Over the years, Photoshop has continually introduced new and improved selection tools, taking us from the basics such as the lasso and magic wand to the likes of Quick Mask, Color Range and Select Subject for better, faster more accurate selections.
In late 2019, Adobe introduced the Object Selection tool as part of the Select and Mask controls, but with its new 2022 update, Photoshop has now moved the tool front and center in the toolbar, sharing a slot with the magic wand.
So what’s the Object Selection tool and how does it work? It’s one of those tools that seems too good to be true—the kind of miraculously automatic things that only work in image editing on TV. Simply click on the Object Selection tool and then—automatically—Photoshop examines the image to identify what it believes to be distinct objects. After a few seconds of processing, it highlights image elements as you hover over them with the mouse.
Anybody who has used Photoshop throughout the years knows that while it’s going to work really well, the Object Selection tool isn’t going to automatically be perfect right out of the gate. But it’s still pretty darn good! So, to make it even better, you can use the Object Selection tool to hone in on exactly the objects you want to isolate. Simply click on any object in the scene and Photoshop will attempt to define its edges and select it or click and drag to surround the object you’d like the app to examine. Obviously, this works best with well-defined objects easily distinguishable from one another as well as the background, but the tool works surprisingly well even in crowded, cluttered frames.
For drawing selections around objects, first click in the tool options at the top of the window to choose between a rectangular marquee or a freehand lasso. Then just click and drag around the object Photoshop should examine.
Object Selection is one of the brilliant new tools powered by Adobe’s Sensei artificial intelligence. And while it works wonders on its own, the selections it creates can be modified, refined, expanded and subtracted just as with any other selection tool. Shift-click or control-click with the Object Selection tool, as well as with a marquee tool or a lasso, and you can add to the selection. Likewise, you can option-click to subtract with any of the selection tools at your disposal and mix and match until you’re happy with the result.