How to Adjust Select Subject in Photoshop

Estimated read time 8 min read

How to adjust select subject in photoshop

Adjusting the select subject in Photoshop allows you to refine and perfect the accuracy of your selections, giving you the freedom to create stunning and professional-looking images. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process, helping you master this essential tool in Photoshop.

First, open your image in Photoshop and select the Quick Selection Tool from the toolbar. This tool allows you to quickly and easily select the subject in your image. Simply click and drag the tool over the subject to make a rough selection. Don’t worry about being precise at this stage; we will refine the selection later.

Next, click on the Select Subject button in the Options bar. Photoshop will analyze the image and automatically select the subject based on its AI-powered algorithms. This feature saves you time and effort by making an initial selection for you. However, keep in mind that the automatic selection may not be perfect and may require further adjustment.

Now it’s time to refine the selection. Use the Select and Mask workspace to fine-tune the edges of the subject. Access this workspace by right-clicking on the selection and selecting Select and Mask. Here, you can adjust the edge detection, smoothness, and feathering to achieve a more precise selection. Pay special attention to areas with complex edges, such as hair or fur, and use the tools provided to refine those details.

Once you are satisfied with the refined selection, click OK to apply the changes. You can now make adjustments to your selected subject, such as adjusting the exposure, color, or applying creative effects. Use the adjustment layers in Photoshop to make non-destructive edits, allowing you to fine-tune your image without permanently affecting the original image data.

In conclusion, adjusting the select subject in Photoshop is a crucial skill that every photographer and graphic designer should master. By following this step-by-step guide, you can take your image editing skills to new heights and create visually stunning images. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try different techniques to achieve the desired results.

Step 1: Open the Image

Step 1: Open the Image

Before you can start adjusting the select subject in Photoshop, you need to open the image you want to work on. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Launch Photoshop

Open Adobe Photoshop on your computer by clicking on the program’s icon in your desktop or by searching for it in your applications folder.

2. Open the Image

2. Open the Image

Once Photoshop is open, go to the “File” menu at the top left corner of the screen and select “Open”. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + O” (Windows) or “Command + O” (Mac) to open the image.

A file explorer window will appear, allowing you to navigate to the folder where the image is stored. Browse the folders and locate the image file you want to adjust the select subject on.

Click on the image file to select it, and then click on the “Open” button in the file explorer window. The image will now open in Photoshop and be ready for you to work on.


Make sure the image you open is in a compatible format with Photoshop, such as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. If the image is in a different format, you may need to convert it before opening it in Photoshop.

Step 2: Use the Select Subject Tool

Step 2: Use the Select Subject Tool

Once you have opened the image you want to work with in Adobe Photoshop, you can proceed to use the Select Subject tool to automatically create a selection around the subject of the image.

To access this tool, you can either go to the “Select” menu and choose “Subject” or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + S (or Command + Shift + S on a Mac).

When you click on the Select Subject tool or use the shortcut, Photoshop will analyze the image and attempt to identify the main subject. This tool utilizes Adobe Sensei, an artificial intelligence technology, to help make this process easier and more accurate.

Once the tool has made its selection, you will see a marching ants outline around the subject. However, keep in mind that the tool may not always be perfect and may not select the subject precisely in complex images.

If you’re satisfied with the selection, you can proceed with your editing tasks. If not, you can use the Quick Selection tool, Pen tool, or any other selection tool of your choice to refine the selection manually.

The Select Subject tool is a great starting point for making selections in Photoshop, especially when working with simple or well-defined subjects. It can save you a significant amount of time compared to manually drawing a selection around the subject.

Remember, practice makes perfect, and using the Select Subject tool will become even more efficient as you gain experience and learn how to fine-tune and combine different selection tools in the future.

Step 3: Refine the Selection

Step 3: Refine the Selection

Once you have made the initial selection using the Select Subject tool in Photoshop, you may need to refine it further to achieve the desired result. Here are a few techniques you can use to improve the selection:

1. Select and Mask

One of the most powerful tools for refining selections in Photoshop is the Select and Mask feature. To access this tool, go to the Select menu and choose Select and Mask. This will open up a new window with several options for adjusting and refining your selection.

Within the Select and Mask window, you can use the various tools and sliders to refine the edges of your selection. The Refine Edge Brush tool, for example, allows you to fine-tune the selection by painting over areas that need to be included or excluded.

2. Feather the Edges

2. Feather the Edges

If your selection has harsh or jagged edges, you can use the Feather option to create a softer transition. To feather the edges, go to the Select menu, choose Modify, and then click Feather. In the Feather dialog box, enter a value for the feather radius and click OK.

A higher feather radius will create a larger area of transition, resulting in a softer edge. Keep in mind that too much feathering can negatively affect the crispness of your selection, so use this option sparingly.

3. Refine Edge

3. Refine Edge

The Refine Edge tool is another useful option for refining selections in Photoshop. To access this tool, go to the Select menu, choose Modify, and then click Refine Edge. This will open up the Refine Edge dialog box.

Within the Refine Edge dialog box, you can adjust the edge detection settings to better distinguish the subject from the background. You can also use the various tools, such as the Refine Radius tool and the Refine Brush tool, to refine the selection further.

Tool Description
Refine Radius Tool Expands the selection by detecting and including more details within the radius.
Refine Brush Tool Allows you to paint over areas to include or exclude from the selection.
Smart Radius Automatically detects detailed areas and adjusts the radius accordingly.

Experiment with the different tools and settings within the Refine Edge dialog box to refine your selection until you are satisfied with the result.

By using these techniques to refine your selection, you can achieve more accurate and precise selections in Photoshop. This will allow you to seamlessly integrate your subjects into your desired backgrounds or apply various adjustments and effects with ease.


What is the purpose of adjusting the select subject in Photoshop?

The purpose of adjusting the select subject in Photoshop is to refine the selection made by the automatic Select Subject feature. This allows for more precise and accurate selections, especially when dealing with complex or detailed subjects.

Can I adjust the select subject manually in Photoshop?

Yes, you can adjust the select subject manually in Photoshop. After using the automatic Select Subject feature, you can use various selection tools, such as the Lasso, Magic Wand, or Quick Selection tool, to add or subtract from the initial selection. Additionally, you can use the Refine Edge or Select and Mask feature to further refine the edges of the selected subject.

What are the benefits of adjusting the select subject in Photoshop?

The benefits of adjusting the select subject in Photoshop include achieving more accurate and precise selections, especially when dealing with complex or detailed subjects. This allows for better control when applying edits or adjustments to the selected area, resulting in more professional-looking and seamless images. Additionally, adjusting the select subject allows for better integration of the selected subject into different backgrounds or compositions.


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