Selection Tools 101 | A Complete Affinity Photo Guide

When it comes to photo editing software, Affinity Photo is one of the best options out there. It offers a wide range of features and tools that can help you improve your photos. In this blog post, we will discuss all the selection tools that are available in Affinity Photo. These tools include the Selection brush, Pen tool, Node tool, Flood Select tool, Marquee tool, and the Freehand Selection tool. We will go over how each one of these tools works and how you can use them to improve your photos!

What are Selections in Affinity Photo?

Selection Tools in Affinity Photo select an area of your photo so that you can make changes to just that area. This is helpful if you want to make changes to a specific part of your photo without affecting the rest of the image. For example, you may want to change the color of one object in your photo or remove an object from your background.

It’s crucial to master selections in photo editing in order to make targeted changes to your photos that can really improve the overall look of the image.

There are a few different ways to make selections using the Selection Tools in Affinity Photo. In this blog post, we will discuss s few Selection tools,

  • Selection Brush
  • Pen Tool
  • Node Tool
  • Food select Tool
  • Marquee Tool
  • Freehand Selection Tool

Let’s get started!

Selection Brush Tool in Affinity Photo

The Selection Brush is the most commonly used selection tool. It allows you to paint over the area that you want to select. You can use the selection brush to quickly select an area of your photo.

The icon of the selection brush tool is identical to a paintbrush consisting of a dotted line around the tip.

How to use the Selection Brush Tool in Affinity Photo

To use the selection brush tool in Affinity Photo,

  • Simply click on the Selection Brush icon in the toolbar and then click and drag over the area that you want to select. The selection is added to your photo.
  • You can also add multiple selections by holding down the Shift key while you click and drag. This is helpful if you want to select multiple areas of your photo.
  • If you make a mistake and select an area that you don’t want to, you can deselect the area by holding down the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) and clicking on the selection.
  • You can also use the Selection Brush tool to refine your selections. To do this, hold down the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) and click and drag over the area that you want to deselect. This will remove the selection from your photo.

Context Toolbar settings of Selection Brush Tool

After selecting you can take a look at the controls appearing in the Context Toolbar consisting:

  • Mode- Set the style in which your selection should paint. There are two modes available for selection namely Add and Subtract. Add mode will keep on creating the selection areas while Subtract mode from Selection will keep on deselecting the area as you drag your mouse or remove it from the selection.
  • Width- You can use the slider to increase or decrease the size of your brush. You can control the size of your Selection Brush by clicking on the Size drop-down menu and selecting a size.
  • Snap to edges- This option makes your selection brush snap to the edges of objects in your photo. This can be helpful if you’re trying to select a specific object in your photo.
  • All layers- This feature selects all layers in your photo. This can be helpful if you want to make changes to multiple layers at the same time.
  • Soft edges– Creates a soft edge around your selection. This can be helpful if you want to blend your selection into the rest of your photo.
  • Refine- It refines your selection. This can be helpful if you want to make a more precise and advanced selection.

The Selection Brush tool is a great way to quickly select an area of your photo. However, it’s not always the best tool for making precise selections. If you need to make a precise selection, you may want to use the Pen Tool.

The Pen Tool is the next tool you’ll need to master.

Pen Tool And Node Tool in Affinity Photo

The pen tool is another popular selection tool. It allows you to draw a line around the area that you want to select. The pen tool is one of the most versatile selection tools in Affinity Photo. It allows you to create precise selections by drawing paths around the area that you want to select.

The icon of pen tool is identical to a traditional pen with a nib at the end.

The tool shortcut key is “P”.

How to use the Pen Tool in Affinity Photo

To use the pen tool,

  • Click on the Pen Tool icon in the toolbar and then click and drag to draw a path around the area that you want to select. As you move your mouse, you will see a line appear. This is called a “Path”. You can use the paths to create precise selections.
  • If you make a mistake and draw a path that you don’t want to, you can deselect the path by holding down the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) and clicking on the path.

Settings to customize the path drawing in Affinity Photo

There are different settings that you can use to customize your path,

  • Mode- The Mode setting depicts the way the line is drawn. There are 7 modes namely,
  1. Pen mode- This is the default mode. In this mode, you can draw smooth and precise bézier lines or curves.
  2. Smart mode- In this mode, you can create flowing lines and shapes by placing the nodes.
  3. Polygon mode- In this mode, you can draw shapes with sharp nodes and straight edges.
  4. Line mode- In this mode, you can draw a single segment straight line that has the ability to self-terminate
  5. .
  6. Preserve selections when making new curves- It is a special mode as it is used with any other mode which selects previously drawn curves since you can withhold of the geometry the sketch.
  7. Add new curve to selected curves object- It is a special mode as it is used with any other mode to create additional curves on the same layer as the initial layer.
  8. Rubber Band mode- It is a special mode as it is used with any other mode to preview the next segment before placing the new node. Here, the sketch cursor position is followed along the way.
  • Selection- The Selection setting allows you to convert a shape into a selection.
  • Mask- Mask the remaining layer content and convert the shape into a protected area.
  • Fill- Using the color swatch you can choose a color fill.
  • Stroke- Using the color swatch to choose a stroke color.
  • Stroke properties- This decides the thickness of the line. You can edit it by typing on the text box or by dragging the pop-up slider.
  • Use Fill- When the Fill button is selected, the concave area of the line is filled with the current fill color (also from the Color panel).

