Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quick masks

A note came in asking about making a mask from a selection. The reader had heard that there was an easy way, but forgot how. Here's the answer.

In the old days, you would use the Magic Wand tool to make the selection. Then simply Click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers panel.

Is there a new way? You bet.

CS4 has a bunch of new features, but this is one of my favourites. I do a lot of composition work and making masks quickly has always been a challenge. Until now, that is ...

Now, just make the selection and go to the Masks panel. Then select the Pixel Mask icon. Photoshop CS4 does all the work for you. You've even got a ton of controls for refining the mask that were never there before. How cool is that!


Kit Grose said...

Uh; for as long as I remember (back to PS5.5 or so), you can simply make the selection and click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the layers palette (with the appropriate layer selected). Option+clicking the Add Layer Mask button inverts the mask *for* you.

You mention Vector Masks, though, which don't work this way (since they need paths), but don't appear to work the way you describe either.

Am I missing something?

Jim Hoerricks said...

Fair enough. Here's the steps as you described them.

1. Click the Layers panel.

2. If there is more than one layer, click the layer that will contain the mask.

3. Click the Add Layer Mask button.

4. Click on the mask thumbnail and modify the mask.


1. Make a selection

2. click on the Add Layer Mask button / Opt. + Click on the Add Layer Mask button.

The rest ... sound like I need to clarify it a bit. I'd be happy to in a future post. Thanks for the input.