header image containing links to pages link to home page link to photographic art link to links page link to contact details
banner image containing photoshop totorial links

Sally Jane Photographic Art

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial


Adobe Photoshop Tools - Quick Mask

quick mask togglesNo matter how you make a selection, and there are numerous ways, it is helpful to see exactly what you are selecting and at the same time make easy adjustment to it. OK so you know more or less where the outline for your selection is by the dotted line that appears around it but when an outline is complicated it isn't always easy to see the fine details. Also, it's fiddly to edit the selection like that. That is where the Quick Mask toggle buttons (shown left) come in very useful. Once you have made your selection, click on the button in the right shown here labeled 'Quick Mask'. Everything outside your selected area will turn red by default and your selection with remain clear. The dotted line will have gone also. See images below.

In the first of these images of a gull you can see there is a selection around the bird. My intention is to remove the sky. The second image shows my selection after I have clicked on the Quick Mask button.




You can see now that there is some blue sky still visible. This shows that those areas of blue have also been selected. I can now edit this selection by painting out the areas of blue using a black paint brush. Don't worry, it won't show up black, it will be red just like the rest but you must select black because if you use a lighter colour it will only partially mask the area. If you paint over an area you want to select by mistake you can simply use the eraser to remove it. If it is a large area you want to edit the selection tools and pain bucket tools still work within this mask but may take a little getting used to. Using a soft brush will feather the selection.

mask 2

OK, I have finished touching up my selection in Quick Mask. Now by clicking on the left hand button that I have labeled 'Exit Quick Mask' you will return to your original image with the dotted line around your selection as before. Now by hitting ctrl+j you can copy this selection to a new layer. By clicking on the eye icon on the background layer in the layer pallet you can switch off the original image and just see your cut-out selection.

background removed When I look closely I can still see a blue fringe around the bird. I've enlarged it to 300% and added a white background so you can see it better.

fringe You could touch this up by carefully erasing it but there is a quicker way. Go to the top menu bar and click on defringeLayer. At the bottom of the drop down list is an item called 'Matting'. Clicking on this provides three further options. Select Defringe. You will get a small window come up asking by how many pixels. Try 1 to start with and click OK. You should see the fringe disappear. If not undo what you have done in the history pallet and try again with 2 pixels. You cannot defringe more than once which is why you have to undo what you have done and try again rather than just repeating it.

The Remove black matt has a similar effect by simply whitening any dark outline and the reverse for remove white matt.

One last thing on the Quick Mask. As I have said, by default, the unselected area shows up as red. This may not always be convenient as if there is a lot of red in the part of the image you are selecting it may be difficult to tell what is masked and what is actually red. For this reason you can change the colour. When you have the quick mask on, by double clicking on the Quick Mask button again you will get a small dialog quickmask dialogwindow come up which will allow you to change the colour and the opacity of the mask. You can even switch the part of the mask that is coloured so that if you would rather have the area you are selecting coloured than click on the Selected Areas radio button.





Return to Tools Pallet Introduction

Recommended Further Reading for Photoshop

Return to introduction & contents page

Flikr "A-Z of Digital Editing" group


Home - Site Map - Blog - My flickr


Contact Sally Jane

Tel. 07956 448690

e-mail - Images@sally-jane.com