The Lasso Tool: Learning to Love Photoshop’s Lasso Function

lasso toolWhenever a user opens up the Adobe Photoshop software (any edition of the program), the small icon in the toolbox matches that of a rope lasso used by cowboys in order to rope and subdue their intended target. There’s a reason why it is called the “lasso” tool! And just as a lasso is a cowpoke’s best ally in a pinch, when a user is feeling rushed to complete a task, it is the lasso tool that comes to the rescue, which is why it’s an essential weapon to have in your creative arsenal.

Of course, this may seem like a major undertaking for beginners, especially those who are still new to the Photoshop program, which is why a basic tutorial that teaches new users the ropes of Photoshop CS5 is recommended for total newbies. The lasso can perform numerous functions at one time once the user familiarizes him or her self with some of the special lasso tricks.

What is the Lasso Tool?

The lasso tool is a quick way to perform a number of tasks in Photoshop (on the area the user wishes to work on).  In the physical world, you would take a pencil in order to trace a border or draw the outline of an object onto a piece of blank paper, whereas in the world of Photoshop, you would use the lasso tool to perform this function digitally. The speed and agility of the lasso tool is also a key to its uniqueness – plus there are no hidden complexities in using the lasso like some of Photoshop other tools.

Additionally, if you happen to make a mistake, the tool doesn’t really commit you to anything, so to speak, so you can easily right-click on any part of the image within the blinking dots (that the tool created when in use) and hit the Deselect key. That outline then disappears and you can trace another lasso in the desired area.

Types of Lassos

When clicking on the lasso key, you will quickly discover that there are, in fact, two different lasso tools along with the original lasso: the magnetic lasso and the polygonal lasso.

  • Polygonal lasso

This particular lasso is used to set boundaries for any selection on a collinear lined shape (a straight shape, in other words). You do not need to trace around the edges of the selection after clicking on the polygonal lasso. Instead, you simply draw lines.

  • Magnetic lasso

This lasso is extremely helpful because, like a magnet, this lasso attaches itself to the edge of the image you are selecting. This also proves somewhat infuriating at times for some users, because the magnetic lasso can also potentially grab onto something you do not wish to mess with, in which case you will have to start all over again. In this lasso’s option bar, you can set the Feather, Width, Edge Contrast, and Frequency.

When You Shouldn’t Use the Lasso Tool

Many individuals who use Photoshop on a regular basis are hesitant to use the lasso tool on a regular basis, especially if they have to finish an incredibly intricate project. This can be especially important in cases were even a single misplaced pixel could negatively effect the entire project.

You must have an incredible amount of steadiness and advanced training in order to complete this task with the lasso, so it is best to avoid this tool and use one of the many other tools in Photoshop that can complete this same task. There is an array of other tools at your disposal in order to perform this task, and this insightful Photoshop course will teach you how to not only learn those tools, but how to create a work of pure art.

Lasso Tricks

It’s always helpful when you’re able to learn little tricks that help speed up the process of your creation in Photoshop, and it’s extremely fun to play around with them as well.  Here are a few:

  • If you wish to add an already existing selection using either of the lasso tools, simply hold down the Shift button and a little (+) will appear right next to it, so you then draw a new selection.
  • You know that you can actually convert the Polygonal lasso into a regular lasso while drawing? All you have to do is press Option and the tool will automatically convert while Option is held down.
  • The Shortcut key for this tool is an “L”.
  • You can hit both the ALT + SHIFT key at the same time and then grab and drag over a selection which will turn on the “Intersect Selection” option.
  • Pressing the CTRL key will allow you to drag what ever part of the image you had already selected

Artists usually find it difficult to retouch their work while only learning about one tool at a time, so this portrait and beauty retouching course will be able to turn you into the type of artist you’ve always dreamed you’d be. Learning the different elements of Photoshop often takes a good deal of time and energy, and you will also struggle with fighting frustration because – yes – there are a lot of components that come along with each specific tool. It’s wise to take some time out in order to explore these components and all the options, even with one not as complex as the lasso tool.

Though not everyone is able to take the time out of their busy schedule in order to take the necessary time needed to excel with this software, so Udemy offers this very effective and convenient Photoshop CS6 crash course, which will teach you the basics in a short amount of time. One thing that is important to remember is that learning about Photoshop is fun and extremely beneficial to your creative work and the better you become, the less frustrated you’ll actually be if you hit a bump in the road.