A Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop CS6 Tools – Part 2

Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni | May 6, 2016

A Beginner's Guide to Photoshop CS6 Tools- Part 2

5 more Photoshop CS6’s tools we need to know

In the first installment of the Photoshop CS6 beginner’s guide we touched base on the new toolbar and some of the functions residing within it. While we brushed up on several essential tools, there are still many more which need to be covered. In the second installment, we’re going to cover the following 5 selection tools:

The lasso tool

The polygonal lasso tool

The magnetic lasso tool

The quick selection tool

The magic wand tool

The majority of successful creations will require the (proper) use of the above Photoshop CS6 tools as well as the tools we covered in the first part of this series. Without further ado, let’s take a look at each of these tools and how we may best use them to our advantage.

Read the part one of this tutorial on how to use the toolbar, move tool and the marque tools >>

Lasso Tool

Much like the marquee tools we covered in part one, the lasso tool isn’t only one particular tool, but a group of tools. First, let’s take a look at the standard lasso tool. The lasso tool can be found on the toolbar directly underneath the marquee set of tools (the one represented by the rectangle of marching ants).

Lasso tool from tool bar

If searching through the toolbar isn’t for you, it’s worth noting the tool in question’s keyboard shortcut is the “L” key. Learn Photoshop keyboard shortcut tutorial if you want to.


To put things simply, the Lasso tool has the exact same end result as the marquee tool – it allows you to select a portion of your workspace, outlining the area in question with marching ants. The only difference between the marquee and lasso tool is how you actually get to the end result. Lasso tool is a freehand selection tool; it allows you to “draw” a line, giving you the ability to be more selective instead of dragging your mouse to set a shape’s starting and end point.

An example of an appropriate time to use the lasso tool would be if you have a very specific portion of your workspace you need to cut. You’d simply draw a line around it with the lasso tool to select it, and then use the Edit menu to cut or copy it.

Use of lasso tool

Polygonal Lasso Tool

Upon holding down the lasso tool’s icon, a drop menu will appear wherein you may select the polygonal lasso tool.

Polygonal lasso tool from tool bar

Much like the previous tool, the polygonal lasso tool’s keyboard shortcut is the L key. But now you have to hold down shift and then click L key to select it.


Every iteration of the lasso tool works much the same in that they allow us the ability to make free-form shapes. What differentiates this one; however, is that the shape you draw will consist of a bunch of small, straight lines in the form of a polygon. If you need to select a portion of your work space consisting of a bunch of straight lines, this is the tool you need. If you need to cut such a shape (a stop sign, for example), you can select it with this tool by easily tracing its outer parameter of lines.

Use of polygonal lasso tool

The example used in the lasso tool above would hold true here, assuming the shape you need to cut consists of straight lines.

Magnetic Lasso Tool

Now that you understand the lasso and polygonal lasso tools, this one will be easy to grasp, so we’ll keep it quick. It is accessed from the same drop menu as the previous two tools.

Magnetic lasso tool from tool bar

And also use the “L” key as a keyboard shortcut holding down shift key.


At first, the magnetic lasso tool acts exactly like the standard lasso tool; the difference being that, after drawing an outline around a specific object, the magnetic lasso tool will snap its marching ants around the object in question. Unless you mean to draw all or part of your lasso (line) through an object, it just makes sense to use this over the regular lasso tool.

While working on magnetic lasso tool

If you have a complex, inorganic shape (such as a house), which needs to be selected and cut, you’d simply draw a rough line around the house and let the tool’s automatic “magnetic” properties do the rest by perfecting the line like the above image. You would then cut through the Edit menu as usual.

Use of magnetic lasso tool

Quick Selection Tool

The quick selection tool can be found on the toolbar directly beside the lasso tool. The icon looks like a magic wand and, upon holding down on the icon, you’ll initiate a drop menu, which allows you to choose between the quick selection tool and the magic wand tool.

Quick selection tool from tool bar

The keyboard shortcut for Quick Selection Tool is the “W” key.

W key to select Quick selection tool and magic wand tool

By clicking and dragging your mouse while the tool is selected, you’re able to select a portion of your workspace and alter that area’s colors. For example, if you have a picture of the sun on your screen and you wish to blow it up a bit, dragging the quick selection tool around its outer edge can distort the colors around it. The Quick selection tool also has a magnetic effect, meaning it recognizes borders around objects, making your selection seamless.

Use of quick selection tool

Magic Wand Tool

Magic Wand Tool is found in the same drop menu as the quick selection tool.

Magic wand tool from tool bar

And sharing the same keyboard shortcut “W” but hold down shift before pressing the W key, the magic wand tool is essentially the same thing, but a little dumbed down for when the quick selection tool is more complicated than it needs to be for the task at hand.

W key to select Quick selection tool and magic wand tool

Unlike the quick selection tool, the magic wand tool lets you click on a portion of your image, highlighting that area along with any adjacent pixels of the same color (think of the Fill tool in Microsoft’s Paint and how it acts on blocks of color). Using another example of sun, if the sun is all the same color, you can select it with one click and then edit it as you please through the Edit menu. The magic wand tool is an easier way to go about selecting objects consisting of one color.

Use of magic wand tool

Tips: For all the above Photoshop CS6’s tools hold down “shift” key to add more selection and hold down “Alt” key to subtract from selection while working.

In part 1 of this series, we learned how to use the move tool and the marquee tools. In this part 2, we learned about the lasso tools, the quick selection tool, magnetic lasso tool, polygonal lasso tool and the magic wand tool. All of these tools fall under the category of selection tools to remove background of images in any way. In part 3, we’ll learn about another handful of tools, further increasing your ability to edit images the way you like.

Check out bellow to see the infographic version of this tutorial:

Infographic of a beginners-guide-to-Photoshop CS6s tools part 2

Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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