by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (4)


June 21, 2016

Discover how the new Select and Mask taskspace in Photoshop CC makes creating selections and masks easier, more exact, and more efficient than ever before.

Below is additional information for working in the Select and Mask taskspace.

Tool and Properties Shortcuts

• For the Quick Select (W), Lasso (L), and Brush (B) tools, Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) toggles Add To Selection to Subtract From Selection.

• For the Quick Select (W), Lasso (L), and Brush (B) tools, Shift toggles Subtract from Selection to Add to Selection.

• With the Lasso Tool selected, Option + Shift (Mac) | Alt + Shift (Win) toggles both Add To and Subtract From options to Intersect with Selection.

• For the  Refine Edge Brush  (R), Option (Mac) | Alt (Win) toggles Expands Detection Area to Restore Original Selection.

•In Select and Mask, painting with the Brush tool adds to or subtracts from the mask (it will not paint on the image).

• Control + Option -drag (Mac) | Alt + right click -drag (Win) left/right to decrease/increase brush diameter.

Control + Option -drag (Mac) | Alt + right click -drag (Win) up/down to increase/decrease the hardness/softness of the brush.

• Shift-click to paint a straight line between the first and subsequent clicks.

• All of the View modes have their own shortcut (listed next to the name of the view). Plus, “F” cycles through the views while “X” temporarily toggles off all views.


• If you create a selection in Photoshop, choose Select and Mask and then modify the selection, clicking “Clear Selection” removes all masking while clicking the Reset Workspace icon (to the left of the Cancel button) resets the selection to the state when Select and Mask option was chosen.

• The first time you double-click on a Layer Mask in the Layers panel, Photoshop displays a dialog asking what you would like double clicking on a Layer Mask to do. You can choose between View Properties (in the Properties panel) or Enter Select and Mask. This behavior can be changed later in Preferences >Tools > Double Click Layer Mask Launches Mask and Select Workspace.

• Select and Mask supports Birds Eye View for faster navigation within an image. When zoomed into an image, press and hold “H” (the image zooms out to fit in the window). Drag the zoom rectangle over the desired location and release the mouse. Release the “H” key – the image zooms to the chosen area and the selected tool remains unchanged. (Note: Birds Eye View requires GPU support.)

Additional advantages of the Select and Mask Taskspace:

• Select and Mask should be faster than the previous Refine Edge option because Select and Mask takes advantage of GPU.

• You no longer have to jump in and out of a modal state to refine the initial selection (using the Lasso, Quick Select, or Brush tools).

• You don’t have to start with a selection, you can choose Select and Mask first and begin the selection process there.

• After choosing Select > Focus Mask, you can choose to go directly to Select and Mask.

• Select and Mask supports multiple undo, is actionable, and works with touch interface.


  • By Joakim Eklöf - 5:18 AM on June 22, 2016  

    Hey. How do i use refine mask on adjustment layers? seems to be impossible now with the update?

  • By Lucille van Ommering - 8:06 PM on June 25, 2016  

    Again, I am finding that the screen freezes after a few strokes, and the brush is not very responsive to the edges.

  • By Josh Bobb - 3:34 PM on June 29, 2016  

    No more refining masks on groups or adjustment layer masks? Ummm………? Why? This is a tool I use daily, if not hourly. I’m wondering why this functionality was removed.

  • By Steve Ehrlich - 5:18 PM on July 1, 2016  

    When I use the “refine edge” brush in this tool, it totally foo-bars my selection. It is acting more like a color select than an edge tool.

    So far I have tried about 4 images, and in each one, the result is awful. I start with a Quick Selection, go into the Select and Mask space and try to use the refine edge brush. I paint along the edge and with randomness, my selection is totally messed up. Areas that were in the middle of the selection just go to half selected, and areas outside the initial selection are also half selected. The result is just a random, useless selection.

    I want the old refine edge back!!!