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Learn how to create selections from Photoshop shapes

create selections from custom shapes in Photoshop

Learn how to create wonderful Photoshop selections from custom shapes tutorial. You can make selections from custom shapes in Photoshop via quick mask mode. Access quick mask mode via the Photoshop toolbar. You can also use alpha channel to add selections. You can add create selections from Photoshop shapes via paths / path panel. You can also create selections from layer transparency from a generated custom shape layer. This tutorial shows you a number of ways of creating selections from custom shapes in Photoshop

  1. Photoshop toolbar

  2. Enter quick mask mode

  3. Select custom shape tool

  4. Pixel mode

  5. Set color to black

  6. Select custom shape from preset picker

  7. Apply in quick mask mode

  8. Exit quick mask mode via toolbar

Selections and Photoshop custom shapes - they can be used as a great source for selections in Photoshop

Custom shapes to purchase

$7.79 (also GBP, etc) for the set, CSH format, download


BUY 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop CC 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc and Photoshop elements for use with selections CSH 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop and Elements

The Photoshop custom shapes can be used as a great source for selections. You don't need to just draw out a selection or use the rectangular marquee tool to select a part of an image. You can use the shapes to create a selection to copy and paste or fill areas with effects or add hue adjustments. You can use the same approach with the selection and creation of selections using custom shapes in CC CS6 CS5 etc.

Selections using quick mask mode with the custom shapes

selection and quick mask mode

Apply the shape in quick mask mode to create a quick selection.

  1. Quick mask mode can be entered via the toolbox. You can see it at the bottom of the toolbox just above the screen mode setting.

  2. Once you have entered the quick mask mode, you can add a custom shape using the pixel mode Via the custom shape tool)

  3. Add the shape / selection in black (it will be displayed in red in the quick mask mode) as well as other colors (other than white). You can also use white and other colors to remove from the black (quick mode).

  4. On exit from quick mask mode, you may prefer to invert the selection as the selection selects the entire document and not the actual path.


Adding selections / Photoshop shapes using alpha channel

alpha channels and shape selections in Photoshop
  1. Go to the channels panel and menu and create a new channel via the right side menu.

  2. Select the alpha channel and make visible (eye sign) and select that channel and apply the CSH artwork (set the color to white etc as required and set to pixels option). The generated results in the channel will be in grayscale.

  3. Select menu

  4. Load selection alpha channel and you will see the selection. The artworks can be applied multiple times to create far more complex selections.


The text has an alpha channel added and then the CSH presets are added to the work in a variety of positions across the image. The load selection (select menu) is used to load the alpha channel and the area is then filled with a solid color at 50% opacity



Adding selections using Photoshop shapes using path option

selections path and shape custom in Photoshop
  1. Go to the CSH tool

  2. Set to path option (can be found along the top bar) where it say 'select pick mode' when you hover over the control.

  3. Apply the path

  4. Goto the paths panel

  5. Right menu

  6. Make selection command for the currently selected work path.


The path options means you can create even more amazing selections by using the direct selection tool to manipulate the path points as well as anchor points of the generated path.


You can also use the pen tool to remove points from the generated path.


The path on the right has been added and the points of the path have been distorted by dragging the anchor points away from the original design. The selection was then created and the exterior area was filled with additional brown fills leaving the path untouched.


The path (with the selection) had a stroke added via the edit menu 'stroke' command. The same can be done with the layer as well if you have the path panel displayed as you can just click the 'load path as a selection' button (bottom of panel) if the path is selected in the panel.

Layers and make selections

filled selections
  1. Layer menu

  2. New layer

  3. Custom shapes tool

  4. CSH presets / artwork to that layer (you can add one or multiple artworks)

  5. Select menu

  6. Load selection command

  7. Select the channel 'layer 1 transparency' for the selection.


A new layer was then created and the color of the preset was set to black and then applied across the document and then the channel was selected via the load selection command. The area was then filled with different rectangles of solid color.

Other Tutorials

1. how to install custom shapes in Photoshop