Selection Tools and Layers




Selection limits the area we can edit. As seen below, only the area inside the Selection Area can be drawn. From drawing, coloring to editing, this function can be used in every step of the way.

Check out the video if that’s what you prefer.

Selection Tools

Selection Mode

Before we get to the tools itself, there’s a setting unique to Selection tools called “Selection mode”. You can find it in the tool property.

“New selection” means that every time you use the tool to make a selection, the previous selection will be replaced by the new one.

“Add to selection” means the new selection will coexist with the previous one.

“Remove from selection” means new selection will subtract the existing selection(s) if they overlap. No new selection can be made in this mode.

“Select from selection” is the opposite of “Remove from selection”. New selection, if overlaps with the existing selection(s), will instead keep the overlapped part and remove the rest.


No new selection can be made in this mode, too.

Selection Area

“Selection area” is a collection of tools that allow us to create selection in shapes. It has 7 tools by default.

Rectangle, Ellipse and Polyline have settings similar to their “Figure tool” counterparts. Lasso allows more freedom for it’s not limited to predetermined shapes.

“Selection pen” has settings similar to brush. You can see a green area as you make the stroke. Once done, the stroke will automatically turn into selection.

“Erase selection” has settings similar to erasers. This time, the stroke will instead delete the existing selection if it overlaps with the existing selection(s).

You can change the brush shape and settings for both “Selection pen” and “Erase selection”. From pen pressure, spray, brush shape to texture, you can change it all.


Below I change the brush shape of “Selection pen”.

Auto Select

“Auto select” determines the selection depending on the existing object(s) on the canvas, unlike “Selection area” tools. It has three modes that differ on which layer(s) the selection is referenced upon.

In the example below, the canvas contains three layers: Yellow, Blue and Dot that represents each shape drawn. Yellow is the editing layer and Dot is a Reference layer.

“Refer to editing layer only” only select object(s) on the editing layer, in this case the shape on Yellow layer.

“Refer to all layers” can select objects on any layer.

“Selection for referred layers” can select objects on both editing layer and Reference layer.

Select From Layer

Other than the tools, you can select the object(s) inside a layer directly from the layer itself.


1. Right click (tap and hold for tablets) the layer.

2. Choose “Selection from Layer”

3. There are four options. The three from the bottom are greyed out when there is no existing selection. These four options work in a similar way as the options in “Selection mode”.


“Create Selection” will create selection(s) according to the shape of the object(s) inside the layer.

“Add Selection” adds the shape of the object(s) inside the layer to existing selection.


For example, the existing selection is the rectangle. When added, the N shape of the object will be added to the selection.

“Delete Selection” will remove the part of the selection that overlaps with the object.

“Select Overlapping Area” will keep only the part of the selection that overlaps with the object.

Moving Selection Area/Object

To move just the selection area, you can use any Selection Tool, provided that the “Selection method” of the tool is set to “Create new selection”.

To move the object, make sure the object(s) you want to move or edit is inside the selected layer(s). Then, use either Object tool or Move layer tool.

Selection Launcher

When you make a selection, a small bar will appear below the selection. It’s called Selection Launcher and has useful functions. It has 12 functions by default and you can add/remove according to your work style.

1. Deselect.

2. Crop.

3. Invert Selection.

4. Expand Selected Area.

5. Shrink Selected Area.

6. Clear Inside Selection.

7. Clear Outside Selection.

8. Cut and Paste.

9. Copy and Paste.

10. Scale and Rotate.

11. Fill.

12. Create Tone Layer.

13. Selection Launcher settings.


Useful to resize the canvas quickly. Create selection and click/tap Crop.

Since the canvas will always be rectangular, no matter what shape the selection is, the cropped canvas will take the outmost part of the selection and use it as the canvas border.


For example, the selection here is ellipse. As you can see, the area outside the selection will be kept as long as it fits into the new canvas size.

The selection below was made with lasso tool. The canvas will stay rectangular no matter what.

Invert Selection

“Invert Selection” can be used to select the part outside the existing selection. I use it when the part I actually want to select is a pain to select directly.


Below, you can see that at first, the selection is inside the circle, when inverted, I could draw only outside the circle.

Expand/Shrink Selected Area

Useful to create border, edit the area inside/outside the current selection or just to resize.


Below, the entire box is selected.

When using “Expand selected area”, a window will appear.


“Expansion width” determines how many pixels the expansion will be. “Expansion type” determines if the corner will stay sharp or rounded.

“Shrink selected area” has similar window with the same setting. For visibility, I turned the area inside the shrunk selection into white.

Clear Inside/Outside Selection

As the name suggests, “Clear Inside Selection” removes object(s) inside the selection while “Clear Outside Selection” removes object(s) outside the selection.

