Isolating Parts of an Image in Photoshop

Posted on 20 January 2014 by Ben Lindsey

If you haven’t ran through the beginner’s guide to using the pen tool in Photoshop, you should before jumping into this one. If you have, then it’s time to get our hands dirty.


Isolating a part of an image in Photoshop is key to editing success and there are many ways to do so but none of them give you the control that the pen tool does. In this tutorial, I let the video run as I cut a model out of the background while explaining some of the things you should look for while doing it yourself.

I also show you a few ways to use both the path(s) we make in conjunction with channels to be able to repeatedly focus in on specific areas of an image in order to gain more control over where you put your color as a color separator. I also touch on a few things like layer masks and what to look for when taking your own photos. Tons of info in this one!

Isolating Parts of an Image in Photoshop

Click here to watch this Photoshop tutorial on Youtube.

Isolating Parts of an Image in Photoshop Quick Reference Guide

1. Make sure your pen tool settings are to paths, pen tool and to exclude overlapping path areas.
2. Holding shift will constrain movements in increments of 45 degrees.
3. Hold Cmd while the pen tool is selected to switch to your direct select arrow to be able to manipulate nodes.
4. When in doubt, leave a little room around what you’re cutting out. You can edit that later.
5. Most things in nature are imperfect so try to click and drag when placing nodes in order to avoid straight lines.
6. Donuts are yummy.

Other Tutorials That’ll Help You Out

You should definitely watch the tutorials on Making Selections in Photoshop and this sort of basic run down of How to Use the Pen Tool in Photoshop as they are great ways to gain more control over your images and I reference the things I spoke of in those videos quite a bit in this one.


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Ben Lindsey

About Ben Lindsey

Ben Lindsey has been in the t shirt business designing and separating t shirts since 2001 having served as senior designer/separator at the States' #1 licensor of rock and roll apparel as well as one of the States' top 10 high-volume screen printers as listed by Impressions Magazine. Currently running Rising Sun Graphics, he continues to provide custom t shirt designs and color separations for print shops and apparel lines around the globe.

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