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Shapes as Selections

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  • Shapes as Selections

    I tried to do something today that I thought would be simple. I ended up spending a lot more time on it than I wanted.

    I wanted to cut a star-shaped hole in a layer (not the background). I thought I could simply create a shape using the shape tool and then turn it into a selection. If I can do that, I still don’t know how.

    First, I went to the Hidden Power tools. The closest I got was Clipping Paths. I couldn’t get it to appear right in PSE, and the tut in the book implied that it would give me a star-shaped picture, not a star-shaped hole.

    So I came to this forum and found the thread on Quick Mask and Layer Mask. Hooray! The Quick Mask tool seemed to hold the answer for me. After stumbling and bumbling my way through the palette for a while, I found it. I turned on Quick Mask and drew my star shape. Whoops! The star wasn’t aligned quite right and was a bit off-center. When I moved the star and rotated it, a bounding box appeared and moved/rotated with the shape. Then I turned off Quick Mask, thereby creating my selection. I chose to select the inverse area (to make a hole and not protect the area under the star). When I deleted the selected area, the area outside the bounding box was deleted along with the interior of my star shape. So after creating the selection by turning off Quick Mask, I still had to go to the selection tools and add to the selection to get the whole area outside the star shape selected.

    I finally ended up creating the star shape, rotating and positioning it, then tracing over it with the polygonal lasso tool to get my selection. Then I deleted the selected area to get my star-shaped cutout. Next I deleted the shape layer.

    Although both of these methods did finally work, I foresee difficulty if the shape I need to cut out (or mask) is complex and large enough to almost fill the frame. Is there an easier/smarter way to do what I tried to do?

    Thanks in advance,


  • #2
    There is a much quicker way to turn a shape into a selection. Create your shape layer, with a star or whatever on it. Then in the layer palette, command-click (on the mac - control-click I presume for Windows)) on the little layer icon for the shape layer and it will load the layer as a selection - in this case all the non-transparent material in the layer is the shape so a selection in the shape of the shape is what results! You can twiddle with the alignment and rotation of the pattern before loading as a selection by using the shape selection tool.

    Susan S.


    • #3
      Susan's got it. However, you might also want to review pages 199-207 in the book where I talk about using and editing vectors in your Elements images.


      • #4
        Thanks, Susan and Richard.

        3 books on Elements, a manual and a help file, and I couldn't find what I was looking for until Susan's post. Richard, I sort of skimmed 199-205 and went straight to 206 to read about clipping paths. Once I knew to use "load layer selection palette" as keywords in an index or help file, I turned up the sidebar on pg. 202 and another reference on pg. 156. Still no luck with Aaland's book or the Visual QuickStart Guide for Elements 2.

        Thanks again,



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