Lessons from the Shop: Creating a Magnetic Smile with the Magnetic Lasso Tool...Just Kidding!

 By; Stephen Terlizzi

 Figure 1


Unfortunately, if you want to capture that magnetic smile on your model, you will need to do it the hard way...good photography.  So, if I can't use the Magnetic Lasso tool to rope that magnetic smile, then what is the tool used for and what do its options mean?

Unlike the freehand Lasso tool, the Magnetic Lasso tool will detect the edge between contrasting colors and snap to that edge.  As you go around your photo, it will dutifully create a selection on these edges.  It is a very quick and easy way to create a selection around an object.

Notice those little boxes?  They are anchor points that are placed at strong contrast points on the image with the most-recent filled point with white while the others are empty.  You can delete those anchor points if they do not select the right path by hitting the delete key.


So what about the options?  

Well, Feather does pretty much what feather always does...blend the edges by the number of pixels you choose to enter.  Anti-aliasing smoothes out the jagged edges and provides a smooth edge around the selected object.

So what is with this width, contrast and frequency?  Width will specify the number of pixels around the pointer that Photoshop will look for an edge.  The higher the number, the greater the radius.

Contrast will determine how much contrast to look for and consequently how sharp of an edge.  It ranges from 1-100%  with the lower number being less contrast and the higher number being more contrast.

Lastly, frequency is the number of anchor points that the tool will place in the selection.  The higher the number from 1-100 and the more frequent an anchor point is added to the selection.


I recommend that you try out the Magnetic Lasso tool...I am sure that its power and ease-of-use will rope you in!