Photoshop Cowboy: The Magnetic Lasso

During our recent ad recreation project I managed to get some practice with the magnetic lasso, with the majority of this ‘practice’ ending with frustration and lots of unwanted points. Yes, the magnetic lasso can be a relentless pain when in the early stages of use but after further research into why it was so hard to use, I managed to compile a small list to make the experience more pleasant.rbps-040

After reviewing a quick tutorial on Youtube about it, I found my first mistake; impatience. If you want to use this tool, you are going to need a lot of patience. Yes, it is tedious, but better to go at a snail’s pace and get success rather than a painful defeat.

The second item is shadows; keep in mind where the lighting is coming from in your picture. If the photo you are cutting an image from has a similar lighting situation, the shadow can be taken with it as well. If this is not the case, the shadow will ultimately be your call but can add a nice effect.

The third item is that you need to be careful of what I’m going to call ‘mini-edges’. These are sections of the photo that have very small edges and can lead to the photo looking choppy once it is cut. Ultimately, these both can and cannot be avoided; to deal best with them, try to zoom in closely and work around the tricky areas. It takes time and precision but will offer a better over all look. If time is not on your side however, try to get as closely as possible.

The fourth and final item is; the eraser tool! I was lucky enough to have Sarah point this out to me so snaps for Sarah! When you are finished and the image looks a little jagged, just take the eraser tool with a small and soft point and run it around the outline slowly and it will help to give a polished look.

That is it on the subject for now, but if I manage to find more tips or discover better ways to help give a more professional look I will add them in a new entry. If anyone else has tips of their own by all means post it in a comment! Save an image; post a comment.

– Stephen A.

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