Photoshop Selections and Masks

Learn all the tools to make better selections and masks.
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Instructed by Lisa Catalano Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 64
  • Length 5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 9/2012 English

Course Description

This is a Photoshop course covering how to using the Selection and Masking tools. These tools are extremely important to doing work in Photoshop and this class can help you understand how the wide range of tools work and which tools are best for which job.

This course was filmed in Photoshop CS5, but should work for anyone using CS4, CS5 or CS6.

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30 day money back guarantee.

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Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



Section 1: Day 1 - Basic Selection Tools

Learn what we will cover in the class. 


Watch this video to make sure you understand how the workspace is set up. Get a brief overview of some of the shortcuts that will be used often in the series.  

4.7 MB

Download these files so you can work along with the videos. 


Learn the basics of making selections in Photoshop and some of the shortcuts that work across multiple commands. 


Learn the simplest of the selection tools, the Marquee Tools. These tools allow you to select a rectangular or elliptical area with your mouse. 


The Lasso Tools are also simple selection tools that allow you create selections by dragging your mouse around an object. These tools are not always the most precise, but they are helpful in many different situations. 


The Quick Selection tool is another basic selection tool that works well for areas with well defined edges. Watch the video to learn how this tool will work best and what situations it is good for. 


The Magic wand tool makes selections based on Color. There is a more precise command called Color Range, but in a pinch, for simple selections, the Magic Wand tool works fine. 


Understanding the ways you can combine the multiple selection tools will allow you to make more complex selections. Learning the shortcuts will not only make your work flow faster, but will help you make these combinations better. 

297.8 kB

Download these reference sheets on the tools you learned today, for future reference. 

Section 2: Day 2 - The Color Range Command and Refine Edge
Day 2 Intro
7.2 MB

Download this file to get the images for today's exercises. 


An introduction to the powerful Color Range command. 


Understanding the differences between these two commands which make selections based on color. 


Using the Color Range tool works well on things like reflections where you only want to partially select pixels. 


The Refine Edge tool allows you improve your selections and output them in different ways. 


Learn how to adjust the edges of your selections using the Adjust Edge section of the Refine Edge tool. 


The Refine Edge command allows you to output your selection to new layers, layer masks or a new document. 


The Edge Detection tools are new in Photoshop CS5 and they are very powerful. This video explains how they work. 


Some of the tools from Refine Edge can be found from the Select Menu. If you have an earlier version of Photoshop without Refine Edge, you can use this menu instead. 

265.4 kB

Download the reference sheets for the tools we used today. 

Section 3: Day 3 - Layer Masks and Selections
Day 3 Intro
9.0 MB

Download the images for today. 

16.0 MB

If you have Photoshop CS4 or earlier, download this file and to use after the initial selection is made with Refine Edge. If you are using Photoshop CS5, you do not need this file.


A layer mask is a way to hide or show parts of your layer. Layer masks control the transparency of your layers. 

Creating Layer Masks

The beauty of layer masks is that they are non-destructive and can be edited easily. 


The beauty of layer masks is that they are non-destructive and can be edited easily. 

More Layer Mask Editing

Selecting hair is a challenge, but Photoshop has some new tools to make it easier. 


The Mask Panel was introduced in Photoshop CS4 and can be helpful when working with Masks. 


The History Panel isn't directly related to Masks or selections but it is a useful panel to understand. 

Editing your Mask

You can edit a mask containing hair using the paint brush set to Overlay mode. 


You can tell how good your selection was when you add the background. Usually there are a few things to clean up. Having a mask makes this easier than if you had just copied pixels based on a selection you made. 

Day 3 Reference Sheets
229.4 kB
Section 4: Day 4 - Vector Masks
1.2 MB

Download the files for today's exercises. 

Day 4 Intro

Understand the difference between vectors and pixels

Vector Masks

Creating a Vector mask is similar to creating a pixel layer mask, but they behave a bit differently. 

The Path Selection Tool
The Direct Selection Tool
The Convert Point Tool
The Pen Tool
Add and Delete Points
Bezier Curves
Using the Pen Tool for Selection
Modifying a Vector Mask
Day 4 Reference Sheets
226.1 kB
Section 5: Day 5 - Quick Masks, Channels and More
Day 5 Intro
13.7 MB

Download the files for today's exercises. 


Understanding how Quick Mask works can help you improve your selections. 

Selecting Grass

Channels are an advanced topic, but understanding the basics will help you follow a great technique for selecting hard to select items like hair. 

Viewing a Mask with Quick Mask Overlay
Creating a Mask from Channels
Smart Objects
Smart Objects and Vector Masks
Selecting Glass
Masking Glass
Day 5 Reference Sheets
75.7 kB

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Instructor Biography

Lisa Catalano, Web Developer, Designer, Teacher

I'm a web developer, designer, teacher and lifelong student. Keeping up to speed on technology is a challenge these days, and I like to try to focus in on what is most important and useful.

My full-time job is creating the front-end of an internal enterprise web application using Backbone/Marionette and other front-end technologies. I teach Photoshop to designers at community college and I work on small websites when I have time.

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