How to Invert Selection in Photoshop

If you want to edit one section of an image, while leaving the rest unaffected, you'll need to learn about Photoshop's selection features. Using the Lasso, Marquee, and Magic Wand tools, it's possible to select virtually any part of your image, no matter the shape or size. However, you can also select one area and then invert the selection, so that the rest of your image is selected instead. This is particularly helpful if you want to select a complex shape, but don't want to draw a lasso around the entire outline. Below, we've shared how to invert selection in Photoshop, invert colors, and other practical tips.  

Inverting a Selection

Sometimes, it makes more sense to select the background of an image, and then invert the selection, instead of wasting time with the Lasso tool and drawing a more complex shape. 

For example, if you're editing a basic photograph of a person's profile on a white background, you can select the Magic Wand tool in the main toolbar, and then click on the background to select it. Then, go to the Select menu and choose "Inverse". Photoshop will now select everything but the background (i.e. your subject). 

You can also use this feature to isolate one section of your image, edit everything else with filters and effects, and keep your selection unchanged. This can be especially useful when adjusting saturation and other color settings. 

Inverting Colors

Similar to inverting a selection, you can also invert colors to create spectacular and bizarre versions of an image. First, go to the Layers panel and click on the desired image from the list. Then go to the Image menu and select "Adjustments" > "Invert". For quick inversions, you can also just press CTRL+I (Command+I on Mac) to invert the entire image. Photoshop will add a new "Invert Adjustment" layer and place it above your original image in the Layers panel. 

If you select a section of your image before inverting the colors, Photoshop will create a layer mask for the selection, so only that area will be affected. Enabling or disabling the inverted layer is as simple as clicking on the eyeball icon to the left of your layer.  

Selecting the Entire Image

Finally, you can select the full frame using the simple keystroke CTRL+A (or Command+A on Mac). In most cases, you'll want to select a specific area of your image, but this command helps when applying effects to the whole project. To deselect the entire image, just press CTRL+D (Command+D on Mac).  

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