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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 painting tools 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 an image.

Try it Yourself

Create a Quick Mask

Quick Masks are a great time-saver, as you'll soon see. Follow along to try them.

Find a photo with a subject who stands out against the background. 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. (Don't forget that you can select the object, and then invert the selection, if that's the easiest way.)

Click the Quick Mask Mode button in the toolbox.

You see a color overlay indicating the mask on the protected area, which is to say, the area not selected. If you compare Figure 12.3 to the first picture of the lighthouse, you can see that the mask has covered the trees and structure with a red layer. Of course, it looks like gray in the picture. (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 mask's color by double-clicking the Quick Mask Mode button and using the Quick Mask Options dialog box to select a contrasting color.)

Figure 12.3. Clicking the Quick Mask Mode button masks the area not selected.

If the mask needs editing, as this one does, click the Brush tool, or press B to activate it, and select an appropriate brush size from the Brushes palette. You can use any of the painting tools or selection tools to work on a mask.

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 semitransparent 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 shows the edited mask.

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

When the mask is edited to your satisfaction, click the Standard Mode button in the toolbox (to the left of the Quick Mask Mode button) to return to your original image. The unprotected area (in this case, the background) is surrounded by a selection marquee (see Figure 12.5). Now you can apply any change you want to make to this area without affecting the lighthouse.

Figure 12.5. Here the Render→Clouds filter has been applied to beef up the sky.

You can try other ways of changing the sky, such as increasing the saturation or spraying on some transparent color over the clouds; this was a quick and easy fix.



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