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Pen tool makes inverse selections...?

Tony Bowman

Well-Known Member
Whenever I use the pen tool to make a selection, the selected area is the inverse of the area enclosed by my path (i.e. I make a circle, the area outside the circle is selected). I'm finding this a bit of an annoyance because I nearly always forget to invert the selection before applying my mask or effect.

It does seem counter intuitive though and I'm wondering if it's normal or if there's something I've done to cause PS (CS5) to default to inverse selections from paths? If it is normal, can anyone explain the rationale behind it?

This happens to me all the time and I would always forget how to fix it until I finally wrote myself a note. With the Pen Tool selected, there are four little icons up at the top that control how selections are treated. Make sure to select the first icon, where the red arrow is pointing. (I have CS-5, so I'm not sure if these little icons are different in more current versions of Photoshop.)

Pen Tool.jpg
Thank you Rich54! Annoyingly simple!! :lol:

Like me, at some point you must have accidentally hit the icon that gives you inverse selections. The other thing that always happens to me is that I will accidentally hit the icon in the Layers Panel that makes every new layer automatically be clipped to the layer below. It's maddening when these things happen and you have no idea how to make it stop.