After that, the Node Tool is on deck!

How to use the Node Tool in Affinity Photo

You can also use the Node Tool to edit your paths. The Node Tool allows you to add, delete, and move nodes. Nodes are the points that you use to create your paths.

To use the Node Tool,

  • Click on the Node Tool icon in the toolbar and then click on the path that you want to edit. You will see a node appear at each point on the path.
  • To add a node, click on the path where you want to add a node.
  • To delete a node, click on the node and press the Delete key.
  • To move a node, click on the node and drag it to a new location.

The Node Tool is a great way to edit your paths and create precise selections.

Context Toolbar settings for Node Tool

There are different settings you can use to customize in the Node tool,

  • Transform- This setting is used to Transform the chosen nodes. There are 7 types of Transform in the Node Tool:
  1. Transform Mode- The group bounding box is a feature that allows you to transform nodes as a group. Select it, and the selected nodes are surrounded by a bounding box, allowing them to be edited as a group.
  2. Enable Transform Origin- When this option is enabled, a transform origin can be positioned anywhere on the screen by rotating.
  3. Hide Selection while Dragging- The selection box is hidden and revealed depending on whether you choose when using the transform tool. When transforming, unless this option is selected, the selection box is temporarily concealed. The chosen behavior remains in place for all objects unless you change it manually.
  4. Show Alignment Handles- Align Objects displays alignment handles at the center and edges of the selected item when this option is activated. When you hover over these handles, a floating guideline appears across the page. You may drag the handles to align the center or edges of your chosen object.
  5. Transform Objects Separately- You may shear, transform and scale objects independently while retaining their bounding boxes when multiple items are selected; rather than changing the bounding box of each item.
  6. Selection Box From Curves- The selection box encompasses and incorporates all curves that extend outside the array of currently selected nodes when this option is chosen.
  7. Cycle Selection Box- When toggling this option, the selection box will switch between a Base box (emulates transform), Regular bounds (ignores transform) or Planar bounds (fitting to an isometric grid).

Settings common to both Pen and Node Tool in Affinity Photo

There are a few settings shared across both the Pen and Node tools, which we’ll go through in greater detail later:

  • Action- This feature handles the setting related to curves. There are 5 curves namely,
  1. Break Curve- It is utilized to modify the selected node.
  2. Close Curve- Joins the start and end nodes to enclose a shape.
  3. Smooth Curve- You may change a line or shape by adding or deleting nodes.
  4. Join Curve- Joins two curves to bind to one curve. Curves should be selected using the up arrow key or Node tool.
  5. Reserve Curves- Allows drawing from the opposite ends of the curve.
  6. Snap– This feature controls the node snapping. There are 5 types of snap namely,
    • Align to nodes of selected curves- When dragging nodes along a curve, you may vertically or horizontally align them to other nodes on the same curve or on another.
    • Snap to the geometry of selected curves- This will cause the dragged nodes to be attached to the same or different curve’s path.
    • Snap all selected nodes when dragging- When dragging to a “target” node on any selected curves, it will snap multiple nodes.
    • Align handle positions using snapping options- To snap a control handle to a curve’s path (or node), or shape’s geometry, press and hold the control handle while moving it. With global snapping enabled, you can also snap control handles to the grid.
    • Perform construction snapping- Allows to control the handle snapping in terms of inline with adjacent node, 90 degrees from the inline, parallel to adjacent control, adjacent control handle with reflected angle, and for a logical triangle.
  • Align to nodes of selected curves- When dragging nodes along a curve, you may vertically or horizontally align them to other nodes on the same curve or on another.
  • Snap to geometry of selected curves- This will cause the dragged nodes to be attached to the same or different curve’s path.
  • Snap all selected nodes when dragging- When dragging to a “target” node on any selected curves, it will snap multiple nodes.
  • Align handle positions using snapping options- To snap a control handle to a curve’s path (or node), or shape’s geometry, press and hold the control handle while moving it. With global snapping enabled, you can also snap control handles to the grid.
  • Perform construction snapping- This allows to control the handle snapping in terms of inline with adjacent node, 90 degrees from the inline, parallel to adjacent control, adjacent control handle with reflected angle, and for a logical triangle.
  • Show Orientation- When winding fill mode is switched on, the final node is colored red to assist visualize the start of a closed shape as you wind.

The Flood Select Tool is the next tool that we will look at.

Flood Select Tool in Affinity Photo

The Flood Select tool is a great option if you want to quickly select a large area collaborating with the finest detail.

The Flood Select Tool is accessible in the Affinity Photo Tools Panel. It’s icon looks like a magic wand.

How to use the Flood Select Tool in Affinity Photo

To use the Flood Select tool,

  • First, select the Flood Select tool from the toolbar.
  • Drag your mouse over the area you want to select.
  • You can quickly correct mistakes after selection by deselecting the Contiguous option before making a selection in the toolbar.
  • If the Contiguous Option is turned off a better selection is made.

