Photoshop Quick Mask Weirdness
October 1, 2019 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Suddenly, Quick Mask in Photoshop is doing strange things and I don't know why. Can please hope me?

First item: This Photoshop in CS5/Mac. Sorry.

I do a lot of image manipulation, and I use Quick-Mask a lot. My normal routine is:
• Select a hard-edged brush, click Quick Mask button
• Use brush to mark area I want to copy
• Exit quick mask, select Inverse (because for some reason Photoshop initially selects everything outside the area you marked)
• Copy/Paste. No problems. (Yes, it's a lot of hand work, but it keeps the process fun.)

Today, though, I am getting this:
• Select a hard-edged brush, click Quick Mask button. As soon as I select Quick Mask, all of the color selection the main tool palette, in the Color palette, and in the Type palette change to gray. If I click the dropdown in the Color palette, only the Grayscale slider is available. This is new behavior.

• Use brush to mark area I want to copy... You know how when you brush over an area to mask, it's a nice bright transparent red? Now, the red is very pale and very transparent.

• Exit quick mask... All the color selection boxes return to color.

• Select Inverse then Copy/Paste. The selection I copy/pasted is roughly 50% transparent, not solid. I have no idea why. Interestingly, if I don't select Inverse and then copy/paste, the pasted selection is solid, not transparent.

I'm tearing my hair out trying to figure out what double-secret function I might have accidentally enabled. Brush opacity and flow are at 100%. Mode is set to Normal. Layer Transparency is set to 100%. I get the same results using Pencil instead of Brush. If I use, for instance, the Lasso tool to select an area and copy/paste, it looks fine. Not transparent.

The color selection panels going gray when I enter QuickMask is a real puzzler. Well, the whole thing is a puzzler, of course.

Any ideas or tricks or solutions will be greatly appreciated.

posted by Thorzdad to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Are you in a different color mode than usual?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 4:09 PM on October 1, 2019

Yeah, my first thought was color mode as well. Also, did this change for all documents?
posted by General Malaise at 4:11 PM on October 1, 2019

Response by poster: No, no change to color mode that I can see. Always RGB. Yes, this affects new files as well as existing files.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:19 PM on October 1, 2019

Are you on the right layer? This has happened to me before when I've accidentally gone to quick mask from a blending layer or something like that.
posted by ananci at 4:32 PM on October 1, 2019

Response by poster: Are you on the right layer?

This is also happening when there is only the base image layer to be working on.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:50 PM on October 1, 2019

This has happened to me before but I can't remember why. While I try to remember, this might help a little:
You can change the way Quickmask works, whether the area you paint is selected, or deselected. Double click on the quickmask button and you'll get a little menu that allows you to change whether "color indicates masked or selected areas".
Won't solve your present problem, but will eliminate the "invert selection" step from your process in future.
posted by Zumbador at 9:23 PM on October 1, 2019

Sounds like your brush is transparent. Try hitting 0 to switch to 100% opacity.
posted by kindall at 10:50 PM on October 1, 2019

Best answer: OK so sorry, after waking up a bit more.
I use CS6 so it might be a bit different.
Colour selection always goes grey when you enter quickmask mode. This is because with quickmask, you are not really painting with colour, you are selecting or deselecting at different transparencies depending on how dark or how light the colour is you are painting with. You might just not have noticed this happening before?
Quickmask makes it possible to select partially. If you paint with pale grey, the are you painted over will be only partially selected. Copy and paste that selected area into a new document with a white background, you will see it comes out really pale. The area is only partially selected, even though you painted over all of it. Does that make sense?
The darker you paint, the more thoroughly the area is selected.
Because you can only work with black, white or shades of grey in quickmask mode, painting with black at a very translucent setting, (which produces pale grey) is the same as painting with pale grey. Make sense?
This is confusing, because there are two transparencies at play here. 1) the transparency setting of the tool you are using. 2) the transparency setting of Quickmask mode itself.
About 1) If you paint with black at 100% opacity, then the area you paint should be 100% affected.
About 2) you can adjust the transparency of that red area Quickmask produces by (as I mentioned in my previous comment) double clicking the quickmask icon. By default, it is at 50%. This will not affect how thoroughly the tool selects, but only how the selection (red) area displays. This is to make it possible to see through the quickmasked area to the image you are working on.
In other words, if you change the quickmask options setting to 10%, then even when you paint with your brush to a 100% opacity setting, it will look very transparent, but that won't make a difference to how much is selected.
posted by Zumbador at 11:11 PM on October 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, Zumbador! Adjusting the gray in the color selection panel to 100% black seems to have cured the issue. For the life of me, for as many years as I've been using the QM tool, I never noticed the color selector turning to gray/black. Weird.

Also, thanks for turning me onto the adjustment in the QM button itself. Never ran across that adjustment, either. Cool!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:53 AM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Excellent! So glad that helped. Always something new to learn about Photoshop :)
posted by Zumbador at 8:38 AM on October 2, 2019

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