Be a Cowboy: Learn to Use the Lasso Tool

This tutorial has been created for an older version of Zoner Photo Studio. However, you can still follow its instructions in the latest Zoner Photo Studio X.

Sure, there’s a lot you can get done with a photo by editing the whole thing. But sometimes you have to work with just one part. And the way to do that is with selection tools. Let’s take a look at some of them and see how they can help you work magic—like transforming the colors in your pictures.


Here we’ve used the Lasso to select the cat’s eye and then changed its color using Enhance Colors. Note the dashed outline around the eye—the area inside it is the selection.

The Boring Part. Don’t Skip It.

To modify just one part of your picture, you need to show Zoner Photo Studio which part you mean. That part is the selection, and you mark it using selection tools. ZPS offers many of these: Rectangular Selection, Elliptical Selection, Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magnetic Lasso, Magic Wand, and Selection Brush.

Once you make a selection, a moving dashed line—sometimes called “marching ants”—shows you the outline of that selection. Changes you make when a selection is active will only affect the selected part of the picture.

Lasso Some Pixels!

Just like real cowboys, photo cowboys lasso best with a steady hand and some practice. You click and hold down the left mouse button, and then move the mouse around to draw an outline. When you’re done, that outline becomes the selection. If you don’t complete a whole enclosed shape, ZPS completes it for you.

To use the Lasso, click Lasso in the Toolbox on the right side of the Editor, or press L.The regular Lasso is most useful when you need to select a small area of your picture that’s irregularly shaped and that’s right next to similar colors.

Creating a Selection using the Lasso:
1) Click Lasso in the Toolbox.
2) Move the mouse to the start of your selection.
3) Click and hold down the left mouse button.
4) Move the mouse to draw an outline.
5) Release the mouse button.

Lasso with Lines: The Polygonal Lasso

The Polygonal Lasso (shortcut: N) is also used for selecting areas by outlining them. The difference: this time you draw the outline as a series of lines—one line per mouse click. The Polygonal Lasso is most useful when you need to select geometric shapes such as windows, home electronics (like a flat-screen TV), or signs.

Pro tip: If you add a bad line or lines, just press Backspace to remove them one by one.


A great time for the Polygonal Lasso: select this irregular shape in just 4 clicks. (Then e.g. copy it with Ctrl+C.)

Creating a Selection using the Polygonal Lasso:
1) Click Polygonal Lasso in the Toolbox.
2) Move the mouse to the start of your selection.
3) Click to mark the start of your first line.
4) Move the mouse to the end of your first line.
5) Click again—this adds the line.
6) Repeat as needed to add more lines to the shape.
7) Close the shape by clicking the starting point again.

Lasso with Magic: The Magnetic Lasso

The most advanced tool in the Lasso family is the Magnetic Lasso (shortcut: A). Simply put: it watches where you click and watches for nearby lines in your picture, and then “snaps” your outline to fit those lines. It’s perfect for selecting cat eyes, big plastic pool rafts, and much more!

Pro tip: Here too, if you make a mistake, don’t hit your monitor. Just hit Backspace.


Magnetic Lasso example: We’ve selected this pool raft and then changed its color from green to yellow using Enhance Colors.

Creating a Selection using the Magnetic Lasso:
1) Click Magnetic Lasso in the Toolbox.
2) Move the mouse to the start of your selection.
3) Click to mark the starting point.
4) Move the mouse towards the end of your first line.
5) As you do that, the Magnetic Lasso looks for edges and snaps to them.
6) Click again—this adds the line.
7) Repeat as needed.
8) Close the shape by clicking the starting point again.