How To: Photoshop Magic Lasso

I’m not much one for creating “how to” videos, at least not ones that I share publicly on a regular basis, but I felt as though I owed it to some of the people whose blogs I’m following to help out a bit with the monolithic application that is Photoshop. Don’t get too excited though, I am far from being a Photoshop expert, most of my skills having waned since being a heavy Photoshop Contest participant in the early 2000s. When I saw Melanie Barker complete the quick, but fun “Slide Guy” assignment (which coincidentally remind me of a lot of the Fark contests), I was impressed. When she said she did it because she was afraid of Photoshop, I wanted to share just a couple of simple tools that I use for cutting and pasting elements from one image to another. Below is the image I created for the ds106 Slide Guy Visual Assignment using a still from a rather famous movie and a shot of Tim Owens joyously sliding down a child’s playground slide.

Look at that slide guy having so much fun trying to crush poor Dr. Jones!

Again, please bear in mind that I am an absolute novice when it comes to Photoshop, and the tools I show may very well be the worst tools to use for cutting, copying, and pasting images as far as a professional graphic designers are concerned, but these tools are super easy to use, and don’t really require that much to figure out, just a bit of practice to master. If it benefits you at all, please enjoy my 6 minute walkthrough of using the magic lasso tool in Photoshop. You can view it below or click here to watch via YouTube.


  1. Awesome job Ben. I like the way you put the tutorial together.

    I’m certainly interested in learning about greenscreen with iMovie. If you’ve done a tutorial, I’d love to see it. If not, maybe we can talk about it someday.

    One suggestion/request, how about using the tutorial tag with your post so it shows up in the right hand column on the assignment page.

    1. D’oh! Don’t know how I missed posting this with the tutorial tag, thanks for the great reminder, Scott! As for green screen with iMovie, I could certainly swing that when we get to the video portion, I’ve played with it a bunch 🙂

  2. Hi Ben,
    Many thanks. I am using ds106 in part to get started with photoshop (my default is fireworks 8)
    I’ve been using the magnetic lasso but didn’t know about the delete key. This will save me lots of time as a previously was starting over.
    Was the magnifier you showed in photoshop or part of whatever you are screen casting with?

    1. Thanks John!

      I use Camtasia for my screencasting mostly, the magnifier is a feature of their post-editing tools. Sorry, not a hidden feature of Photoshop.

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