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Refine selections

After making a selection, you can enhance it by adjusting its softness, roundness, or size using the Refine Selection tool. And using Smart Refine, you can enhance a selection automatically.

Manually refine a selection
  1. Make a selection.
  2. Do one of the following:

    • With one of the selection tools active, click the Refine button at the bottom of the Tool Options pane.
    • Choose Edit > Refine Selection (from the Edit menu at the top of your screen).
    • Choose Tools > Select > Refine Selection (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
    • Press Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + R on your keyboard.

    Note: While the Refine Selection tool is active, your selection outline is replaced by a yellow overlay. Any selected areas are see-through, while any unselected areas are yellow.

  3. Adjust the options in the Tool Options pane:
    • Shape Roundness: Adjust how much to round the selection outline.
    • Edge Softness: Adjust how much to soften the edges of the selection outline. With softer edges, the selected area will blend in better with other parts of the image should you copy or edit it.
    • Expand: Change the size of the selection.
  4. Click Apply at the bottom of the Tool Options pane to apply your refinements to the selection.

Note: For even finer selections, press down the Shift ⇧ key on your keyboard to turn on the refinement brush mode.

Automatically refine a selection using Smart Refine

Smart Refine uses an edge-detection algorithm to detect object edges in your image and automatically refines the selection outline for you, snapping it to the nearest edge.

  1. Make a selection.
  2. Do one of the following:

    • With one of the selection tools active, click the Refine button at the bottom of the Tool Options pane.
    • Choose Edit > Refine Selection (from the Edit menu at the top of your screen).
    • Choose Tools > Select > Refine Selection (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
    • Press Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + R on your keyboard.

    Note: While the Refine Selection tool is active, your selection outline is replaced by a yellow overlay. Any selected areas are see-through, while any unselected areas are yellow.

  3. Select the Smart Refine checkbox in the Tool Options pane.
  4. Adjust the options in the Tool Options pane:

    • Shape Roundness: Adjust how much to round the selection outline.
    • Edge Softness: Adjust how much to soften the edges of the selection outline. With softer edges, the selected area will blend in better with other parts of the image should you copy or edit it.
    • Expand: Change the size of the selection.

    Note: As long as Smart Refine is turned on, edge-detection is always active, even when you move the sliders in the Tool Options. So when you change the size, softness, or roundness of your selection, it will carry on snapping to the object’s edges.

  5. Click Apply at the bottom of the Tool Options pane to apply your refinements to the selection.

Edit your selection while using the Refine Selection tool
  • While the Refine Selection tool is active, paint over areas in your image to quickly edit your selection.

    If the Add selection mode is active, any areas you paint over will be added to your selection (and lose the yellow overlay).

    If you choose the Subtract selection mode, the areas you paint over will be removed from your selection (and will be covered by the yellow overlay).

Note: For even finer selections, press down the Shift ⇧ key on your keyboard to temporarily switch to the refinement brush mode.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide