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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
So I have this selection in Photoshop and I want to view it more accurately. You may know about the Quick Mask Mode now. If I press Q, that takes me to the Quick Mask Mode. The default color for the Quick Mask Overlay is normally red. I've changed mine to green here. But sometimes, even that is a bit distracting. You want to view your selection more as an actual channel, as if you've gone to the Channels panel and viewed it in isolation as a grayscale image. Well, because this isn't actually a channel yet, if I go to the Channels panel, there is nothing there for me to actually represent this temporary selection as a channel.
It turns out that when you're in the Quick Mask Mode, you can view your Quick Mask as if it were a saved channel. To do that, you hit your Tilde key. That's the little squiggly sign. On an English keyboard, it's to the left of the number 1 key. If you're using a non-English keyboard, just look for the little squiggle key on your keyboard. If I tap that, it views the overlay instead as if it were a saved channel. So, you don't see the image and the mask at the same time; you just see the channel isolated. Often, this is a much more accurate representation of what your selection looks like. Remember in selection parlance, black means protected, white means selected, and everything that's gray in-between is that transition zone between 100% opaque and 100% transparent.
To toggle back out of this, you just press the Tilde key again and you can toggle back and forth while you're in the Quick Mask Mode. If you want to get out of the Quick Mask Mode, you don't have to wait and get out of this special channel view mode. You can just press Q again. Whether you're seeing the Overlay or as a channel, that will always take you back to just seeing it as the marching ants again.
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