Cut/Copy and Paste to New Layer

I use this to manage the layers, especially during sketching stage where I tend to draw everything inside a single layer.


In the example below, there are several objects inside the layer. Select one of the objects.

“Cut and Paste” will cut the selected object from the layer and paste it onto a new layer of the same type.

“Copy and Paste” only copies the selected object and paste it into a new layer of the same type. The object now exist in both layers.

Scale and Rotate

Great for quick resizing. Select the area you want to resize, tap the icon and resize away.


As usual, to turn it into Free Transform, press Ctrl or Cmd when adjusting the control points.

Fill Inside Selection

It fills the entire selection in solid color of your choice.

Create Tone Layer

Useful for quick toning. The Tone layer created will be automatically masked, following the shape of the selection.

“Select” Menu Bar

Some of the functions in the Select menu are available on Selection Launcher, so I’ll skip those. Instead, I’ll cover five functions unique to the menu.


1. Blur Border.

2. Select Color Gamut.

3. Select Vector.

4. Quick Mask

5. Selection Layer

Blur Border

You can directly add blur to the border of the selection without having to use blur filter or draw it manually.

Go to Select > Blur Border. A window will appear. The higher the strength, the bigger the blur area will be.

The shape of the selection will change a bit and when filled, the result will be blurred.

Color Gamut

“Select Color Gamut” allows you to create selection based on color(s) available on the canvas. When you pick a color, all areas on the canvas that has the color (Paper layer aside) will be affected.


“Selection type” determines what picking the color would do.

1. Left icon creates new selection every time you pick different a color.

2. Middle icon adds new selection to the existing one when you pick different color(s).

3. Right icon remove selection when you pick the color(s) already inside the selection.


You can use selection to select certain vector paths accurately instead of having it cut off by selection tools or having to move the paths one by one to another layer before editing.


First, create a selection

There are two modes available.


“Select Overlapping Vectors” will grab any vector path that overlaps with the selection, even just a part of it was inside the selection.

“Select Vectors Within Area” only grab paths that are fully inside the selection.

Quick Mask

Quick Mask is a temporary selection layer where you can use any tool to make selection. When using Quick Mask, you’ll see a new layer called “Quick Mask” in Layer window. Only one of this layer can exist at a time.


Turn Quick Mask into selection and vice versa by using Select > Quick Mask.

1. From brush, eraser, Gradient to Selection Tools and Auto Select, even Liquify and Blend tools, you can use them all to create selections.

2. Go to Select > Quick Mask to turn the layer into selection. The transparent areas are still registered but will be less visible than solid areas.

3. This is how the result look like with Fill. It looks the exact same way as it was on Quick Mask layer. The transparency and blurred parts intact.

Selection Layer

Selection Layer is similar to Quick Mask, but permanent. To use it, go to Select > Convert to Selection Layer. A new layer named “Selection #” will appear on the Layer window.


Instead of red, anything you draw on the layer will be in green.

To turn what you draw on Selection layer into selection, go to Select > Convert Selection Layer to Selection.


When the selection is made, the Selection layer will still exist and can be edited.

Adding the Tools to Quick Access

Selection tools are one of the tools I use most often, especially Quick Access that doesn’t have a hotkey. So, I added it to Quick Access window to make it accessible.


If Quick Access window isn’t on your workspace yet, go to Window > Quick Access.

1. Click/tap the three-line icon on the top left of the window.

2. Choose “Quick Access Settings…”

3. Choose “Select” to access the functions available.

4. Choose “Quick Mask”.

5. Click/tap “Add”.

Usage Examples

Line Drawing

Using selection’s limiting characteristic, save the need to erase by selecting the area(s) before drawing.

Precise Cropping

1. Select the area you want to crop with Quick Mask/Selection Layer/Auto Select.

2. (Quick Mask) go to Select > Quick Mask to turn it into selection. (Selection Layer) go to Select > Convert Selection Layer to Selection.

3. Invert selection area.

4. (Optional) Expand selected area to create gap between the border and the edge of the canvas.

5. Crop.

Base Coloring

My main problem with base coloring is finding out narrow parts where the color doesn’t reach. Quick Mask makes spotting those areas easier.

Gradient Area


Using Quick Mask, draw the shadow area. Then turn the Quick Mask into selection and use Fill from Selection Launcher.

Adding Details

Useful for adding patterns to clothes. For drawn patterns, I prefer to use Vector layer so I can edit the shape/size/position after if it looks unnatural without losing its clarity.

Masking Pattern/Texture

Make selection of the area you want to add texture/pattern/tone to.

Drag and drop texture/pattern or create a tone layer.

The area outside the selection will be masked automatically.



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