Misc. Resources

Specified Mini-Lesson

GIMP#22 Quick Mask: Fun, easy ways to use Quick Mask (Gimp 2.8)

The purpose of this demo is to introduce the Quick Mask tool in Gimp 2.8, and show a couple of easy ways to use it.

Gimp 2.8 has regular layer masks which are very useful, and which I use all the time, but it has an almost hidden feature called the Quick Mask which beginners often miss. This is a form of layer mask that shows a light red overlay anywhere in the image that is not selected. If you select a rectangular area and click on the Quick Mask in the lower left corner, everything outside the selected rectangle will be filled with the semi-transparent red layer. You can then paint it away or in with white and black, just as with a layer mask, but the painted out parts (unselected) are covered in the semi-transparent red.

In this demo, I show how to use the paint in/paint out feature, but also show how it is different than the ordinary layer mask because the end result is a selection rather than a transparency, and you can use the selection any way you like.

The Quick Mask tool icon is well hidden. It is in the lower left corner, not with the other tools. It is no surprise that many people who use Gimp don't even know it is there.

Quick Mask icon

Rough transcript (and text of closed captions):

This is Ben Langhinrichs with a mini-lesson called Quick Mask in which I show two easy ways to use the Quick Mask in Gimp 2.8.

The way that Quick Mask works is a little like a layer mask, except easier. Select something. In this case, I'm going to select around the doorway. Then you click on the Quick Mask icon, which is fairly hidden so I'm going to show you where that is.

I got a selection, and when I click on it, right down in that lower left corner it turns everything that is not selected red, but you can still see through it. It's like a layer mask in that you can go in and you can paint in and out features using black and white just like a layer mask except that you can actually see the features behind it, so it's a little bit easier.

It's a very quick way of forming a selection. Anything that's not red will be selected. So I'm going to take a little bit away from the selection right now by painting in black, which shows as red.

When I'm finished with this, I click the Quick Mask again, and I have a selection but one advantage that you have over a regular layer mask is now you can just use that selection. I'm actually going to invert the selection because I want everything outside the doorway.

I can do anything I want with that (selection), I don't have to just show through something below. I'm going to turn it into a cartoon look like this, just so you can see that I've done something to the rest of the picture. Then I've got my image. That's how easy it is to use Quick Mask to take a certain selection and do things to it.

Another trick is to use Quick Mask for a kind of a vignette or border around something. I'm going to take this image and make an oval around her (Behati Prinsloo). Then I'm going to click on the Quick Mask again, and you'll see the selection right around her.

But now I'm going to actually play with the selection, or with the red by putting some waves in there and the waves will be on just the red part.

You can see them a little bit, and when I click the Quick Mask again and now that selection is inside. I'm going to invert it again. And now I'm going to put white out there where the selection is and what you'll see is we're going to get a nice border area. I'll remove the selection so you can see it. It just makes for a very nice border around her.

Anyway, these are a couple of quick ways you can use Quick Mask. Please join us again for more mini-lessons at Mini-Lessons.info.

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