digital imaging

Using Quick Mask Mode

The first part of today's work will be to use a Quick Mask to isolate the toy clown from its background.

1. Drag the picture above to your Desktop, then drag it onto the PS icon in your dock. (Do NOT drag any downloaded image directly into the Photoshop work space; always drag to the icon instead.) When the picture has opened in Photoshop, use the Quick Selection tool to select the clown. Here's the icon for the Quick Select tool:

2. Most of the times you use the Quick Selection tool there will be parts of the image you didn't want to select, or parts that still need to be added to the selection. Making your selection perfect is easy with the Quick Mask tool. With the clown still selected — the marching ants should be visible — click on the Quick Mask icon - it's directly beneath the Paint Chips in the Tool Bar and looks like this:

3. When in Quick Mask mode, anything you haven't selected shows up with a red tint, like this:

Notice in my example that the Quick Select tool missed some parts of the clown; those parts show up as red, too. (Remember, red means the area is NOT selected.) Toggle the Quick Mask icon to go from the red tint back to the marching ants; toggle it again to return to the red tint.

4. Select the Paint Brush tool and use it to decide what's in the selection and what isn't. If the Quick Mask mode is ON the Paint Chips will become black and white, just like when you're painting a mask. Paint with white to add to the selection; paint with black to subtract. The areas you're adding to the selection will lose their red tint as you paint. In the example image above the star at the clown's waist has a red tint; in other words, it's not selected. Paint it with white to bring it into the selection. The dark shadows at the top edge of the clown's arms should be painted OUT of the selection, along with the extra shadow at the bottom of his foot. Use black paint to do this.

5. When the selection is perfect, toggle the Quick Mask button to return to the marching ants. With the marching ants on, click the add-a-mask button at the bottom of the Layers window. It is circled in red in the image below:


6. At this point your new mask will make the background completely disappear. Make a new layer and move it beneath the clown layer (you will have to unlock the clown layer to do this: just click on the lock). Draw on this new layer to create a background. Or find a background image in Google, open it by dragging it to the PS icon, select all of it, copy it, paste it into the clown file, and then slide it beneath the clown layer. Extra credit if you can figure out how to give the clown a shadow!