Quick Photoshop Tip

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

As with many tricks in Photoshop, I discovered this one by accident: holding down option and shift while using the Lasso tool will select a portion of an already-selected area. I found this to be extremely useful while coloring digitally, since I would often select a color with the wand tool (non-contiguously), but only wanted to a edit a section of the total area selected. This is a fairly minor time-saver, but when you're coloring 20 pages that are due by tomorrow morning, every little bit helps.

This is also a good opportunity to share a peak behind the scenes. The picture above is what I get back from my assistant, Orpheus, after he "flats" my inks. The color is not important (although it usually looks interesting); rather, the goal is to separate the drawing into easily-selected, color-coded shapes. You can see the finished page in a previous post.

In addition, I've provided this as an illustration in case my explanation wasn't clear. Say I wanted to select someone's face and hands in the first panel. By selecting with the magic wand, everyone's face and hands (of the same color) are selected, but with a quick loop of the lasso tool (while holding shift and option) I can isolate just one figure.


  1. Is Orpheus still helping you out? Will he be going to the Baltimore Comic Con this year by chance? I saw him and his work there in 2007. It'd be interesting to see how his work has progressed under your tutilage over the past few years.

  2. Do you by any chance know what the PC equivalent to option is?

    If I did a lasso selection on my drawing, by holding ALT I can subtract from the selection and shift let's me add to the selection, and shift+ALT allows me to move it.

  3. Neil, Orpheus is still helping me out, though just for flats these days. The main difference is that I pay him now, making him more of an assistant than an intern (which he was for only a month or so). I actually haven't spoken to him in a little while, so I'm not sure if he's attending.

    Samacleod, I believe alt should be the same thing. Option does the same thing (subtracting from an image).

  4. When I've used the lasso in coloring I tend to leave the "anti-alias" toggle off. When you try to slide the hue of aliased pixels you tend to get fragging and pixels in another color than your flat.

    Do you find this to be the case too?

  5. Absolutely, Michael — yet another future post topic. I actually have separate tool presets for dealing with flats because I tend to forget the correct settings otherwise.


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