Painting and Editing Inside Selections

Before we immerse ourselves in masking techniques, let's start with a warm-up topic: selection masking. When you were in grade school, you may have had a teacher who nagged you to color within the lines. (I didn't. My teachers were more concerned about preventing me from writing on the walls and coloring on the other kids, or so I'm told.) If so, your teacher would have loved this incredibly straightforward feature. In Photoshop, all selection outlines act as masks — hence the term selection masking. (And you thought this chapter was going to be hard.) Regardless of which tool you use to create the selection — marquee, lasso, magic wand, or pen — Photoshop permits you to paint or edit only the selected area. The paint can't enter the deselected (or protected) portions of the image, so you can't help but paint inside the lines. If you dread painting inside an image because you're afraid you'll screw it up, selection masking is the answer.

Figures 9-3 through 9-6 show the familiar skull image subject to some pretty free-and-easy use of the paint and edit tools. (You think I ought to lay off the heavy metal or what?) The following steps describe how I created these images using a selection mask.

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