How to Use the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop

There are thousands of ways to edit photos. You can use those free software or hire an agency to execute your desired outcome. But in reality, without Photoshop, no matter how popular software or method you use, the result might look good, but you will not get world-class edited photos! In Photoshop, such a helpful feature is the Magic wand tool.

Today, we’re going to learn everything about the Magic wand tool. Starting from the definition of this tool to using this feature strategically and executing the best results, we will know everything in detail.

So, take a cup of tea, sit back and aim to be the master of magic wand tool Photoshop through this article.

What is the Magic wand tool in Photoshop?

Since the beginning, the magic wand tool has been with Photoshop and was created to make a smooth selection of Photoshop

You can automatically select areas without the hassle of manually sketching. 

A very few software is available online, like the magic wand tool is safe, accurate, and qualified enough.

It is as easy as finding the magic wand tool on the toolbar, choosing the part of the image that needs to be selected, and your work is done! 

You don’t have to search “How to copy a selection in Photoshop” and learn to determine areas of an image anymore! Photoshop made it easy with the wand tool.

But obviously, using this tool won’t help you out in every case. So you have to make use of this tool at the perfect time and circumstance. 

Otherwise, it can impact negatively on the photo, and you would waste time times. So keep on reading to discover more.

What Does the Magic wand Tool Do?

The magic wand tool works with excellent algorithms. For example, it can automatically select the areas of an object. 

For example, it works by choosing a size of solid color in a photo. After you photoshop select layer and make the selection, you will give multiple options to refine that selection.

Most interestingly, the selection process of photoshop is smooth and accurate enough. 

In this way, the image won’t lack in quality, and even it will become better. 

First, however, you have to take some crucial actions for the magic wand tool. We will discuss these steps as you go down.

Best Uses for the Magic Wand Tool

Using the magic wand mostly depends on the type of image and intention. However, with a bit of time spent learning its features, the magic wand fan is helpful for any photo. 

When you take off with the magic wand for the first time, you may think it suits images with clear contrast and clean lines. 

But the smooth selection of photoshop or the magic wand tool is mainly used to select solid backgrounds.

The magic wand works very efficiently. It detects the same pixel and color tone by its word-class algorithms. 

When you click a pixel, it detects the other pixels that match perfectly. 

If you don’t know How to expand the selection in Photoshop, you can do this super perfectly with the help of a magic wand.

When Should You Skip magic wand tool?

Not always using this tool would be helpful. In some cases, For example, if you have an image that is reasonably blurry and broken, the magic wand won’t help you out. In this case, using something like a lasso tool would be a great idea.

Using the lasso tool, you have to select the areas manually. If the photo’s subject fades into the background and other parts, there are other precise solutions to achieving your goals. 

Save selection Photoshop after every action you take, so the changes don’t get lost after an unexpected error.

Magic wand’s special features

The magic wand is unique in working, although using this isn’t much complex. 

The best part about a magic wand is that you won’t have to keep scratching manually to select an image. Things are much easier than using a manual selecting tool.

Like most other tools in Photoshop, you can add or subtract from your chosen areas easily. It is often called a Lesser magic wand because laser layers do the selection system. 

The featuring option in the magic wand lets you make more intense round selections. And anti-aliasing helps to even out those selections.

Additionally, if you want to alter color, the tool is helpful. The fact that you can tweak the tolerance makes the magic wand even more appealing.

Step 1: Open your product photo and duplicate the background layer.

I’m using Photoshop CC18: first, you have to open the image file you want to edit from file> Open > Select the file from the top menu.

With having your image file opened, go to window > layers and open the layers palette. 

Make sure that the image background layer is open and appearing. Now, click layer> Duplicate layer, and the background will duplicate.

Then you will get the option to name the file of duplicated layer. Remember to keep the name relevant to background removing so that it becomes easier to identify the file (such as “isolated” or “no background”). 

It will make your file easier to use in the future. In addition, other members of your team can identify the file in this way.

Step 2: Hide the background layer.

You will see an eye icon in the layers palette, located at the left of the thumbnail image. 

It would be best to do this because it will make the original background invisible as you start modifying the newly duplicated layer.

Step 3: Configure the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop

Now, we will go through the configuration for the magic wand—click Tools on the left of your screen from the menu and select Magic Wand Tool. You can also do this simply by pressing” W” on the keyboard, and the magic wand will pop up. 

If the tool still doesn’t appear, it is then probably hidden behind the quick selection tool. If so happens, click and hold the quick selection tool and then select the magic wand.

