Refine and Retain Selections with Masks and Channels

Masks are selections that you can use to isolate a portion of an image for the purpose of editing that portion, or alternatively, for protecting it from a specific edit. Masks are typically saved, either temporarily (as with a QuickMask) or more permanently (as an Alpha Channel). You can also edit and reload masks.

Get a Good View with QuickMasks

A QuickMask is a colored mask that shows you the true extent of the selected area.

Here is the dirty secret — the normal (or marching-ants) selection that you see on-screen may not show you your entire selection. The truth is that if you have a gradational (that is, anti-aliased, feathered, or blurred) edge on your selection, the normal selection shows you only those pixels that are at least 50% selected.

A QuickMask view of that selection doesn't stop there; it shows you the entire selection, including the semitransparent edge. Being able to view the entire selection — especially the crucial edge area — is a critical capability when you're attempting to create precise, high-quality selections, masks, and edits. Open an image, make a selection, and follow these steps:

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