usually, the biggest contrast is the edge of an object vs. the background.

magnetic lasso tool
round selection

Double-click the Hand Tool.

It will zoom out the image so you are able to see it all.

zoom outmove tool

Use the Move tool to drag the avocado over the mango.

See? It looks like an eye....


dragging selection

Let's add the second eye.

It is important that the first eye is still selected.

There is a way in Photoshop to duplicate selections and move them at the same time.

Choose the Move tool.

Place the cursor inside the eye selection.

Hold Option (Alt) key. See a small plus sign? Keep holding it down.

Now drag your eye selection to create another eye.

Position the second slice.

duplicate a selection

To flip the second eye:

Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontally

Now you can deselect.

magic wand selection

You can add to or subtract from a selection.

We will practice that by creating a mouth out of an orange slice.

Drag a circular selection using Elliptical Marquee tool.

magic wand tool

Switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool.

Hold Alt (Option) key.

Drag an area that you want to subtract from the orange slice.

magic wand settings

With the Move Tool:

Drag the mouth over the mango face.


magic wand selection

Magic Wand selects pixels that are of similar color.

It works better to select objects and areas that are of a uniform color. We are lucky to have a solid blue background here.

We will extract the potato in just two clicks.

add to selection

Let's define the area that we are going to work with:

Use Rectangular Marquee tool and select the area inside the blue rectangle.

Choose Magic Wand tool.

Then look at the Option bar.

Set Tolerance to 50.

That means that the Magic Wand will select all pixels within the range of 50 shades darker than the initial color and 50 shades lighter than the initial color.

Check Contiguous option to select only pixels that are connected to each other.


Alt (Option) click on the blue background within the rectangular selection.

This will subtract from the selection all blue pixels - leaving only the potato selected.

dragging selectionmove tool

Choose Move Tool.

Drag the potato over the mango.

Looks like a nose?

quick selection tool

To resize it:

Edit > Free Transform (or Ctrl/Command T)

Hold Shift to constrain proportions as you are resizing.

Hit Enter to apply transformation when you are done.


drag selection

We are using a cucumber slice for an ear.

Choose Lasso tool. Lasso is a freehand selection tool. It selects pixels as you drag it.

To select a shape - draw the selection around it. Try to stay close to the shape. But if you don't - not a big deal. We'll fix it.

Remember - drawing your own selection - you need to return to your start point. Selection is a closed shape. So you need to end at your start point. Once you stop and release the mouse - it connects the start and the end points with a straight line. This happens because selection can be only an enclosed shape, not an open end line.

lasso tool

For this particular purpose - we are selecting only a part of the shape.

So do your best to draw the selection line around the left side of the shape.

Start at the top, follow the outline, stop at the bottom and release the mouse.

To fix the mistakes, use Shift (to add to selection) or Alt/Option (to subtract from selection).

lasso selection

Zoom in the area with the mushroom.


edit selectionmove tool

Drag the ear.

drag selectionmove tool

To curve the right edge - Edit > Transform > Warp

magnetic lasso selection

Push the straight edge to create a smooth curve.

moving selection

Hit Enter to apply transformation.

rotate selection

Duplicate the ear with Alt/Option dragging the selection.

rotate selection

Flip Horizontally.


duplicate selectionselection tools

To select the basil bunch - use Rectangular marquee tool and select the area.

Switch to Magic Wand tool.

Set tolerance to 12.

Uncheck Contiguous option to remove all while pixels.transform selection

lasso tools

Click on white background inside the selection.

This will leave only basil selected.

lasso tool

Use Move tool.

Drag the herbs as shown.

swap lasso tools

Duplicate the bunch.

move selection

Duplicate it again.

marquee selection

To rotate the selection:

Free Transform (Ctrl/Option T)



magic wand options

To select a contrasted area (does not need to be a solid or similar colors) use Quick Selection tool.

quick selection

Draw a quick stroke across the mushroom.

subtract from selection

Once it is selected, drag it over the head.


subtract from selection

crop tool

Now let's get rid of the left side of the image!

Choose Crop Tool

Draw a box around the mango person.. :)

You can adjust the size of it (and even rotate)


File > Save

move selection

Your project is done.


type tool

Add your name before you print.

Choose Type tool.

intricate selection

Select font, font size, and font color.

magic wand options

Click on the image and start typing.

(Do not drag with Type tool)

Switch from the Type tool.