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Making selections in Photoshop


This lesson will cover a handful of the multiple ways to make selections in Photoshop. Similar processes can be used in other programs or online.



  • Student will use the Magic Wand and/or the Quick Selection tool to make a selection of a portion of an image.
  • Students will use the magnetic lasso tool to make a selection of a portion of an image.
  • Students will use the Refine Edges dialog box to adjust the edges of a selection.
  • Students will use the Quickmask Mode to create a selection in Photoshop.
  • Students will create a final product of an image file with a highly accurate section saved as a Path for use in other documents.


Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.6 Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text, defining the question the author seeks to address.



3 days



Adobe Photoshop

A high-contrast image file for selection practice

Location for students to upload files for grading

Slideshow: Making selections in Photoshop

Rubric: Making selections in Photoshop


Lesson step-by-step

Students will need a high contrast image with which to practice making selection.

Present the slideshow on Making selections in Photoshop. It may be most useful to use the presentation as a guide while the teacher performs each selection process.

As students try each method of selection, have them copy (command C), create a new Photoshop document (command N) and paste (command V) the section into a new Photoshop document. Save each of these with their name, an underscore and the name of the method used. For example, “JoeSmith_Magic Wand.jpg” or some other naming convention of your choosing. As each portion is selected and copied, the new Photoshop document will automatically be set for the proper size.

Proceed through each of the selection methods. Students should end up with FIVE demonstrations of selecting: Magic Wand, Magnetic Lasso, Refine Edges, Quick Mask mode and a fifth which will be their best effort demonstrating their best selection effort.



Upper level students should be able to combine this lesson on selections with the Adjustment Layer lesson to select and make color correction adjustments to only desired portions of an image.

Lower level students should practice and become proficient in one or two selection methods.