Context Toolbar settings in Flood Select Tool

The Context toolbar includes the following settings altered in the Flood Select Tool:

  • Mode– select from New, Add, Subtract, and Intersect.
  • Source– the source determines the layer(s) from which the pixels are sampled. Select from the pop-up menu.
  • Tolerance– sets the range of pixels affected when a pixel is clicked. For lower tolerance settings, pixels must be very close in value to the clicked pixel. For higher tolerance settings, pixel color can vary widely from the clicked pixel.
  • Contiguous– when enabled, only selects a range of pixels within the same area. If disabled, similar pixel ranges will be selected even if they are separated and in different parts of the image.
  • Refine– click to display the Refine Selection dialog to access advanced selection settings.

Selection Modes of Flood Select Tool in Affinity Photo

The Context toolbar has four Selection Mode settings that influence how your selection grows:

  • New– A new selection is created after clicking the Clear All button.
  • Add– If you want to select only a portion of the image, use this option. A new selection is generated if there isn’t one in place.
  • Subtract– Removes parts of the current selection.
  • Intersect– The overlap between the newly added selection area and the existing selection is used to form a new choice region.

The affinity photo Flood Select tool is a great way to quickly select large areas.

The Marquee Tool and Freehand Selection Tool complete the set! Let’s get started!

Marquee Tool And Freehand Selection Tool in Affinity Photo

The Marquee Selection Tool provides a number of methods for applying selections to your image. This tool allows you to create rectangular or elliptical selections.

The Freehand Selection Tool creates a selection by drawing a custom shape with your mouse. This tool is also used for defining the selection area as a drawn pencil line, polygonal straight-line edges, or snapped magnetic nodes.

How to use the Marquee Tool in Affinity Photo

To use the Marquee Tool,

  • Select it from the Tools Panel.
  • Then, click and drag to create a selection marquee.
  • To move a selection marquee, click inside it and drag.
  • To deselect a selection, click the Select menu and choose Deselect, or press Ctrl+D (Windows) / Command+D (macOS).

Settings in Context Toolbar of Marquee Tool in Affinity Photo

The Context toolbar includes the following settings that may be altered in the Marquee Tool:

  • Refine– To access Advanced selection settings, click the Refine Selection dialog.
  • Feather– Selecting edge pixels makes the selection edges less sharp.
  • From Center– If the object being edited is enabled, the selection is drawn from its center. The Elliptical Marquee Tool is the only exception to this rule.
  • Antialias– If you’re familiar with Photoshop, then these options should be self-explanatory. You may select the option to make pixels at the selection’s edge transparent (default) or opaque. Edge pixels are smoothed when this option is on (apply transparency to them).
  • Width– Width (the distance between the left and right margins) is altered.
  • Height– The height of the Row selection tool is adjusted.

Selection Modes of Marquee Tool in Affinity Photo

The Context toolbar has four Selection Mode settings that influence how your selection grows:

  • New– A new selection is created by clicking the Clear All button.
  • Add– If you want to select only a portion of the image, use this option. A new selection is generated if there isn’t one in place.
  • Subtract– Removes parts of the current selection.
  • Intersect– The overlap between the newly added selection area and the existing selection to form a new choice region.

Selection modes in Freehand Selection Tool in Affinity Photo

The Freehand Selection Tool provides three distinct selection types:

  • Freehand– It’s simple to use; you just aim the cursor at an area and then paint a selection that follows your cursor’s exact movements.
  • Polygonal– With a single click, create a selection based on connected straight lines and adjusts it as needed.
  • Magnetic– Creates the automatic nodes snap to distinct edges as the cursor moves. Click to establish your own custom node positions.

How to use the Freehand Selection Tool in Affinity Photo

To use the Freehand Selection Tool,

  • Select it from the Tools Panel.
  • Click and drag to create a selection marquee.
  • To move a selection marquee, click inside it and drag.
  • To deselect a selection, click the Select menu and choose Deselect, or press Ctrl+D (Windows) / Command+D (macOS).

Modifier Keys for Freehand Selections

The following modifier keys assists with the creation of selections when utilizing the Freehand Selection tools in Affinity Photo: The Modifier Keys for Freehand Selections:

  • If you press and hold the Shift key, the Freehand interface changes to Polygonal for a short time.
  • Holding the Shift key for a few seconds changes between Polygonal and Magnetic mode.
  • When dragging Polygonal and Magnetic, Freehand is temporarily invoked.

The Freehand Selection Tool is great for making selections that are not rectangular or elliptical.

The Affinity Photo Marquee Tools and Freehand Selection Tool are ideal for quickly selecting large areas in an image.

Conclusion

Reaching the end of the blog, we covered all the Selection Tools in Affinity Photo. We learned about the Selection Brush, Pen Tool, Node Tool, Flood Select tool, Marquee tool, and the Freehand Selection tool. Each of these Affinity Photo selection tools is unique and has a specific purpose. Feel free to experiment with all these tools when editing your photos!

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