The quick selection and the magic wand further the possibilities in selection of an image. These tools are quick but can be error prone if not used correctly.

Click Here to View the Quick Selection Tool video

(length 6:14)

Click Here to View the Magic Wand Tool video

(length 8:01)

    Quick Selection Basics:
  • Fourth Button
  • Quick Selection is default
  • Arrow to show multiple tools nested underneath
  • Shortcut W
  • Shift-W changes amongst tools
  • Alt-click button changes amongst tools
  • Selects based on color and contrast using brush shape and detect edges.
  • You can quickly brush into another area to quickly select that whole color.
  • Tool will auto-switch into add mode once you start selecting. No need to shift click to add.
  • Hold Alt to subtract from selection.
    • Brush options include:
    • Diameter - the only useful adjustment, use on the fly with Left and Right Bracket keys [ ]
    • Diamter - highest of 2500px, lowest of 1px
    • Hardness - to get a soft edge, but it doesn't really matter, just keep it at 100%.
    • Spacing - sets 'flow' of brush, when set high will make a spotty selection. Keep this at 0-1%
    • Shape - handy way to adjust shape, with angle and roundness. Can be adjusted with either graphic or by the numbers. But truthfully, this is worthless. If you want a tight selection, just use a smaller diameter.
    • Size - if you have a tablet, you can use the pressure of the pen to adjust diameter
  • Sample all Layers - If this is unchecked, it will not take into account anything other than what is on your selected layer. but if you have it checked, it will take into account anything that is on screen at the time. It won't look at hidden layers.
  • Auto-Enhance - smooths out rough lines, but can really slow down Photoshop. You can get better enhancement through the Refine Edge. There just isn't enough control with this, so just leave it off.

    Magic Wand Basics:
  • Selects based on color and luminance from a pixel perfect point.
  • Shift+LMB - add to selection
  • Alt+LMB - sub from selection
  • Alt+Shft+LMB - intersect, can't really see where this would be useful for wand.
  • These buttons are repeated in the options bar.
  • Caps Lock gives useful precision cursor.
    Right Click options:
  • Select all - quickly selects full image. (Keyboard shortcut is Ctrl-A)
  • Color Range dialog box
  • Load selection
  • Tolerance - most important adjustment for Magic Wand.
  • Tolerance adjusts how many levels of difference in luminance you want it to go from the pixel you click on. 32 is default and will select a moderate range selecting 32 luminance levels higher or lighter and lower or darker. Luminance is based on 0=black and 255=white. It actually bases this on the different color channels and combines the selection based on that.
  • Tolerance - If it is on 1, it will only select the pixels of that precise color and luminance within the area. 255 is the highest.
  • Anti-Alias - keep this checked to avoid jagged edges.
  • Contiguous - With this checked, it will only select the colors immediately around where you click. If it is unchecked, it will search for those colors throughout the entire layer.
  • Sample All Layers - if this last box is checked, it will look across the entire composite image, just as you see on screen.
  • All of these functions only change for the next selection you make.
  • Refine edge will be covered in a future video.
    Extra Tip:
  • Another little trick with the magic wand, the selection point is affected by the Eye Dropper. Quickly, if you switch over to the eye dropper, in the toolbar it has sample size set at point sample by default. That will select the exact pixel you click on. Change that to say 101x101, and it will average out all the pixels within a 101x101 pixel square. Then go back to the wand tool, and it will do essentially the same thing. What is unfortunate is that the cursor does not change based on the sample size, so you just have to imagine the box outside of your center. This is something to keep in mind in case you are getting some really unexpected results, you can either go to your eyedropper and see what it is set at, or, as with all tools, if you right click on the tool icon in the options bar, click on Reset all tools.