Photoshop Friday! 2007 #13 - Compound Selection

Hi There!

Welcome to another edition of Photoshop Friday. It is, indeed, still Friday. Much later than I really wanted to post, but what with watching Genghis Blues last night, and wrasslin’ (I’ve wanted to use that word in a sentence all my life, I think) little ones, and hanging out with Gabby editing photos this afternoon (and in fact, she took the photo I used in this layout today), plus Mexican food for dinner, plus the general pre-bedtime mayhem, this post finds it 9:13 and just getting going. Whew!

Compound Selection


Today’s technique is a cool way to cut your papers and other elements (photos, perhaps, if you go in for that kind of thing) into cool shapes that aren’t the default. And by default I mean a rectangle, a square, an oval, or a circle. So we’re talking about compound selection. Basically, creating a selection by combining two or more selections together. I’ve created a layout using a super-simple example, but your selections can get extremely complex if you want them to. The two main keys to remember are Shift (which adds to a selection), and Alt (which subtracts from a selection).

Let’s get started!

First off, you’ll need at least two patterned papers for this, plus one vertical photo (if you want your page to look something like mine when you’re done, anyway). Choose one paper for your background, and one paper that you’ll cut for a modified photo/journaling mat. Let’s call these paper 1 and paper 2.

1. Create a new blank layout, 12x12, 300 dpi, RGB color, white background.

2. Drag Paper 1 onto the background of your new layout. Because we never, ever, ever work in original files, right? This makes all the bunnies and kitties across the world cry.

3. Drag Paper 2 onto the background of your new layout. All the bunnies and kitties across the world breathe a sigh of relief.

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Now the fun begins! :D

4. Select your Elliptical Marquee tool. We’ll be making the rounded portion of our selection first, since it’s much easier to line up a square shape with a round one than the other way.. around.. (did that even make sense? *sigh*). Okay, just trust me. :) In the Options bar at the top of your screen, select Fixed Size from the dropdown box. Type in 6 for the width and 7.5 for the height. (I already know that my photo mat will be 7.5 inches high, since I’m working with a 7 inch tall photo. This will obviously be different if you’re using a different sized photo). Click anywhere in your document to draw the elliptical selection. Drag the ellipse roughly into position in the middle of your document, about 1.5 inches from the left side of your document.

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5. With your ellipse selection still active, switch to your your Rectangular Marquee tool.  We’ll freehand this selection, so select Normal from the dropdown box at the top of your screen.

6. Position your cursor in the EXACT top center of your ellipse. Hold down Shift, and you’ll see your cursor change to a crosshair with a little plus sign next to it.

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7. Hold down Shift while you drag a rectangle that goes all the way to the right edge of the page, and all the way down to the EXACT bottom center of your ellipse. If it’s not exact, you can always hit Ctrl-z and try it again until you get a good selection.

Your total selection should look something like this:

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8. Go to Select > Inverse to invert the selection.

9. If you are using PSE: hit delete. If you are using  PSCS/CS2: At the bottom of your Layers palette, click the Create Vector Mask button to create a mask. I MUCH prefer this method to deleting, since you are simply hiding your paper, and you can make as many edits to your mask as you like. It doesn’t exist in PSE, so if you’re using Elements, just delete. :)

The PSE screen shot:

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And here is the CS2 screen shot:

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That’s it for the technique itself. Now you can complete the layout as you like using a 5x7 photo and other goodies. :D

I added a slice of patterned paper using a selection I created from the rounded rectangle and then contracted, as well as a couple of stacked photo frames, one of Katie’s On the Edge flourishes, and a few other goodies from Jen Wilson’s kits. Complete supply list is:


Here’s my layout at full size so you can see the details:

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I hope you have a super, awesome Photoshop Friday (what’s left of it, anyway..) and an awesome weekend! Don’t forget to link me up when you use this technique! I love to go see. :)