Photoshop Tutorials - Quick Mask Tool
Quick Mask Tool
You already know how to make selections and work with them. Now we can learn about the most professional tool for working with selected areas - the Quick Mask tool.
Quick Mask displays the selection where the selected areas are displayed as is while the rest of the image that is not selected is covered by semi-transparent mask. The mask color is red by default.
You can draw the selection with any paint tool.
To do so:
Open the image.
Enter the Quick Mask mode in the Tools palette.
Start painting the mask after pressing D hotkey to activate default colors.
Draw over the area that you want to select with black color. Instead of the black color the area will get covered with semi-transparent red color - the color of the mask.
Draw with the white color if you want to remove the selection.
Do not pay attention to the mask color that appears over the image - they will not actually be applied to the image - they only display where the mask is located. When you are finished, the area that you need to select is covered with semi-transparent red color. Now we can exit the Quick Mask mode by pressing Q hotkey. The mask will get transformed to selection immediately. Everything but the needed image will be selected.
Now you simply invert the selection by going to Select > Inverse. That is it! Desired area is selected.
Masks are the easiest tools to make selections that are not based on the pixel colors or making any other complex selections. You can set the color of the mask by double-clicking the Quick Mask icon in the Tools palette.
The settings of Quick Mask do not influence the way it works, they just help you adjust the way the Quick Mask results are displayed. You can set the area that mask indicates (masked or selected areas), the mask color and mask opacity.
I would like to remind you that the mask is placed with the black color and erased with the white color. The other colors applied in quick mask mode are displayed as scales of the grey color. The lighter the color is in grey scale, the more opaque the layer is.
Let us check the example. Open an image with some object and monochromatic background color. Select the background with the Magic Wand tool. Enter Quick Mask mode, the image will get covered with the mask. Choose Paint Bucket tool and in the color palette set the grey color for it (set R=100, G=100, B=100 values), fill the mask with grey color. Note, if the background is not monochromatic this example will not work! Now exit Quick Mask mode and go to Select > Inverse to select what was masked (the object). Now copy selected and paste to any other image that you will open in Photoshop. You will notice that the object is semi-transparent. The effect used in this example is applied to create gradient masks.
Let us get acquainted with the principles of creating gradient masks. As discussed above, the mask can set certain opacity for the selected area. Let us use that to create an impressive gradient mask effect.
The distinctive feature of this method is creating a mask with any drawing tool and specific interpretations of the grey color filling the mask as transparent. In other words, you can blend images with gradient opacity.
Here is an example. Open two different images. We will paste part of one image1 into the image 2. In order to do so open image 1 and do the following:
Make an elliptical selection around the desired object in Image 1.
Enter Quick Mask mode.
Select Gradient tool, set the foreground to white and background to black. In the Gradient options select Foreground To Background pre-defined gradient and radial type of the gradient.
Set the cursor in the center of the image and drag it to the edge of the image. The mask will become more transparent in the middle and more opaque at the edges.
Exit Quick Mask mode. The selection will have the same shape, like there was nothing changed. This happens because the frame can not display partly selected areas, and areas in which less then 50% of pixels are selected will not be added to selections (visually).
Copy selection and paste it to Image 2. You will see that the image is opaque in its center while it gets transparent and blends with the background (image 2) at the edges.