Now, you have the magic wand tool. You will now get several parameters to adjust the size, which will allow you to control how large or little the tool’s area is.

Now, you will get all the available options to play with a magic wand. Let’s see how these things work.

  • Single selection — at first, turns this option. It’s necessary when you begin using the tool.
  • Add to selection — you can access this option easily by holding down SHIFT on the keyboard while using the magic wand.
  • Subtract from selection — this option lets you delete a piece on the area you click. By deleting the pixel, it subtracts the selected line.
  • Intersect with selection — to create a new section with pixels from the previous one. You can use this feature.
  • Sample size — This feature is only available for the latest versions of Photoshop. To adjust the sample size, you will be using this option. You can select one selected pixel’s color at once through this option, and it’s changeable.
  • Tolerance — if you need to select more expensive areas, you can use this feature to adjust the tolerance as you need.

Step 4: Make your selection.

So, do you need to select the subject of an image? There are two ways to do it, and I’m going to show the easiest way. Such as 1. By selecting the subject or 2 and selecting the background. The method you will follow depends on the type of photo.

Method 1: work by selecting the background

If the background contains a solid color or if the experience is mostly one color and smooth, then select the location. After that, inverse the selection and you’re done! Let’s do this.

  1. Let’s start with the duplicated layer. ( It would highlight in the layers palette if you are)
  2. While having the magic wand on, click somewhere in the background.
  3. Suppose any background areas are left and were not selected mistakenly, press and hold the shift key and then select the remaining areas. Such as the shadows of an object in an image.
  4. At last, inverse the selection of just the subject. To do it, press SHIFT + CTRL + l

Step 5: Refine the edges of the selected areas

Next to the subject button, there is a button named selections and mask located at the top right corner of the application window. Unfortunately, for older versions of Photoshop, this feature isn’t available. In this case, you may have to go to select > Refine edges to get this function.

Then you will show a window with some controlling features on the right side. Look at the left side, and you will see some spot adjustment controls.

At the top right corner of the screen, there’s a button named view under the properties tab. Click this button and see if the On Layers (Y) are selected. If not, turn it on. You can now see that the subject is isolated without any background.

You have some good enough features to play here. However, the most useful function is smooth under global refinements and the Refine edge brush tool at the left of the screen.

This feature works if you want to smooth out any rough edges. Just drag the slider to do this.

The other tool, named refine edge brush tool, lets you select specific areas in the spot. Access this by pressing “R.” To refine any particular place, click on this tool and draw over the needed areas.

If you are satisfied with your selection, click on output settings on the lower right side of the screen and select output to layer Mask. Finally, click OK on the next window.

Congrats, you now have the subject of the image completely isolated from its background. And yeah, you did it with the layer mask.

Step 6: Insert a new background into your image

Go back to the file of just the background that you want to show behind the subject. 

Then select the whole image of this file (the environment). To do this, press CTRL + A. Then, copy the selection by clicking CTRL + C.

Now, go back to the previous file containing the isolated subject. Then click CTRL + V to paste the previously copied background of the photo.

The newly opened background will pop up as a new layer in the middle. And this time, you can toggle the original experience back to visible.

There’s a mode called “multiply.” So, if the original image is taken with a white, then set this mode to multiply. 

As a result, you will get back the shadows of the original image into the new image.

If you want backgrounds, add layers as you need. Toggling the eye icon next to each background will allow you to see how they look with the subject.

You can show just the subject in front of solid-colored backgrounds. Then, create a layer with the color of your choice.

What’s the right time to use the Magic Wand Tool for Your Product Photos

The way of selecting and masking in Photoshop is an essential skill to learn for commercial purposes photographers eCommerce sellers. 

So, let’s see how often the power of the magic wand comes into play.

Show your product photos in various backgrounds, which gives users a wonderful experience. 

Interestingly, users remember the image if it looks exceptional. It will also benefit you from different target segments.

  • Remove the background from a product photo to use the image in affiliate e-Commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, or Flipchart because prominent businesses don’t approve photos without solid knowledge.
  • Select the product in Photoshop to change color or size. In this way, you can show the same product in multiple variants without taking numerous photos.

Final words

We have discussed in detail using the magic wand tool. If you think there’s any flaw within this article, please let us know, and don’t hesitate to reach out for further queries or discussion.

We have been a photo editing service provider for years, and we love to teach our readers about new editing tactics and skills. Thanks, and stay tuned.

Leave a Comment