Rob Weis Garren Wood    
Quick Mask Tool
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Quick Mask Tool - Overview and Introduction

The Quick Mask Tool is used to edit a selection. When you are working within the quick mask tool, you are NOT actually modifying any part of your image directly. You are modifying the marquee selection. With this in mind, the Quick Mask Tool contains many powerful features. For example, you can paint on a Quick Mask, apply filters to a Quick Mask, or even do manual feathering for image extraction. Lets take a look at some basic uses of the tool to get you started.

To access the quick mask tool, use your toolbox bar as shown and circled to the left.

Step #1: Image Setup

Begin with a new transparent document that is about 300 X 300. Draw a square selection using the marquee tool. Locate the Quick Mask Tool on the toolbar. Click the Quick Mask button or press "Q".

Once you've entered "quick mask mode", your image should look like this:

Step #2: Editing your Quick Mask

At this point in your work, you are now editing your quick mask. You may use all your paint brushes and most of your filters to modify your mask.

The transparent RED area of your work is the are that is NOT selected, while the clear white area is the area that is contained in your selection.
Try painting on your quick mask with a solid black brush. This will "erase" parts of your mask. If you paint with white, it adds to your selection.

Step #3: Checking your Selection

Lets see what our selection looks like at this point. Click on "Normal Editing Mode" next to the Quick Mask button or hit "Q" to switch modes. Notice the shape of your selection. It reflects what you changed it to while painting or experimenting as shown below:

Step #4: Filters

Try applying a filter to our selection. Hit "Q" to enter Quick Mask Mode.
Play with the settings to see the effect it has on your mask. Try different filters to experiment!
Return to Normal Editing Mode by pressing "Q" and you can see your new selection!

Conclusion: Examples

Now that you have the basics down on the Quick Mask Tool, you can use almost every tool in Photoshop to create smooth interfaces, shapes, or other detailed selections. I often use the tool when grabbing selections around an object in a photo. After I paint around the area I'd like to extract, I can detail out the edges and create a soft extraction. Have fun! Heres some examples of using the quick mask on the edges of a photograph while applying a filter.

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