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Photoshop Basics: The Polygonal Lasso Tool

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The Polygonal Lasso Tool creates selections with straight edges. It is perfect for selecting objects like buildings and products.

In this tutorial, learn how to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select architecture and replace a sky.

* This tutorial is part of the Photoshop Basics Collection

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What is the Polygonal Lasso?

The Polygonal Lasso is what you use when you need to select an unusual, angled shape. It is ideal for shapes that are not proportional and are therefore poorly suited to the marquee. Likewise, it is the right choice for complex, multi-sided shapes. Perhaps the greatest benefit that this lasso tool offers is the fact that it combines the precision of the marquee with the customization of the standard Lasso tool.

Most Common Uses

This tool has multiple uses, which mostly involve removing or altering image backgrounds. You can also easily replicate patterns with this lasso with no dimensional constraints. As with all lasso tools, the polygonal version is useful for selecting any portion of a photo to be used or retouched on its own. You can also use this tool to create basic custom borders and frames on images. You won’t be bound by the proportions of existing frames.

Special Features of the Tool

For the most part, this tool offers the same features as other lasso tools. Once you select an area, you can modify your selection using “Add and Remove” on the Options Toolbar. You may also refine your selection with the Intersect tool. You can also feather selection lines to create a softer border that blends more easily into the background. While feathering is less precise, you can use this to create a more subtle break between your selection and the image. Anti-aliasing is also an option. This allows you to smooth any jagged edges that may appear when copying and pasting selections from images.

When to Use This Tool

Once you become adept at Photoshop, you will likely find yourself using the Polygonal Lasso more often than any of the other selection tools. It is good for those times when you need to make quick, precise adjustments and don’t have the time for more intricate changes. You can also use this tool in combination with the other lasso tools to select more difficult shapes. For example, you can use the Polygonal Lasso to select the base of an ice cream cone, and then use the Circle Marquee to add the scoop of ice cream to the selection.

When to Avoid This Tool

The Polygonal Lasso can present some difficulties when you’re working with curved lines, since it’s, well, polygonal. For those, you should use the standard Lasso or Magnetic Lasso tool. However, you can combine the standard Lasso with polygonal to overcome this obstacle. The Polygonal Lasso should also be avoided if you need standard shapes. It is unnecessary to use polygonal for squares, rectangles and circles, as the basic marquee tools are more than enough for them.

Check out the tutorial video on our website to learn more about this tool and others. Our tips, tricks and hints will help you become a Photoshop master in no time.

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