(Last updated on May 24th, 2021)
Wondering how to deselect in Photoshop? See our in-depth, step-by-step guide to find out how to do this and more.
So, how do you deselect in Adobe Photoshop? In this tutorial, we will be going over this simple action and explaining the available selection tools. Let’s get started.
Deselect in Photoshop
- Currently, you have an area in your photo selected. This area will be denoted by the black and white marching ants.
- To Deselect, use Ctrl + D (Windows) or Command + D (Mac). Now, nothing will be selected. Alternatively, you can go to Select > Deselect from the top menu. And that’s it!
Different Ways of Making Selections
There are many ways to make selections in Adobe Photoshop. Here, I will go over the many tools at your disposal.
Rectangular Marquee Tool
The Rectangular Marquee tool will draw a marquee in, you guessed it, a rectangular shape. You can also choose an Elliptical Marquee or a Singular Row Marquee, or a Single Column Marquee. To draw a selection, simply click and drag.
Let’s go over the options in the upper toolbar. First, you will have the tool icon for the tool currently selected. Here, you can open your preset manager, look at all of your tools/just your current tool, etc. This icon goes over everything about tools, with the current tool as the main icon.
Next, we have selection type. From left to right, you can change the setting to New Selection, Add to Selection, Subtract from Selection, and Intersect Selection. Add/Subtract Selection will add more/take away from the current selection. Intersect will only select the intersection between the first and second selection.
Feather softens the edge of the selection. You can set the depth of the feather.
Anti-Alias smooths the rough edges of a selection.
Style lets you set a fixed ratio, set dimension, or open sizing for your selection marquee. For example, if you only wanted a square-shaped selection, you would choose Rectangular Marquee and then set the Style to Fixed Ratio with a parameter of 1:1.
Select and Mask will pull up the Select and Mask Window.
Here, you can set everything you need to for your masked selection. You can add/subtract from the selection, change the properties of the masking overlay so you can view it better, change the selection radius, add smoothing, feathering, contrast, or shift the edge. You can also change the output of the selection to either affect the current layer, create a layer mask, new layer, new layer with layer mask, new document, or a new document with layer mask.
In addition, you can also automatically select a subject with a single button and refine the hair selection. You can also revert the selection to your original selection choice.
For this example, I went ahead and pressed Select Subject, outputting the mask into a new layer.
Here is the finished result, with the subject isolated from its background, now transparent.
The Lasso Tool makes a freeform selection, letting you draw freely around the area you want to select. You also have the Polygonal Lasso Tool, letting you make marquee selections in the shape of a polygon.
The Magnetic Lasso Tool lets you make a freehand selection and uses edge detection to find the edges of an object. Instead of relying on your sense of tracing, this tool will magnetically stick to the edges of an object. To use, you simply click once to start it and then hover your mouse over the subject to finish making your selection.
For the Magnetic Lasso Tool:
- Width specifies a detection width from the pointer to the edge of an object.
- Contrast sets the lasso’s sensitivity to the image’s edges. Lower contrast detects soft edges while high contrast detects sharp ones.
- Frequency sets the frequency with how often the tool sets a point.
- Stylus Pressure button allows you to toggle on/off stylus pressure to change the width between your pointer to the edge of the object.
The Object Selection Tool
The Object Selection Tool automatically will find an object inside of a region. You change the mode to Rectangle or Lasso, dragging around your subject. The program then automatically finds the object inside of the selection.
Sample All Layers will make a selection of all layers, not just the current layer.
Enhance Edge will smooth out the rough edge of the selection, applying edge refinement automatically.
Object Subtract selects everything but the main object. This feature is useful when you want to delete/manipulate the background from the subject separately.
Select Subject automatically selects the subject from the photo. (Same button function as the within the Select and Mask window.)
Quick Selection Tool
The Quick Selection Tool allows you to make a selection quickly by painting over the areas you want to select. The tool automatically finds the edges of the objects in the image, selecting without effort.
From left to right, the first button New Selection will create a new selection. All you have to do is click on the image and start painting to select.
The second button, Add to Selection, will add more to the current selection, while the third button Subtract from Selection will subtract from the current selection.
From left to right, you can set the brush size and angle.
Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand Tool will automatically select an object based on its consistent color area. You don’t have to make any manual selection. It automatically “magically” grabs that section for you. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) to temporarily switch between add and subtract modes.
Sample Size is the sample that Photoshop uses to set the color. You can set the sizing of this sample here.
Tolerance determines the color range of the pixels for the selection, ranging from 0 to 255. A high value will include a broad range, while a low value creates a limited range.
Contiguous changes the way the pixels are selected. If contiguous is checked, all same-colored adjacent pixels from the point of selection will be selected. If it is unchecked, all same-colored pixels from the entire image will be selected.
With contiguous checked:
With contiguous unchecked:
Make Selections Using the Selection Menu
You can also make selections within the Selection Menu.
Select > All loads the whole layer.
Select > Deselect deselects your current selection.
Select > Reselect reselects the last selection that you deselected.
Select > Inverse inverses your current selection.
Select > All Layers selects all layers in your project.
Select > Deselect Layers deselects all layers.
Select > Find Layers pops open a search bar within the Layers panel to help you find a specific layer.
Select > Isolate Layers lets you isolate a specific layer, letting you work on it without accidentally editing other layers.
Select > Color Range selects layers in a specific color range.
Select > Focus Area selects the sharp areas of an image.
Select > Subject selects the most prominent object within the image.
Select > Sky automatically selects the sky from your image.
Select > Select and Mask… selects the layer you are working on and takes you to masking mode.
Select > Modify gives you options to modify your current selection. You can change the border, smoothing, expanding, contracting, or feathering your selection.
Select > Grow will include all adjacent pixels of your current selection that meet the tolerance range.
Select > Similar will then include all similar colors of your image from your current selection.
Select > Transform Selection will let you transfer your current selection, stretching and rotating it.
Select > Edit in Quick Mask Mode turns on quick mask mode, allowing you to quickly create a mask for your image, simply adding and subtracting your selection to make a mask.
Select > Load Selection will load all non-transparent areas on a layer.
Select > Save Selection saves your current selection area, allowing you to reuse it later.
Select > New 3D Extrusion lets you extend layers into a third dimension.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use Ctrl + D (Windows)or Command + D (Mac) to deselect an area in Photoshop.
You can use Ctrl + D (Windows) or Command + D (Mac) to deselect everything. Or, you can choose to add or subtract from the selection by changing the Quick Selection tool in the top bar.
You can use Ctrl + D (Windows)or Command + D (Mac) or go to Select > Deselect to deselect a section.
Ctrl + D for Windows, Command + D for Mac.
Anne is a filmmaker and writer with a passion to bring stories to life. She has created several short films, specializing in stop-motion animation. Anne has over eight years of filmmaking experience, and she is always ready to share her knowledge with other creators. She started her company Anne Gets Creative in 2020.
Anne is extremely familiar with many Adobe programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere, and Audition, to name a few. She has also worked with other programs such as Procreate, Canva, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro. She always strives to give the best software reviews, researching diligently so her readers don’t have to.