Magic Wand

A familiar tool for those with experience from graphics editors, the magic wand tool lets you quickly select parts of an image with a specific colour. It works by looking at your original selection and then finding similar pixels in colour and proximity to the original.

The magic wand can be selected by clickingor by pressing “W”.

Using the Magic Wand

There are multiple ways to use the magic wand. You can left-click or press “A” on any part of an image where you would like to use the magic wand. If you do so, an area will be selected. This selection area depends on your settings for the tolerance and blur radius modifiers.

You can also left-click, hold, and drag the mouse pointer to any direction. If you do this, you will see parts of the image going red. This is your potential selection area and it will change depending on how far away the mouse pointer is from where you first clicked. By moving the mouse pointer away from the starting point, your tolerance setting and selection area will increase. Moving the pointer closer to the starting point will shrink tolerance as well as the selection area. When you are satisfied with your selection area, you can release the left mouse button.

Adding to the selection

In some cases where you want to select more complex objects, you might need to use the magic wand multiple times. To do so, you need to add a new selection to your existing selection. This is easily done by pressing and holding “shift” while using the magic wand or by pressing the in the tool settings toolbar.

Subtract from selection

You can also subtract from your current selection using the magic wand. To do so, press and hold “alt” while using the magic wand or press in the tool settings toolbar.

Reset the tool

If you are unhappy with your selection and want to start over, you can either press “esc”, “backspace”, “del”, or “fn” + “del”.

Convert to object

When you are satisfied with your selection you can turn it into an object by pressing “enter”, or by clicking the “Convert” button in the tool settings toolbar.

Tolerance

The tolerance level controls how similar in colour surrounding pixels need to be to be selected when you click on one pixel. A high tolerance will mean that only pixels that are very similar in colour will be selected. A low tolerance will lead to more pixels of varying colours being selected.

The tolerance modifier can be changed by using the slider menu in the tool settings toolbar. You can also adjust the tolerance with your keyboard. Pressing “,” will decrease tolerance, and pressing “.” will increase tolerance.

Changing tolerance will have no impact on your current selection, only on future selections that you perform after having changed the value.

Blur radius

This modifier allows you to control the roundness of selection areas generated by the magic wand. A higher value will create a rounder, smoother shape. The tolerance modifier can be changed by using the slider menu in the tool settings toolbar. The modifier can also be changed by using the hotkeys “K” and “L”.

Changing blur radius will have no impact on your current selection, only on future selections that you perform after having changed the value.

Fill closed path

As the magic wand tool by default create masks, sometimes you will get a selection with unwanted holes in it. To remove those holes, we have the "fill closed path" button that can be found in the tool menu (top of screen). By clicking this button, you tell the tool to take the current selection, and then creating a uniform, complete object out of the current selection.

Using the "Fill closed path" function on this pool removes all the small holes in the middle

Invert mask

If you are working on simple images where you have one object to annotate per image the "Invert mask" button might be of help. What this button does is to take everything not selected using the magic wand and then selecting that, while deselecting everything that was previously selected.