Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video The Quick Mask mode, part of Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery.
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All right gang! So here I'm working inside of the image called Duckbill in tent.tif over here in the Channels palette. In case you want to catch up with me, notice I have this selection outline that I created using the Color Range command here under the Select menu. And if you are just joining me and you want to load this selection outline on up, then go over to the Channels palette and what you do is you go down here to this guy called imperfect and you would press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and you would click on its thumbnail in order to load it up as a selection outline, and then you will have exactly the selection outline you see me using on screen here.
What I did is I went down here to the bottom of the Channels palette and I click on this icon and notice it says Save selection as channel. That tells me that I'll indeed save the selection outline as an alpha channel that's right ready to go. In case, you are wondering all about alpha channels and everything else that's going on with channels and masks, and you really want to learn everything about masking, I have the series that's part of the Lynda.com Online Training Library. Right now it's called Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks, but the beauty of it is 100% of it works the same way in the CS3 as it does in CS4. So it's all applicable to Photoshop CS4, but there have been some new things added to CS4, so I'll be showing you some of those as we look at masking here. But I do want you to know, it goes on for hours. There is just tons and tons of stuff to learn about masking.
I am going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac because we don't need to add that guy, he is already part of the image and you can save alpha channels, these extra channels here that contain masks along with the image in the TIFF file format. So TIFF and PSD, the layered native Photoshop document format will go ahead and accommodate masks. JPEG, no sir, you cannot save an alpha channel along with a JPEG image, just so you know. All right, so anyway, we got this selection outline going. It is imperfect, what do we do? Well, one of our options is to enter the Quick Mask mode and you can enter the Quick Mask mode by clicking on this little icon down here at the bottom of the toolbox or you can just press the Q key. So the Q key takes you into the Quick Mask mode, and the Q key takes you back out, or you can click this button right there to go in and back out.
I say we go in for a moment, and the grand thing about the Quick Mask mode is that it allows you to paint a selection outline. So you can edit a selection outline as a mask and all of a sudden basically the entire program, all of Photoshop, becomes a selection modification environment. So you can use any of these tools now; not just these guys, not just the selection tools up here, and not just the commands under the Select menu, but basically everything that's available to you inside the whole software. It's always its grayscale compatible then you can apply it to this mask.
So there's nothing particularly quick about the Quick Mask mode or easy about it either, it's just as tough as full-blown masking. It's just that it's temporary, so you can get in, you can get out, and I guess that's what so quick about it. Of course, you get in, you spend like a half-an-hour modifying the mask and then you get back out that very quick. But here, I'll show you some quick things to do in the Quick Mask mode. First of all, we have got an overlay color, which is red. So we are now seeing the mask in red. So in other words, the deselected areas have a red overlay and the selected areas have no overlay. So we are just seeing the normal colors on the image. And this is based on an old technology called rubylith, which was this acetate that had red stuff on it and you would cut up the red stuff and leave the acetate behind and you would peel out the areas that you cut with an X-Acto knife, for example. And then that would serve as your mask for a photographic image, when you are doing stat camera techniques and so on.
Because it was so popular, it's a very common technique. More than 20 years ago back when I was a lad, I used to actually do this stuff. It became a sort of defacto standard inside of Photoshop but you don't have to work with a rubylith. You can change it to a sapphire-lith for example, because we need to make this overlay blue. And why do we need to do that, because red on red, this is not going to do us any good, warm color against warm color does not serve our purposes. So here is what you do; you double-click on the Mask icon. Now the thing is if you are in the Quick Mask mode, and you double-click on the Quick Mask icon, it's going to take you out of the Quick Mask mode, which is crazy.
Then you have these options and you can adjust them to your heart's content. I'll show you in a moment. I'm going to cancel that. I'm going to go back into the Quick Mask mode. You go over to the Channels palette and you will see this new alpha channel called Quick Mask in itals to show you that it's something that Photoshop made and it also happens to be temporary on the fly mask. Double-click on it and you will stay inside the Quick Mask mode and we we're seeing the Quick Mask options. Go ahead and click on this Color Swatch. I want you to change the Hue value to 180, which is Cyan, and click OK. Leave the other values set as it is. So it's just H 180 click OK.
You can change the Opacity if you want to. I so wished you could preview the setting, try to figure out if it's going to what you wanted to be, but the only way to preview it is to click OK, which isn't really a preview; it's an application and there it is. So anyway, it works beautifully for us, this is good enough. Now then what do we do? Well, the thing to bear in mind with the Quick Mask is that it's still black and white; I mean you can see that right here inside the Channels palette. So the deselected area is black, the selected area is white. It's just that it previews differently. So we are seeing the black areas shown in cyan and we are seeing the white areas shown transparent just as raw image essentially, an un-colorized image.
So that means if we want to add to the deselected area we paint with black, and if you wanted to add to the selected area you paint with white. So for example, I'll go ahead and get my Paint Brush tool right there; I want you to do it too. Make sure that your brush is set to something along these lines, which is to say a Master Diameter of 20 pixels and a Hardness of 100%. The reason is you don't want to be slopping in fuzzy edges when you are masking. That's rarely a good idea. You want to be able to observe the natural edges in the image and paint inside of them.
Let's start painting and notice by the way, if I paint in black, my foreground color is set to black right there, then I'm painting in cyan like so, and these become deselected regions. So you can de-select in just all kinds of crazy patterns like this. And then when you go back out of the Quick Mask mode, sure enough, those areas are deselected. All right, I'm going to undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Actually, I have to press Ctrl+Alt+Z or Command+Option+Z on the Mac a few times to get rid off all that garbage. Then if I switch my foreground or background color, so the foreground color is now white like this and I paint, then I'm painting in selection. So I can give them sort of a selected beard right there and then I switch out of Quick Mask mode and you can see now that now I have selected that region. All right, Ctrl+Alt+Z a couple of times, Command+Option+Z a couple of times on the Mac.
All right, here is what I want you to do that we want to get rid of this line. So let's go ahead and scroll all the way over to the left, so that I can see the far left side of the image and we are going to get rid of this straight line by doing this. Press the X key to make the foreground color black, and now I'll click right there, nice, and then I'll Shift-click right there, and I just deselected this line. Now you can still see it but it's now covered with the cyan overlay. Actually in the next exercise, I'll show you how you make sure that it is totally de-selected and then go up here and click on this side of the jaw, and then Shift-click right there in order to paint away that seam as well.
In the next exercise, we are going to make some further modifications by viewing the mask independently of the image, so that we can really hone in on exactly what we are doing. Stay tuned!
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
- Defining the essentials of masking
- Resizing images with content-aware scaling
- Adjusting perspective with Vanishing Point
- Applying Smart Filters to create complex effects
- Using the Auto-Align tool to build composite images