Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Tip – The Magnetic Lasso

If you’re using Adobe Photoshop Elements, you may be pretty new to photo editing or new to the Photoshop platform in general. Our beginners Photoshop Elements 11 Tutorial Video course is a great place to start, if you’re new or if you have used PS Elements in the past and are wanting to see how you can get the most out of it.

Here’s a quick tutorial from Andy Anderson on the Magnetic Lasso tool. It’s been a part of Photoshop for a very long time, and understanding what you can do with it will give you one more way to isolate specific areas of a photo for cropping them out or making adjustments.

First make sure you are in the Elements Editor, either Opened on its own or accessed from the Organizer as shown in the video below. Make sure you are in Expert mode.

Go to the Selections section of your side panel, and choose the icon with the small magnet at the top left of your screen.



The Magnetic Lasso is able to detect the edges of objects in your image in a single layer based on contrast: color and light. That means this tool works particularly well in cases where you have an object that stands out against its background. In this case, we are selecting and adjusting the color of a bright pink flower in front of green leaves.

All you need to do is click the edge of the object once to get started. As you slowly drag your mouse along the edge, the tool drops stop points in place along the detected border, even if you’ve got shaky hands. You have the option of setting more points on your own by clicking one time for each.

If you need to remove the last stop point created, simply hit the Delete or Backspace key. To finish making the selection, bring our mouse back to your starting point or double-click for Photoshop’s best guess.


This is a rough selection tool. Using the Tool Options for Magnetic Lasso you can adjust the sensitivity and frequency of stops; Andy shows how. After you have made your selection you can also go back and tighten it up using other tools, which is also clearly demonstrated in this clip.

This is a basic tool, but this video is one of our most popular Photoshop lessons on YouTube! Once you have learned all of the major selection methods, you will be able to judge which one is the right tool for a given job.



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