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How to select using Quick Mask in Gimp

Knowing how to select parts of your Gimp documents with the help of Quick Mask might be one of the first things you should learn when starting with Gimp. Let me introduce you to the basics of Quick Mask.

  Author: mat | Version: 2.8.0 | 15th March 2013 |  

Open a random picture in Gimp. You can use a portrait photo of a person so it will be a bit easier to follow my instructions.

I will use this photo of the actress Mila Kunis and the goal is to select the face with the help of Quick Mask.


To enable the Quick Mask mode, click the Toggle Quick Mask button (see picture).


Your document should now turn red.

Consider the red filter as a mask that covering the face, to make the selection we need to uncover the mask where the face is located.


Choose the Paintbrush Tool and press D and then X to set the white foreground color.


Set a semi soft brush (depending how soft you want your edges to be) choose and appropriate size for the selection you are about to make.


Now simply start painting over the area you want to select. Mila Kunis' face in my case.

As you paint the masked document with the white brush you will uncover the mask. Every part of the document you uncover will be added to the selection.


If you mistakenly uncover more of the image than you attend to, press X key to set the black color and simply paint over the unmasked area.


Notice the black brush color covering the mask back again as you paint over.

Again, try to remember and you'll be set - white color uncovers the mask, black color covers the mask back.


Let's add a little twist to our selection. Let's say we don't want the eyes as a part of our selection. What do we do?

It's simple, set the black foreground color and click to paint over the eyes to mask them back.


And the other eye as well.


Now click the Toggle Quick Mask (or press Shift + Q for a keyboard shortcut)...


... and the parts you were unmasking with your white paintbrush are now part of your selection.

You can now do with your selection anything you want. You can for instance press Ctrl + C to copy the selection ...


... in the menu click Create and choose From Clipboard.

My Mila Kunis mask looking eyeless face is now automatically pasted into a new document.

Hope you now understand the basic principal of the Quick Mask in Gimp, if not drop me a comment bellow.

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