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How to Adjust the Magnetic Lasso Options in Photoshop CS6

In Photoshop CS6 the Magnetic Lasso tool comes equipped with a few settings on the Options bar that control the sensitivity of the tool. Mastering these adjustments expands the value of the tool.

It’s recommend to start out by messing around with the Magnetic Lasso tool using its default settings. If the tool isn’t cooperating, then play with the options.

The first icon, on the far left, has to do with tool presets, and the next four icons are the selection option icons. The Feather, Anti-Alias, and Refine Edge options work the way they do with the Marquee tools. The following list explains the remaining options:

  • Width: This option, measured in pixels from 1 to 256, determines how close to the edge you have to move your mouse before the Magnetic Lasso tool recognizes the object you’re selecting. Decrease the value if the object’s edge has a lot of indentations and protrusions or if the image has low contrast. Increase the value if the image has high contrast or smooth edges.

    When using the Magnetic Lasso tool, you can change the Width value from the keyboard by pressing the left bracket ( [ ) key to lower the value and the right bracket ( ] ) key to increase the value.

  • Edge Contrast: Measured in percentages from 1 to 100, this option specifies the required contrast between the object you’re selecting and its background before the Magnetic Lasso tool hugs the edge between them. If your image has good contrast between the foreground and background, use a high percentage.

  • Frequency: This setting, measured in percentages from 0 to 100, specifies how many points to place on the selection line. The higher the percentage, the greater number of points. If the object you want to select has a fairly smooth edge, keep the percentage low. If the edge is jagged or has a lot of detail, a high percentage may be more effective in getting an accurate selection line.

  • Tablet Pressure (Pen icon): If you own a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet, select this option to make an increase in stylus pressure causing the edge width to decrease.

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