Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quick masks

Quick masks are a method of selecting areas in an image by using the brush or pen tools. This allows you to make more accurate selections as you are able to paint the areas you wish to select.

The process of using the quick masks involves:

  • Resetting the colour palette.
  • Entering quick mask mode.
  • Painting the mask.
  • Exiting the quick mask mode.

Resetting the colour palette

To begin using quick masks you must first reset the colour palette by pressing the “D” key. This will allow you to see the quick masks more clearly. Although, if you have two different colours in your palette you will notice the foreground colour turn gray when to enter quick mask mode.


Entering quick mask mode

There are two ways of entering the quick mask mode. You can either select the “Edit it quick mask mode” icon on the toolbox like below:



Or you can select the “Q” key on the keyboard. There are two different ways you can tell if you are in quick mask mode. Firstly, the title on the image will have “Quick Mask”; and the history panel on the right will have the message “Enter Quick mask”.


Painting the mask

When you paint in quick mask mode, you will notice a transparent red colour. The colour red indicates the areas which have masked out. For example below, I want to select the sky background, so have painted the area.


(no quick mask)



(Quick mask)

You can of course increase the size of your brush and zoom into your image when you are in quick mask mode.

If you make a mistake you can flip the colour palette by pressing the “X” key and paint to unmask the areas, but remember to flip the palette back. Or you can alternatively use the eraser tool to remove your mistake.


Exiting the quick mask mode

There are two ways of exiting the quick mask mode. You can select the icon opposite the “Edit it quick mask mod” in the toolbox. Or you select the “Q” key again to exit the quick masks. The example will look something like below:



You should notice the opposite area selected. You can reverse this choosing Select > Inverse and your image should look like below. Ideally you should paint the opposite of what you want to select in quick mask mode.




Summary

This is a quick summary of how to use quick mask mode:
  • Resetting the colour palette – Select the “D” key.
  • Entering quick mask mode – Select the “Q” key on the keyboard or the icon on the toolbox.
  • Painting the mask – Paint the mask area.
  • Exiting the quick mask mode – Select the “Q” key on the keyboard or the icon on the toolbox.

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