Paint Shop Pro: Part 2 of our Free PSP Training Course

Selecting Raster Images

Use the raster selection tools to select areas of a raster layer—for example, when you want to copy or crop a portion of a photograph. The selection tools flyout includes several tools for selecting regular and irregular portions of raster images, but the most commonly used tool is the Selection tool, which selects a rectangular area of the image.


When you make a raster selection and then choose another tool, the selection remains active. To deselect an area, open the Selections menu and select Select None.

Using the Selection Tool

To select a rectangular area of a raster layer:

  1. From the Tools toolbar, select the Selection tool.
  2. The default selection shape is a rectangle, but you can change the shape using the Tool Options palette. Under Selection type, select a shape from the drop-down menu.

  1. Normally, when you select an area of an image, the selection boundary replaces any other selection boundary you’ve created, letting you “redo” the selection. However, you can add to or remove from an existing selection boundary by selecting Add or Remove under Mode on the Tool Options palette.
  2. When you copy or move a selection, particularly a selection tracing a detailed image, the edges of the selection can appear sharp and unnatural. The Feather option on the Tool Options palette fades the selection along the edges, giving it a more natural appearance. Enter a width in pixels that you want the selection feathered.


To change the feathering of the current selection, from the Selections menu, select Modify and then Feather, Inside/Outside Feather, or Unfeather.

  1. Check the Anti-alias checkbox to smooth the edges of the selection.
  2. Click and drag the mouse to define the area you want to select.

The selection is indicated by a marquee:

It’s sometimes easier to define the size of the selection you want, rather than trying to draw it. To do this, click the Custom Selection button on the Tool Options palette. In the Custom Selection dialog, enter the top, left, right, and bottom positions of the marquee you want:

Once you’ve defined a selection, you can move it, copy it, cut it, or apply any number of effects to it. To clear a selection boundary, simply right-click outside it (with a selection tool) or select Select None from the Selections menu.


There’s an easy way to select raster objects created with the shapes tools or objects converted from vector to raster layers:

  1. Using the Selection Tool, draw a rectangular selection area around the raster object(s).

  1. Double-click inside the selection area.

The marquee adjusts to fit around the objects:

You can also create a raster selection in the shape of a vector object without converting the vector object to raster: In the Layers palette, right-click on the object or group of objects and select Create Raster Selection.

Using the Freehand Selection Tool

Use the Freehand Selection tool to select irregular raster areas:

  1. From the Tools toolbar, select the Freehand Selection tool (located in the Selection tool flyout).
  2. Use the Tool Options palette to define the amount of feathering and smoothing for sharp edges.
  3. Click and drag to define the selection you want. The selection marquee follows the lines and curves you draw:

On the Tool Options palette, Freehand is selected as the default Selection type. However, it can be difficult to accurately trace complex objects. For this reason, Paint Shop Pro includes some additional selection types for the Freehand tool:

  • Point to Point lets you define an area by clicking on each point that represents a change in curvature. That is, Paint Shop Pro creates a line from point to point, so to select an irregularly shaped area, you can click at each point you need the selection marquee to change direction:

  • Select Edge Seeker to define a selection marquee based on variations in color and light. This works much like Point to Point, allowing you to click along the edges of the area you want to define while Paint Shop Pro detects variations in the color and adjusts the marquee to trace the edges:


To adjust the range in which Paint Shop Pro searches for an edge, increase the number in the Range box on the Tool Options palette.

  • Smart Edge
    is similar to Edge Seeker, but uses sharp contrasts in color and light to detect edges. The rectangle bounding box displayed as you click and move the mouse shows the area Paint Shop Pro will use to detect the contrasts:

Using the Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand tool selects pixels in an image based on color, hue, brightness, or opacity, depending on the option you select. Once you select an option, click on an area you want to select and Paint Shop Pro creates a marquee that includes all the pixels that match your selection:

  1. From the Tools toolbar, select the Magic Wand tool (located in the Selection tool flyout).
  2. On the Tool Options palette, select a match mode from the drop-down menu:
    • To select all pixels, select None.
    • To select all pixels that match the RGB value of the point on the image you click, select RGB Value.
    • To select pixels of the same color, select Color.
    • To select pixels based on the hue you select, select Hue.
    • To select pixels based on the brightness of a color you select, select Brightness.
    • To select only areas with pixels and not transparent areas, select All Opaque.
    • To select pixels based on opacity, select Opacity.
  3. Use the Tool Options palette to define feathering and anti-aliasing for the selection.
  4. Click on an area of the image that contains pixels matching the area you want to select:


By default, Paint Shop Pro selects only the matching pixels that connect to the area you clicked. To select all pixels, regardless of where they are in the image, uncheck the Contiguous checkbox on the Tool Options palette.

  1. Hold down the Shift key and continue to click to add to the selection area:

To adjust how closely Paint Shop Pro matches the pixels, you can enter a new value into the Tolerance box on the Tool Options palette. The higher the value you enter, the wider the range of pixels Paint Shop Pro selects.

Adjusting the Selection Marquee

It’s possible in Paint Shop Pro to define irregular selection areas by adding to or subtracting from the original selection marquee. You can use any selection tool to do this, so choose the tool that will best help you define the area you want to add or remove.

To add to the selection, select Add from the Mode drop-down menu on the Tool Options palette (or simply hold down the Shift key) and click and drag another selection:

The selection marquee changes to include the additional area:

To subtract an area from the selection, select Remove from the Mode drop-down menu on the Tool Options palette (or hold down the Ctrl key) and click and drag inside the selection marquee to define the area you want to remove:

In addition, you can adjust the location of the selection marque around the image using any selection tool or the Move tool. With one of these tools selected, right-click and drag the selection until the marquee is in the position you want.

If you’re trying to select a portion of a complex image, it may be easier to select the area you don’t want:

  1. Select the area you don’t want included in the selection marquee.

  1. From the Selections menu, select Invert.

The selection is inverted so you can work with the remainder of the area. Below is an example of the selection shown above inverted and copied to a white background:

Moving Raster Selections

To move a selection, simply click inside the marquee and drag the image to the position you want:

To move a selection after you’ve deselected the selection tool, select the Move tool and then click and drag the selection.

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