Ever Save a Selection?


Today’s Question: During one of your recent webinars you said that you don’t usually save your selections using the Save Selection command. But you said “usually”. Are there ever any situations where you would save a selection?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes. I would save a selection if the layer mask I created from that selection was going to be altered directly. If I won’t be altering the layer mask directly (or if the selection would be very easy to create again) then I don’t bother saving the selection.

More Detail: From my perspective the primary reason to save a selection is to avoid having to create the selection again from scratch at a later time. So, to begin with, if the selection in question required only a single “swipe” across an area of the image with the Quick Selection tool, I won’t generally save the selection because it would be about as fast (and sometimes faster) to simply create the selection anew.

The primary reason I don’t actually save most of my selections with the “Save Selection” command is that I’m saving the selection in a different way. When you use a selection as the basis of a layer mask, that layer mask is essentially a saved copy of the selection. You can simply hold the Ctrl key on Windows or the Command key on Macintosh while clicking on the thumbnail for the layer mask on the Layers panel, and a selection will be loaded based on that mask.

Of course, in some cases I will modify the layer mask directly, such as by painting on the mask, filling areas of the mask, using the Refine Mask command, blurring the mask, or more. If I will be applying such alterations to the layer mask, I want to preserve my starting point, and so I will save the selection.

In addition, sometimes it is helpful to build up a final selection (or layer mask) in several steps. In those cases I might save two or more individual selections, and then combine all of those together into a single layer mask.

The key point is that the only reason I don’t generally save selections using the Save Selection command is that I will already be saving the selection through a different means, by virtue of creating a layer mask based on that selection.