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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Setting Selection and Mask Modes

Adobe Systems sometimes leaves me speechless because of the way things are named. For example, a Quick Mask, which is an overlay you paint on image areas to declare "I want this area selected," can mark either a selected area or a masked area.

It really doesn't matter that Photoshop has tacked the word mask onto at least 15 things that can produce selections in addition to masking. Quick Mask can both protect the area you mask over from editing (in which case, it's truly a Quick Mask) or make areas you tint on top of the image available for editing (in which case, you are defining a selection and not a mask).

Let's perform a short series of steps to make sure that when you want a selection, you get a selection, and when you want a mask, you get a mask. You will thank me for this later if you're just coming to Photoshop.

Quick Masking...and Quick Selecting

  1. Open the Daisy.tif image in the Examples\Chap03 folder on the companion CD. Press D for the default colors to make certain that the foreground color swatch on the toolbox is black.

  2. The top right of Figure 3.48 shows a magnified view of the Quick Mask icon located on the toolbox below the color swatches. To the left of the Quick Mask icon is the Edit in Standard Mode icon, the button that will most frequently be selected as you work. Double-click on the Quick Mask icon, and the Quick Mask Options dialog box appears.

  3. Figure 3.48Figure 3.48 With the Quick Mask tool configured this way, it's actually a "Quick Selection" tool.

  4. Click on the Selected Areas button in the dialog box, and then press Enter (Return). Now, only places where you apply tint over the image will be selected when you return the image to Standard editing mode (the act of double-clicking on the quick Mask icon automatically puts the image into Quick Mask mode after the dialog box is closed).

  5. Get out a small round, soft tip brush to tint the daisy. (Precision is not an issue here. We're not master maskers yet; we're only exploring our way around Photoshop options.) Paint over the daisy, and then click on the Edit in Standard Mode icon on the toolbox (or press Q to toggle Quick Mask on and off). A marquee appears around the daisy. Click on the Move tool on the toolbox, and then you can move the daisy around. Stop when the novelty fades.

  6. Okay. Choose File, Revert (and start fresh again). Alt(Opt)+click the Quick Mask icon. As you can see in Figure 3.49, the icon reverses coloration, so the outside of the circle has a tinted tone (you've changed the preference to "Masked Areas"). In Selected Areas mode, the circle had a tinted tone on the icon.

  7. Figure 3.49Figure 3.49 In "true" Quick Mask mode, everywhere you tint is protected from editing.

  8. Paint away again, filling the daisy with tint. After you've finished, click on the Edit in Standard Mode icon (or press Q). You will see the daisy outlined with marching ants, but the edge of the image has ants, too. This means the background is selected, and the daisy truly is masked.

  9. Wanna prove it to yourself?

  10. Choose the Gradient tool, and then choose a nice, complex, Chrome preset gradient. Then drag the tool in the image window. Surprised? Hope not. The background accepts the gradient while the daisy is still all nice and neat because it was not selected.

Pin the daisy on your lapel or on a bucket hat and keep Photoshop open.

We need to make one last step to consider thorough our examination of things that can be changed to suit your tastes. Guess what? Photoshop has a spell checker now.

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