Using the pen tool to extract or make selection

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Using the pen tool to extract or make selection

Post by discovery on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:39 pm

Using the pen tool to extract or make selection

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In this demonstration, we will extract this boy's face from the background using the Pen tool:

We can either use the Pen tool or the Freeform Pen tool. The
difference is that when working with the Pen tool, we choose when to
place our anchors, but with the Freeform Pen tool, it will 'guess' where
is the best place to put the anchors - you can alter the settings by
using the magnetic options for example.

First, we will try the Freeform Pen tool. We can zoom in for a better
view, but make sure the whole image is still visible to you -
particularly if you're using magnetic, as it will prove difficult to
move around whilst drawing. Try to draw down the side of the face. With
magnetic turned on, it can be a lot easier:

Selecting around the edges with the Pen tool doesn't matter, as we
can easily add that to the selection afterwards. The main aim of the Pen
is to separate the background from the part we want. We can use the
Freeform Pen tool to select the Path that was created and examine the
curves. We can also edit the Path to make a better fit. Using the
Freeform, you can hold Ctrl and click to move anchors around, and hold
Alt down to edit the anchors's curves.

For example, here where the path doesn't get close enough to the
mouth, we can add a new anchor at that point by simply clicking on the
path (notice the cursor changes to a Pen with a + sign:

Now choose the Convert Point tool and move the new anchor in to the lip:

Next, we can use the same tool to move the arms of the anchor, to change the direction of the path to match the face:

Now go around the path and make sure it's snug against the face -
adding, editing or subtracting anchors as needed. We should have
something like this:

Now we can goto the Paths panel (Window > Paths), and then
right-click the path we created in the panel, and choose Make Selection,
0 Feather.

Now we can fill in the selection around the edges with the regular
marquee tool, and then copy and paste into a new layer, and do what we
want with the background (blur, for example) or give it a new

Notice how smooth the edge is - a selection marquee tool alone could never achieve these results.

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