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Learn how to use selections and layer masks in Photoshop to create composite images and apply targeted adjustments. After covering the key concepts behind selections and exploring Photoshop's selection tools, Tim Grey delves into a variety of advanced techniques that will help you make accurate selections, create seamless composite images, and apply adjustments that do exactly what you want them to do.
In many cases, when you're modifying a selection, you might trace along the edge of the area that you want to select, but you can also use a special mode called Quick Mask mode that enables you to paint along that edge instead. Quite frankly, the approach is really not that much different. You're either tracing along an edge or painting along an edge. They're virtually the same thing. But you may find that you prefer working in Quick Mask mode so let's take a look at how it works. I'll start off by loading a selection that I've already saved for this image. I'll go to the Select menu and then choose Load Selection and in this case I want the sky selection so I'll go ahead and just click OK in order to load that selection.
You can see I have a selection of the sky or at least it appears to a selection of the sky. But zooming in, you'll see that we also have part of the barn selected. And I'd like to clean that up. I could use the Lasso tool, or actually in this case, probably the Polygonal Lasso tool in order to modify the selection. Subtracting the barn area from the selection, but I could also utilize Quick Mask mode. We can access Quick Mask mode just by pressing the letter Q on the keyboard for Quick Mask mode and that is a toggle, so I can turn it on or off, as needed.
I can also click the button down below the color picker on the toolbox in order to switch into Quick Mask mode or switch back into normal selection mode. And when I'm in Quick Mask mode I can see of course that's there's a red overlay on top of my image. The areas that are selected appear normal and the areas that are not selected appear with the red overlay and so of course you can see that the barn is covered with red but a portion of roof line is not so that area is selected. Whereas the rest of the barn is not selected. If the color that's being used isn't quite working, for example, if the color matches an area of the photo, you can change the color for Quick Mask.
To do so simply double-click on the Quick Mask Mode button. That will bring up the Quick Mask options dialog, and there you can click on the color swatch in order to bring up the color picker. And you can choose a different color that you'd like to use for that Quick Mask. I'll go ahead for example and switch this to a magenta color and then click OK and OK. And we're back to the image. Of course in the process of bringing up that dialogue I also turned off Quick Mask mode. So I'll just press Q again in order to bring Quick Mask mode up. Obviously, we can evaluate our selection in Quick Mask mode, but we can also modify our selection and not with the normal selection tools, but rather with the Brush tool.
So, I'll chose the Brush tool from the toolbox. I'll go ahead and change the brush hardness up to a 100% value. Since I have not feathered this selection, I want the edge that I'm painting to match the existing edge. I can also adjust the brush size, in this case, reducing the brush size, but the left square bracket key will reduce the brush size, and the right square bracket key will increase the brush size. And now, I'm simply going to paint into the image with either black or white. Black will remove areas from the selection, and white will add areas to the selection.
So you might think of it as white being an eraser for this mask, and black being a painter for the mask. So for example, my foreground color is currently set to black. I can press the letter D on the keyboard to make sure I have the default colors of black and white. And then I can click and paint and instead of black appearing I'll see the color of my mask, in this case magenta. And so I can paint along that edge in order to identify that area as a portion of the image that should not be included in the selection. If I go outside the lines, just a little bit, you can see I did a little here, then I can switch my colors to white as my foreground color, just by pressing the letter X on the keyboard, and now I'm effectively erasing that mask. So I can go back, and clean up the edge of that mask as needed. In other words, I'm working directly on that selection in a little bit of a different presentation mode.
So painting with white will add areas to the selection and painting with black will remove areas from the selection. What I'm essentially doing is painting in this case with magenta or erasing that magenta but the effect is to modify the selection. So I'll go ahead and press the Q button once again to switch out of Quick Mask mode into the normal selection mode. And you can see that I've cleaned up most of the problems with the selection there. I still have a little bit of work to do. But as you can see that Quick Mask mode can be very helpful for evaluating and modifying your selections to make sure they're as accurate as possible.
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