Quickmask Quirk - selection not visible

  • 2
  • Problem
  • Updated 2 years ago
Fast Description: Quickmask Mode selection goes catatonic. It's there, but it's not.

I honestly can't tell if this is a bug or just a very strange design decision.
Afterall, Quickmask Mode (QMM) is a very old feature. Possibly coded by Knoll himself, praise his name!


First of all, just FYI, my QM settings:

(to bring up this pop-up just double-click the QM button in bottom of Toolbar)

To cause the issue:
While in QMM with a selection active, delete a layer - it appears that QMM is exited (like when you press "Q") but there appears to be no selection while there actually is one active.
You must do one of a few things to make the seemingly non-existent selection visible again.
And it gets worse.

Here's your step-by-step:


Start new doc, add two normal empty layers, make a selection.


Press Q to enter QMM.
Notice currently selected layer in Layers Panel is highlighted red, to indicate QMM is active.


Delete Layer 1.
Red layer name highlight gone, no selection visible.
By all appearances, we're no longer in QMM and there is no current selection.


Use Brush Tool in Layer 2.
Notice you can paint wherever you want; you're not constricted to inside our previous QMM selection.
Are we in QMM still? Is our selection actually gone?


Press Q.
Ah, there's the selection. And the History Panel says we exited QMM by pressing Q just now. So QMM was still active, yet no red layer name highlight in Layers Panel - a confusing inconsistency.


Since we can no longer trust our eyes - test the selection. Is it real? Paint in it with Brush Tool.
Yep, seems legit. Everything appears normal now.
So, that's it? Not quite . . .

Here's where it gets worse.

-Go back to
Step 3 where you deleted the layer while in QMM-


Make selection with a Marquee Tool and paint in it. I've changed by foreground color to orange here.
Notice using the Brush Tool isn't creating QMM red colored pixels meaning we're painting a selection, despite technically still being in QMM. In other words - even though QMM is active we are able to paint normal Brush Tool pixels that aren't contributing to modifying a selection. This shouldn't be possible.


Press Q.
So, how about that?
According to the History Panel, we've just exited QMM.
And our selection was simultaneously replaced by our previous selection, made before entering QMM.
Also, the brushing we just did didn't affect the selection active now, despite doing the brushing while in QMM.

I've been an avid user since 5.0 and I find this disorienting, so I can only imagine less knowledgeable users' confusion.

I highly recommend patching QMM to be more consistent and transparent:
  1. If QMM is active there should always be a visual indicator telling the user they're in QMM no matter what. The red highlighted layer name alone isn't sufficient because you can deselect all layers while in QMM, then you're left with no visual indicator at all. So, something unobtrusive like a small floating box with "QUICKMASK" text in it floating at the top middle of the current document window, or give the Toolbar's Quickmask toggler button a new button state, or color the filename text in top left of document window/tab a different color (though the current doc's filename may or may not be visible per which screen mode you're in [use Screen Mode button at bottom of Toolbar, or press F, to cycle through screen modes]).
  2. If QMM is active, all brushing/drawing/etc should create QMM colored (red, in my case) pixels and be contributing to modifying the resultant selection.

By the way, if I'm not mistaken, this has been QMM's questionable behavior since at least version 5.0, but it's surely in need of improvement.

If anything is unclear, please let me know.
Photo of mathias


  • 195 Posts
  • 40 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 2

Be the first to post a reply!