Home > Free Tutorials > Photoshop > How to Use Select and Mask in Photoshop

How to Use Select and Mask in Photoshop

  • Easy
  • 15
  • Add to

In today’s episode, learn how to cut your subject out of their Background using Select and Mask.

Share this tutorial

Where to Find Select and Mask

If you want to select a subject to remove its Background, you can use a combination of a bunch of different Selection Tools located in the Select and Mask dialogue.

First, go to ‘Select – Select and Mask’, or click any Selection Tool and check Select and Mask on the top toolbar. This option will only be available on version 5.0 of Photoshop and up, so if you haven’t upgraded your software, be sure to do so.

How to Use the Select and Mask Tools

Select and Mask makes selecting easier by putting all of the Selection Tools in one place.

The Quick Selection Tool will guess-select a section of your subject based on where you paint. The Refine Edge Tool works well on fine areas like Hair. The Brush Tool allows you to paint in any general areas the selections might have missed. The Lasso Tool will add to or Subtract from your selection in whatever shape you Draw. Hold ‘Alt/Option’ with any Tool to deselect instead.

Advanced Settings on Select and Mask

View Modes for your selection include Onion Skin and Black and White, which you can cycle through by hitting ‘F’. Edge Detection adjusts how much of the subject’s edges your selection includes, particularly around the Hair. Global Refinements can smooth, feather, shift, or add Contrast to the Selection Edge. Use the Output Settings to choose how the selection will show up in the document. In this case, we loaded it in as a Layer Mask.

Featured Tutorials

How to Master Blending Modes in Photoshop
In this tutorial, we break down all 27 blending modes that Photoshop offers, providing in-depth explanations and practical examples that are bound to help you get your creative work done faster and with impressive results.
Join us as we equip you with everything you need to know about shooting and editing in monochrome.
With over 4 hours of step-by-step instruction, we cover the tools and methodology required to make any color change appear realistic and natural.
While it may seem like magic, the ability to make anything disappear in Photoshop isn’t a trick – it’s a skill that anyone can learn.
Photoshop Compositing
In this tutorial, we cover several tools and techniques that, when combined, will allow you to create perfect masks of anything from the precision curves of designer products to the messy detail of a head of hair.

Watch hundreds of PRO Tutorials and download Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions and more.

Learn More


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Your videos are my favorites! You guys take your time and explain all the options and don’t rush the steps in the video. But everytime I use the Select and Mask tool, I have a white halo around the subject. What do you guys suggest to eliminate the halo?