Photoshop Quick Tips #1 - Quick Mask Mode

We've been posting tutorials showing a bit of our creative process turning ideas into reality, either in Adobe Photoshop or other tools. These tutorials sometimes are quite long or we show lots of techniques that beginners can find quite difficult. Because of that we will start posting some dirty quick tips that we use all the time.

In this first article we will show you how to use the Quick Mask in photoshop, and how it can be really useful saving us a lot of time. This is aimed to those that are starting with Photoshop, also if you have a nice dirty little tip to share with us, send us an email and let's help the design community.

Step 1

Open Photoshop and place an image in your document. I used a screenshot of a website.

Photoshop tips - Quick Mask Mode

Step 2

Select the Gradient Tool (G). Use Black and White for the colors and select the Reflected Gradient type.

Photoshop tips - Quick Mask Mode

Step 3

Now click on the Quick Mask Mode icon, or just press Q. Then with the Gradient Tool (G) paint a gradient in the area you want highlight. The Quick Mask uses a red color to show the area you are masking. After that just press again on the Quick Mask icon or Q. You will get some marquee selections.

Photoshop tips - Quick Mask Mode

Step 4

Now go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 2 pixels for the Radius. Tip: Remember, what was black won't be affected while what was white will, then in the quick mask, what is red won't be affected.

Photoshop tips - Quick Mask Mode


Quick Mask is very useful and as I said before, it saves a lot of time. You can create simple mask or apply filter to specific areas very quickly. It's up to you now.

Photoshop tips - Quick Mask Mode

Video Tutorials

Quick Mask in Photoshop from fabio sasso on Vimeo.

Quick Mask in Photoshop #2 from fabio sasso on Vimeo.

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I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.

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