Do you ever wish there was a tool that could select multiple objects for you in a picture? Well, your wish has now been granted. All thanks to the Subject Selection Tool in Photoshop CC 2020!

Photoshop, a widely popular tool used for designing websites, video editing, creating 3D animations, etc., acknowledged that different pixels were varying colours, and some were lighter or darker than others.

However, for all its power, Photoshop couldn't really comprehend the bigger picture. It couldn't determine whether the object in the image is a person, an animal, a tree, or perhaps any other object. For Photoshop, everything was merely pixels.

However, in CC 2018, Adobe introduced that same technology to Photoshop as an innovative selection command called Select Subject. And in CC 2020, Select Subject has been dramatically upgraded. And voila, now you can select multiple objects at the same time.

Today, we will explain how to select subject in Photoshop CC 2020 to instantly select objects in your photos! 

Where to find the Select Subject command?

Select Subject automatically detects the main subject in the image and selects it. And all this with just one click! Indeed, the results will differ depending on your image. Ready to try your hands on this magical tool?

So, let's dive in to learn how to use the select subject command in Photoshop cc 20. We'll also demonstrate how to use the select subject command with images having single and multiple subjects, respectively.

1. From the Menu Bar

The most straightforward way to start Select Subject is by going to the Select menu in the Menu Bar and then selecting Subject.

2. From the Option Bar

  • See if the Object Selection Tool, the Quick Selection Tool, or the Magic Wand Tool is running in the toolbar.

  • If yes, you'll see the Select Subject button in the Options Bar.

How does Select Subject work?

Select Subject automatically identifies the most striking object in the image and creates a selection outline around it. All you ought to do is choose the Select Subject command, and Photoshop will handle the rest. Isn't that excellent?

Now, let's look at a few real-life instances of how to use a select subject in Photoshop cc 20.

Example 1: To select a single subject

This is a close-up, indoor portrait shot. Besides Adobe Sensei's ability to identify people in a photo, this image offers a very significant advantage to help Select a Subject, which is its sharpness.

To see how good Select Subject in Photoshop CC 2020 is at its job, let's see how brilliantly it isolates the woman from the background.

Apply the Select Subject command

  • Click on Select Subject from the Select menu in the Menu Bar and then click on Subject.
  • The Select command is fully automatic and is not followed by any other option or dialogue boxes.

Going to Select Subject

  • Photoshop examines the image, looking for the main subject. 
  • And once it does that, a selection outline appears around the subject.


View the selection in Quick Mask mode

  • To make the selection convenient to see, you can turn on Photoshop's Quick Mask mode by clicking on the Quick Mask icon from the toolbar.
  • You can likewise toggle Quick Mask on and off by pressing the letter Q from your keyboard.

Enabling Quick Mask mode

  • A red-coloured overlay fills the area around the selection in the Quick Mask mode.
  • This makes it easy to notice that Select Subject did a great job isolating the woman from the rest of the photo.

Zoom in for a closer look

  • When we zoom in on the image, you can see that Select Subject did an excellent job of selecting the woman's hair.
  • As you can see, the smaller strands of hair extensions along the sides have also been incorporated, and the edges along the t-shirt have a smoother transition to them.
  • This makes the hair blend more naturally with a contrasting background.

However, as we already mentioned initially, Select Subject's results will differ depending on the image. Now, let's see how the Select Subject performs in case an image has multiple subjects.

Example 2: To select multiple subjects

Let's see if Select Subject can identify two people in the same photo.

Apply the Select Subject command

  • Click on Select Subject from the Select menu in the Menu Bar and then click on Subject.

Going to Select > Subject

  • After a few seconds, the selection outlines appear. 
  • As you can see, it looks promising so far, with an outline surrounding both the man and woman.
  • Both subjects have been selected now.

View the selection in Quick Mask mode

  • Turn on the Quick Mask mode from the toolbar.

Clicking the Quick Mask icon

  • As you can see, the Select Subject had no difficulty detecting both the subjects, although they were on opposite sides of the image.

Zoom in for a closer look

  • As we zoom in on the image, you can see that Select Subject did a fabulous job of selecting the old man's hair. 
  • Again, the smaller strands of the old man's hair were included along with the edges of the t-shirt, adding a smoother transition to them. 
  • This makes the subject blend more naturally with a contrasting background.

Got a clear understanding to select subject in Photoshop cc 20 ?

Select Subject is an excellent automatic selection command that identifies and selects your image's main subject. And thanks to Photoshop CC 2020, Select Subject's results are more impressive than ever. 

So, what's stopping you? Start using Select Subject as a time-saving tool to isolate your subject(s) from its background.

Like any other selection tool, Select Subject can help you get there. And it does all this with just a single click is quite astonishing. However, you might need to sharpen your selection after using Photoshop's Select and Mask workspace. 

Have any questions for us? Do let us know.

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Editor: Richa Sharma

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can't find the “Select Subject” option in Photoshop, it might be due to the version of Photoshop you're using. This feature was introduced in Photoshop CC 2018 and later versions. Make sure you have an updated version to access this convenient subject selection tool.

To use the “Select Subject” feature in Photoshop, open your image, select the “Magic Wand” tool from the toolbar, and then click the “Select Subject” button at the top. Photoshop will automatically analyze your image and select the main subject. You can then refine the selection as needed.

To select a subject and move it in Photoshop, use the “Select Subject” feature or any selection tool to outline the subject. Once selected, press the “V” key to activate the Move tool. Click and drag the selected subject to move it within your image or to another layer.

To select an object in Photoshop CC, use various selection tools like the Marquee, Lasso, or Magic Wand to outline the object. You can also use the “Select Subject” feature to select the primary subject in your image automatically. Once selected, you can perform various editing tasks or move the object as needed.