How to cut a shape in Photoshop: 3 methods to try

If you are new to designing and finding it a bit tough to cut a shape or do some cutting, here is a step-by-step instruction guide with images to guide you on how to cut a shape in Photoshop done perfectly with ease and in a straight forward manner.

Before you proceed, it’s important to note that 3 different tools were used to cut the shapes here; the lasso tool, the pen tool, and the marquee tool. These tools all work in different ways, and here you’ll see how each tool works to choose which is preferable for you.

Step-by-step instructions on how to cut a shape in Photoshop


Step 1: Create a new layer

Once you open your Photoshop, you need a new layer to work on, for that, proceed to the left-hand side of your Photoshop menu, select File, and click New. A dialogue box will appear for you to modify. The image above has its resolution at 300; the width and height ratio is set at 6 by 4inches for a landscape view.


Step 2: Select the image

The next sequence of images explain how to choose a picture or an image for you to work on in the new layer created. On the left-hand side of your Photoshop screen, click on File, then click on Open.


Once you click on Open, choose any image or picture. Click on the image, then click open. This will open the image directly on your Photoshop screen, or simply drag the image from its original location to the Photoshop screen.



Optional: Canvas Filling

The image selected will be the background of the work, so create another layer for filling. On the right-hand side of the Photoshop screen, click on Color. Click on Solid color and pick your desired color; which in this example is the purple color, then adjust the gradient as you desire.



Method 1: Use Lasso Tool

Step 1: Cutting with the free-hand lasso tool.

You’ll find the lasso tool on the left-hand side of the task bar. The lasso tool is a hands-free drawing tool for easy and free-hand usage. Note that there are 3 types of lasso tool on your Photoshop toolbar; the polygonal, the free-hand, and the magnetic.

For this step-by-step instruction, the free-hand and polygonal are used. Here, a free-hand lasso tool that is easy to draw curves is employed to make out the desired shape.


By outlining your desired shape upon the filled-in layer you have a shape fixed upon it, you can then cut the top filled-in layer by pressing delete or backspace to expose the layer right underneath as seen in the image above.


Option 2: Cutting with the polygonal lasso tool

To activate the polygonal lasso tool which is best for drawing straight lines, double click on the free-hand lasso tool earlier used; a dialogue box drops down for you and from there select the polygonal lasso tool.

After selecting the polygonal lasso tool, click on the desired shape, return to the layer mask on the right-hand side of the screen as seen above.


Step 3

Click on the layer mask and the shape outlined with the polygonal lasso tool appears and is marked on the filled-in layer and repeat the same cutting process.




Method 2: Cutting with a pen tool

Step 1

On the left-hand side of the screen you’ll find the pen tool; used in drawing both straight and curved lines, click on it, and outline your desired shape.


Step 2

Once drawn, right-click on the outlined pattern, for a dialogue box; proceed and click on Make selection.


Step 3

In the Make selection dialogue box, enter the necessary details as seen above. Input the feather radius as 0 and tick the necessary boxes of new selection and anti-aliased.


Return to the layer mask once more, and the selections you’ve made will appear on it as seen above.



Step 4

You can either cut out the shape exposing the layer underneath as seen above or you can expose the entire layer underneath and leave the shape with the filled-in color by clicking on invert with Ctrl + I.


Option 3: Cutting with a marquee tool

Step 1

To cut using the marquee tool; used for drawing shapes of circle and rectangle, scroll to the left-hand side of the screen and pick the marquee tool, select the shape desired and place it on the filled-in triangular layer above the background. Here the shape chosen is a circle.


Step 2

To use the circle marquee tool; click the layer mask and the filled-in circle will be highlighted as the main image. To expose the background image, use Ctrl + I and the image underneath will be exposed.



Adobe Photoshop tutorials

How to crop a layer in Photoshop

How to convert a path to a shape


For newbies in the designing business, cutting can be a tough move, but with the above step-by-step instructions, you can easily follow-up and get your cutting skills ready for a real gig.

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