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Quick Selection Tips

Lesson 7 of 13

Quick Mask Mode

Ben Willmore

Quick Selection Tips

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

7. Quick Mask Mode

Lesson Info

Quick Mask Mode

I'm going to talk about a mode called quick mask mode because I use it for all sorts of things, so first let's say we make a selection like this one most of the time you view a selection by seen what some people call the marching ants, the edge that's moving around like it is right now that's not the only way to look at a selection now if I were to go to the bottom of my tool panel all the way to the bottom, the bottom most icon that's down there is this guy that is called quick mask mode, and it has a keyboard shortcut, which is just pressing letter q all by itself don't type command hq you that's quitting photo shop so q all by itself, so if I click on that watch what happens to the selection already have? I'm going to click on the icon now and it transforms my selection into a red overlay where the areas covered with red are the areas that were not selected. The area's look normal is what was selected and what's cool about this is now we can edit the selection using tools that would...

usually modify picture meaning like painting tools, filters or other things, so if I grab my paintbrush tool and I paint right now, I come in here and paint this corner let's say, painted in and then, if I turn quick mask modoff by clicking that icon a second time, the one that's at the bottom of my tool panel you'll see we just grabbed a cut, a little corner off of it, and I could just click that icon again and continue modifying my selection divided here with this type cue again to turn off quick mask, and I just changed my selection it's a relatively simple feature, but some people just haven't used it before. In most people I find use it on an overly simple level. I want to show you how we can use it for all sorts things so let's see, I'm in a typed letter q. When quick mask motors turned on, you can modify the selection using any tool that could change a black and white picture. If there's a feature and photoshopped that would change the look of a black and white picture, that same feature could be used to change this. So if I had a black and white picture, couldn't I go to the filter menu, tow, distort it somehow? Maybe I choose filter distort ripple. If I did that to a black and white picture, it would make the entire black white picture look all ripley almost like it's underwater and there's little waves. Going over it but it here if I do it to the quick mask does it only to that red over light but now look at like the edge looks like the edge now looks much more intricate I could also come up here and maybe a try a blur let's do a fancy blur like a motion blur just not at one thousand five hundred thirty one pixels will bring that down and make it so we have just a little bit of emotion blur on it if you look at this preview in here if you click on this preview you'll see what it looked like before you see we had a crisp edge let go and you'll see the after or you have a preview check box if you want to see it on the main image this would be before crisp edged this is after well now it's done that to our selection if I type a letter q to turn off quick mass mode now we have a selection usually you're thinking about selections as if they're things you made with the lasso tool or the er marty tool or something else we could make them using any tools that would work on a black and white picture which means we can end up with really wild looking selections I'll type cue to go back into quick mask and I know let's see if we want to go over here and twirl this and we'll just twirl it a lot good luck making a selection of this shape using normal selection tools but if you get used to the filters that you have available you can create all sorts of interesting looking selections and so that could be if you wanted let's say select the edge of your picture let's say I come out here and make a selection near the edge and what I'd like to do is lightened the edge of the picture but I don't want just a crisp edge on it like that so I can come over here and type queue for quick mask and now come in here and distorting we'll just ripple it like we did before and then we'll come in and try one other filter maybe will come in and do ah there's a blur called radio blur which means either act like you're spinning your camera lens or like yours resuming the lens as you take a picture and I'll tell it to zoom a little to get an interesting blur on the edge like that I typed the letter q now to turn off quick mask mode since I want to darken the edges we have a problem and that is I have the central portion of the image selected so whatever I do is only going to affect the middle so I need to go to the selectmen you in to get the opposite I choose inverse inverse means opposite. So when I choose that now, instead of having the middle of the picture selected, I have the outer edge in anything I do to the picture now will only affect the outer edge. In my case, I'll use an adjustment layer. I could just use brightness and contrast, and I'll just bring down the brightness a little bit, and when I dio, you'll see that. Now we have this weird looking shape that it's happening in because we were able to make more interesting selections. Does that make sense? So the main thing is start mentally thinking about quick mask mode is being my selection just turned into a picture it's, a picture that happens to look like a red overlay on my image, but aiken distort that picture in any way I could distort a black and white image. I can run filters, I can adjust it using adjustments if it has, like a soft edge on it, let's, say, or anything else.

Class Description

Learn how to take advantage of Photoshop’s powerful Selection tools and take your image editing skills to the next level.

Join Ben Willmore and explore everything you need to know to quickly select complex objects and refine selections in seconds. You’ll learn how to remove complex backgrounds (like trees and other naturescapes), precisely select smoke, and work with translucent objects. You’ll leave this course ready to make much more effective selections.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2



I love learning from Ben Willmore! He has such a friendly, casual style I just love watching him in action. But he never wastes my time, he attacks his topic forcefully, stays focused on his teaching, and I have learned so much watching his videos. Ben is terrific and I strongly recommend this and his other courses on CreativeLive.

Julie Coder

Excellent class! Ben has a very clear presentation style so it's easy to follow along. I appreciate seeing the diverse approaches to selections, and some creative uses as well. Thanks so much!


I am a beginner in PS. I had been struggling with it for about 6 months until I took Ben Willmore's Photoshop 101. I have had many "aha" moments, but still learning. I decided to get "Quick Selections" because I was looking for shortcuts and quicker ways to process my photography. I am only half way through the course and it has already paid for itself in time that it will save me. It has also opened my eyes to greater possibilities in editing. Ben Willmore is an excellent instructor. His style is laid back, but thorough.