For those of us that have spent some time in Photoshop know how unhelpful the ‘marching ants’ selection preview is. It is hardly a good representation of the actual selected area. Now if you are selecting a definite area with hard edges, then what you see is what you get. But what if it isn’t? What if you wanted to create and edit a selection visually. Meaning what if you you could see everything the selection covers. Even the soft edges and transparent areas. This is where Quick Mask comes in. Quick Mask is a temporary color representation of your selection. Simply press the ‘Q’ key when using a selection tool. You can use paint brushes and gradients to create selections visually where the colored area can represent either the selected or unselected areas. These type of selections would be impossible with just regular selection tools. The mask itself is, by default, a reddish-orange color. However, by double clicking the Quick Mask icon at the bottom of the toolbar you can modify the mask color and opacity. When done modifying the mask, simply press the ‘Q’ key once more to return to the standard marching ants. Even though the marching ants have a definite edge, the softness of the selection is still maintained.



  1. Martin 18 November, 2008 at 04:51 Reply

    A nice additional tipp:
    If you want to change the size of – for example – a rectengular marquee just press “Q” and then “Command/Strg+T”. After that change the size and press “Enter” and “Q” again.

    This is – for me – much faster then going to Selection -> Transform Selection!

    Best regards

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