Selecting Circular Shapes with the Pen Tool

I primarily use the Pen tool when I select an image, as I feel this gives me the most accurate results. I configure my Pen tool settings, as shown in figure.

This configuration works for me and, in fact, I don't think I have ever used any other Pen tool setup. This will allow you to create a hole or cutouts in an object. For example, you could effectively select out a donut out or Swiss cheese with this configuration, as shown in figure.

The Pen tool setup I use (note the Pen tool attributes selected at the top of the menu bar)

Add to Path Area option and the results cropping a donut (exclude overlapping path areas)

Note: Just make sure you check your setup prior to starting a clipping path. If you forget to check your Pen tool attributes, or someone else has used your computer and you don't notice that someone else changed the setup, and you go ahead and create a path, you may have to horse around with the clipping path to get the selection you want. I'll explain the different clipping path setups shortly and how they affect your selection. You can work around a different configuration, but it can be a big waste of time, so why make it harder on yourself?

Selecting other Pen attributes will yield different results, as you can see in the following examples. Take note of the different Pen tool attribute buttons selected along the top menu bar, and their effects on the selection efficiency. For instance, in following figure, the center of the donut did not crop out. Here, the Pen attributes were set to Subtract from Path Area.

Subtract from Path Area option and the results cropping a donut

In Figure 6-9, the outside or background of the donut was the only portion to get cropped out.

Pen tool set to Subtract from Path Area option and the results cropping a donut

With the Pen attributes set to Intersect Path Areas, only the hole portion of the background is selected out and retained.

Pen tool set to Intersect Path Areas option and the results cropping a donut