Viewing in the Document Window

When you create a mask using brushstrokes, it's easy to miss areas. The mask can look fine until you print an A3 and hold it up to the light! To avoid embarrassing calls from clients, you can scrutinize any mask at close quarters by viewing it in the document window. To do so, Alt-click (Windows), Opt-click (Mac OS) on the mask thumbnail. When it is displayed in the document window, you can magnify the preview and scroll to see whether you have missed any areas. Paint over the cracks in the window as you would normally and then Alt-click (Windows), Opt-click (Mac OS) the mask thumbnail again to preview the image.

One downside to viewing and working on a mask in the document window is that it does not show the underlying image. To overcome this impediment, you can view the alpha channel that contains the mask and work on it as if you were in Quick Mask mode. To do so, Alt+Shift-click (Windows), Opt+Shift-click (Mac OS) the mask thumbnail. Do whatever work needs to be done and then use the same shortcut to return to normal view.

TIP If the color overlay clashes with image content when you work on a mask's alpha channel or you want to view the overlay at a different opacity level than the default 50%, double-click the mask thumbnail and customize the color in the Layer Mask Display Options dialog box (Figure 8-5). Click the color box to specify a new color or enter a preferred value in the text box to specify a new opacity level.

Figure 8-5: You can specify an overlay color and opacity level in the Layer Mask Display Options dialog box.

NOTE Both the color overlay and the opacity settings affect how the mask is displayed and not the underlying layer content.

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