Photoshop Quick Mask Tutorial

“Quick Mask” is an extremely powerful, yet often neglected and forgotten, feature of Photoshop. It is a very simple and fast way to create complex selections.

All you need to do is the following:

1) Press ‘Q’ – Photoshop will enter the “Quick Mask” mode (this will also change the title of current window – see the image below).

Entering Quick Mask mode

2) Using brush of your selection, draw with black colour (implicitly selected when you enter “Quick Mask” mode) over the area you wish to select; this area will turn red.
Yes, just like with normal masks, black colour means “invisible”, but we’ll take care of this in a moment; often, the selection you’re making is much smaller than the whole image, so it’s easier to deselect the area, and then invert selection.

And just like with normal masks, if you draw out of bounds, just switch to white colour (press ‘X’), and repair it. 🙂

Tip: use small brush to create outline of the area, then with bigger brush just fill in the inside.

Selection in Quick Mask mode

3) When you’re done, press ‘Q’ again. This will leave “Quick Mask” mode, and creates selection. What you painted black is now deselected. Since you typically want it the other way around, just press Ctrl+Shift+I (invert selection). You’ll get the selection of what you wanted:

Resulting selection

4) And that’s it! We have create a very complex selection in just a few seconds. Now we can do anything we want with the selection… How’bout a bit of Hue&Saturation? 🙂

Use the selection

Did I ever tell you about my visit to the purple castle? 😉

One response to “Photoshop Quick Mask Tutorial

  1. Thank you JC, that was a wicked tutorial! Yeah, I’ve always been a lasso cowboy else the wand magician, but a plain old’ dumbo when it came to masking.

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