Free Photography Tutorials, Beginners to Advanced

Quick Mask - Page 2

Using the 'Quick Mask' mode in Photoshop

Once we are happy with the mask we can unclick the 'Quick Mask' and return to normal mode. The red will disappear and a selection marquee, a moving dotted line, will appear. The area selected at the moment is all of the picture that we didn't mask so, before we can work on the branch, we need to invert the selection. Choose 'Inverse' on the 'Select' menu or press ctrl-shift-I. The selection is now inverted, the branch is now selected and any effects we apply will only affect the selected area. You can save the selection, you will see the choice on the 'Select' menu, and it will be saved with the file. If you have spent a long time painting a mask then it is always worth saving it.

We could have painted the whole picture except the branch, and then we wouldn't have needed to invert the selection but, as you can see, it is easier to work on the smallest part of the picture. One thing you have to be careful of when making a mask is leaving gaps in your painting, make sure when you change back to normal mode that the mask hasn't got any holes in it.

Using the Gradient Tool

One of my favorite tricks with the 'Quick Mask' mode is to use the 'Gradient Tool' to make a very soft edged mask. This can be used for a number of corrections where you want to be subtle. For instance, when you have taken a wide picture of a room using flash and the back of the room, which will be the top of the picture, is under-lit. A quick mask of the foreground will allow you to lighten up the background to balance up the picture, a soft gradient in the mask will ensure that the effect is subtle.

All that remains to do with our owl picture is to open the 'Curves' dialogue box, which can be found under 'Image'->'Adjustments' and pull the curve down to darken the branch. In this instance I grabbed the top of the line and pulled it down to kill the highlights while not building up the contrast too much.

Watch the video of this tutorial

Other tutorials in this section

Photo Editing

Introduction page.

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Scaling your files.

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Balancing those pixels.

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Dealing with color casts.

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Processing RAW Files

An introduction to Adobe Camera RAW.

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Processing RAW Files using HSL

Advanced use of Adobe Camera RAW.

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Using the unsharp mask.

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Using the Quick Mask

Masking parts of your picture to edit certain areas.

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Adjustment Layer Masks

How to build accurate layer masks.

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Straightening Horizons

A must for landscape and building photographers.

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Replacing Boring Skies

Using layers in Photoshop.

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Using the Channel Mixer

How to make a better job of changing images from color to black & white.

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Using Curves on Adjustment Layers

Playing with contrast and tones to give a more dramatic effect.

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High Dynamic Range

How to shoot and process HDR pictures with Photomatix Pro software.

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