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Hour 12. Using Masks > Using Quick Mask

Using Quick Mask

Photoshop provides a very quick and easy way to make a temporary mask that can, in fact, be edited. It's called Quick Mask, and one of its advantages is that you can see both the image and the mask at the same time. You can start with a selected area and use the Paintbrush tool to add to it or take away from it, or you can create the mask entirely in Quick Mask mode. Let's apply a Quick Mask to the flower.

To Do: Create a Quick Mask

  1. Using whatever Selection tool seems appropriate, select the part of the image you want to change— in this case, the background. It's okay if your selection isn't perfect.

  2. Click the Quick Mask button at the bottom of the toolbox (see Figure 12.3).

  3. You see a color overlay indicating the mask on the protected area, which is to say, the area notselected. (By default, the mask is 50% opaque red, imitating a piece of the rubylith film that artists use to mask photos for retouching. If you have a red object or red background that you are masking, you can change the color by double-clicking the Quick Mask icon and using the Quick Mask options dialog box to select a contrasting color.)

    Figure 12.3. The Quick Mask has been applied to the selection. Clicking the button places a mask over the flower.

  4. If the mask needs editing, as this one does, select an appropriate Paintbrush size from the Brush palette and click the Paintbrush, or press B to activate it.

  5. Because masks are essentially grayscale images, painting with black adds to the mask. Painting with white (or erasing) takes it away. Painting with gray gives you a semi-transparent mask. You will notice that the foreground and background colors change to black and white when you enter Quick Mask mode. (If, for some reason, they didn't, press D for Default.) Figure 12.4 showsthe edited mask.

    Figure 12.4. The mask, touched up and ready to use.

  6. When the mask is edited to your satisfaction, click the Standard Mode button in the toolbox, (to the left of the Quick Mask button) to return to your original image. The unprotected area (in our case, the background) is surrounded by a Selection marquee. Now we can apply any change we want to make to this area without affecting the area that we masked.

    Figure 12.5. Here I applied Curves to lighten the background.

  7. When you are done making changes, press Command+D (on Macintoshes) or Control+D (on PCs) to deselect the area and get rid of the mask.


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