Pushing Your Buttons

If your memory for keyboard shortcuts is already overloaded, you'll be relieved to know you can also combine selections using the four buttons at the left end of the Tool Options bar: New Selection, Add to Selection, Subtract from Selection, and Intersect with Selection. That last one results in a selection of the area that the original selection and your new selection have in common.

Did you Know?

The thin, horizontal (Single Row) and vertical (Single Column) marquees select a single row of pixels across the entire width or height of the image, either horizontally or vertically. They are often useful for cleaning up the edges of an object.

When you are dealing with selections, it is important to remember that, for good or bad, only the area within the confines of the marquee can be edited as long as a selection is active. Thus, after a selection is made, you can perform whatever action you want, but before you move on, the selection must be turned off, or deselected, by clicking outside the selected area with one of the Marquee tools or by pressing Cmd-D (Mac) or Ctrl+D (Windows). Until you do so, you can only edit within the selection's boundaries. On the other hand, this restriction on editing can be extremely helpful if you need to draw a complex filled shape. Assemble the shape from multiple selections, as I have in Figure 3.2. Then you can pour paint into it, apply a gradient to it, or use the paintbrush with no fear of coloring outside the lines. You can even use the selection to erase a piece of the picture. If I filled the page with color or with an image and selected a shape from within it, I could easily remove the active selected piece by pressing the Backspace/Delete key.


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