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Photoshop CS5 for Photographers provides comprehensive Photoshop training targeting the needs of photographers. In this course, author Chris Orwig demonstrates the fundamental skills used to enhance digital photos, including managing and correcting color, sharpening, making selections and adjustments, retouching, and printing from Photoshop. In addition to teaching the techniques that enable photographers to refine and publish their photos, the course includes live-action segments that encourage thinking photographically and shooting with Photoshop’s capabilities in mind. Exercise files are included with the course.
Another really powerful masking tool inside of Photoshop is called Quick Mask. As the name implies, Quick Mask allows us to create a mask really quickly. It's actually a temporary mask that we can then turn into a selection, or we can then create a real mask from it. We can do lots of things with Quick Mask. This can really help us out when we're trying to select something really quickly. Let's take a look at how this works. But first, you'll notice that I've included a tips layer in this document. Let's turn the visibility of that layer on in order to pick up a few helpful shortcuts when working with Quick Mask.
The first one is the Q key. That allows us to enter and exit Quick Mask. The next one is the D key. If you have colors in your Color Picker, as I do, blue and white, you can press D, and it'll take it back to the default, black-and-white. Last shortcut here is the X key. The X key will flip the foreground and the background colors. These shortcuts are helpful with normal masking as well. Well, let's turn off the visibility of this layer and then copy our Background layer.
We're going to do so by way of a shortcut. On a Mac, that's Command+J; on a PC, Ctrl+J. Next, double-click the title of that layer. Let's call this layer eyes because we're going to make a change to the eyes. We're going to de-saturate, or change a color. We'll have a little bit of fun here. All right. Well, how do you work with Quick Mask? Well, you can either click on this icon down at the base of the Tools panel, or you can press the Q key. Next, press the B key in order to select your Brush. Now we want to start off by painting with black.
As you notice here, as I click and drag, I see this red overlay. What that red overlay is showing me is that the area that I'm painting could then turn into a selection. So, if I hit the X key and paint with white, I can then paint that selected, or that targeted area, away. I can do so pretty quickly. Well, let's say that we want to focus in on the eyes. Well, again, what we want to do is we want to start to paint with black. So we'll go ahead and choose black in our foreground color.
I'm going to simply click and drag around the eyes here. It's a little bit tricky to see, because it's red on orange. But nonetheless, we're seeing the slight change there in that area of the image. Well, once we've done that, we can then press the Q key in order to exit Quick Mask mode. Now the interesting thing about this is that what's happening is it's creating a selection everywhere in the image except for the areas where we painted. Let me show you what I mean.
If we go ahead and click on the Mask icon right now, that will then turn that selection, which we created by way of a Quick Mask, into a real mask. Let's look at the real mask. Well, here you can see that if I turn off the visibility of the Background layer, what happens is, in this case, is that now it's showing everything but the area where I painted. Well, let's say that that's the opposite of what I want. No big deal. Simply click on Invert. Now the only thing I have selected are the eyes of the frog. Now it really depends on what type of effect you want to create, but let's say that we want to change the eye color of the frog.
Well, what we can do is turn on the visibility of the Background layer, target the frog layer, and then navigate to the Image > Adjustments. Let's use something simple, like you Hue/Saturation here. We'll go ahead and click and drag to the left, or we can click and drag to the right in order to change the color, but maybe a red-eyed frog. That would look kind of fun. We'll click OK here. So again, here is our before and then our after. Now because we're able to create that mask, we can also use this in some other contexts; for example, let's say that we'd really like to have the rest of the frog de-saturated - well, that'll be pretty simple, right? Click and drag the layer to the New layer icon to Copy it.
Now we have a duplicate layer here. Let's turn off the visibility of the other layers just for the moment, so we can focus in on what we see. Well, currently, we have this so that the white is revealing the eye color. Well, let's invert the mask. We'll do so by clicking in it and then pressing Invert. Now this layer is simply revealing the frog, everything but the eyes. If we want to de-saturate, well, let's go back. Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Here.
We'll pull all the Saturation out and click OK. So now, if I turn on one of the underlying layers, either this one or for that matter this one, we can start to see that it's just revealing the eye color. Now in this particular case, one of things that I notice is that, at this juncture, my effect isn't quite perfect. So you can notice that there is a little bit of green showing here on this side of the eye. Let me zoom in closer, so you can see that. Well, if I want to fix that up, all that I need to do is to click in to my Mask layer, grab my Brush tool, and then I'll press the D key, so that I have a default black-and-white.
Then I'm going to simply start to paint. A lot of times, what happens is when you start to paint, you may realize that you have the wrong color selected; for example, I'll hit the X key and paint with black. I realize that oh no, I'm adding more green. No problem, simply hit X, and then go ahead and paint. As you work in masking, what you're going to do is you're actually going to press that X key quite often, because you'll make a mistake. This way, you'll de-saturate part of the eyes. Oh, no. Press the X key, and then we can paint that back. So it's a give and take, where you'll paint a little bit, press the X key, paint on one side, and then fix up the other, so that the effect is absolutely perfect, and so that the image looks really good. All right.
Well, let's zoom out a little bit. Now that we have those nice edges, here we can see our before and after with that final layer. Here is our before and then our after. Then we also have a couple of different options with the eye color, either the original orange or this new layer with this red. Well, the whole point here is just to get you to begin to think about how Quick Mask can really connect with some of your other masking skills. So Quick Mask never really lives by itself; rather, it's a starting point or a launching pad from which then you can make some other adjustments.
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