The Masks Palette

dekePod Episode 008: ‘Tis the season for dark and terrible creatures. Mindless teenage slashers, horrors that come alive when you dream, insane devil dolls. Photoshop CS4 has just such a dark creature living inside it: the Masks palette. It pretends to be small, unassuming, even helpful. Until you try to actually use it. That’s when it slices at you and chants its taunting catchphrase, “No mask selected!” But there are ways to make the Masks palette submit to your imaging will. Secret ways, peaceful ways. And Deke is privy to them. Here’s the official marketing description:

Photoshop CS4 has been out one week. Hardly enough time for any of us to embrace it, let alone place our faith in it. And yet faith is precisely what one of the program’s most highly touted features, the Masks palette, requires of you. Everything about it is promising; little about it makes sense. The palette that makes masks also wears one. In this special Halloween episode, we unmask the Masks palette. Will it be a bag of treats? Or a bundle of tricks? You’ll find out, at dekePod.

Watch for a cameo appearance by a real black cat that really crosses my path — and on a ladder no less! Not to mention scary images of spiders and blood and very high energy prices! If you’re interested in downloading this special holiday video, try one of these links:

  • For a high-quality QuickTime movie, right-click here and choose Save Target or Download Link or the equivalent.
  • For an M4V file that you can play on an iPod, right-click here and choose one of those same commands.
  • Or you can subscribe to dekePod via RSS or iTunes.

You can also check out the page at my book publisher O’Reilly Media.

As usual, keep an eye out for a special dekeStuff article documenting the entire technique from beginning to end. Or create a free 7-day trial account at and watch the 9th movie down, “The Masks panel,” part of my hit video series Photoshop CS4 New Features.

And don’t forget to avail yourself of every last one of our tricks and treats here at dekePod, recently voted the Sincerest Pumpkin Patch of 2008.

Next entry:Deke’s Photoshop CS4 One-on-One is REAL (Proof courtesy of jeff70’s dad)

Previous entry:Girl Reporter off to PhotoPlus Expo

  • This page requires AC_RunActiveContent

    Every time I load a page on this site I get “This page requires AC_RunActiveContent”. FIX IT! It’s killin’ me.

  • Ahh Masked Mystery

    Does deke go this fast on his videos?

  • Did you guys see that?

    cool Deke… the moment you mention “Halloween”...

    The next second a black cat was walking down on the stair behind you (00:45~)


  • Thanks!

    Haven’t had time to look at the new podcast yet, but it’s for CS4 and I don’t need to be wantin’ anything new right now!

    But! But thanks for the help with - and of course with Photoshop via

    I was unable to save up the full premium annual fee in the end - too many ‘something elses’ popping up. But I signed on with a monthly account the other day in frustration, and I’m devouring the info and currently having loadsa fun with the clone source pallet and the healing brush. :-D

    The other thing I love, Deke, is that you go right into the why’s and how’s of the engine - all that cool sciency stuff to compliment the art. Alchemy. I dig it.

    You are too cool. Thanks for what you do. :-)

  • O Masked mystery

    No ebby, deke doesn’t go that fast on his videos on or the ones that come with his books. Just here….


  • That’s a new one

    Looks like this could be a server-side issue. I’ll add it to our list.

    Just curious: What OS? Browser?

  • CS4 is out???

    I thunk it’s not ‘till the 30th. Damn that Wikipedia, it’s as reliable as a meat screwdriver. Someone better go and edit that page, it still says TBA.


    Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive?

  • CS4

    Hi Deke

          at 71 I’am new to internet I already have one of your books and video have to look after the Deke household.I have installed cs4 and look forward to your book.

  • I’m glad you like the alchemy

    B/c ultimately, transformative alchemy is what I do.

    Seriously, please pay me in lead (Pb). And I will convert it to gold (Au).

    (Given that you’re in New Zealand, Petra, I wish there was some Nz chemical. But i can’t find it.)

  • Sulphur

    I live in a caldera called Rotorua, right at the edge of Hell’s Gate. As soon as Adobe releases it’s scratch’n'sniff version, I’ll get you to show me how to convert stinky sulphur dioxide into fine, fine Baccarat perfume. I have that much faith in your sorcerous abilities. :-D

    The other thing I like about - for those who are still making their minds up about registering - is that I can jump around the topics more. I have your DVD’s for CS2 via Total Training - and they’re great - but I can’t flip about as easily between DVDs like I can with Lynda (unless I buy ALL the DVDs, that is).

    This way, I’ve been able to work through the elementary stuff as a refresher - picking up things pertinent to CS3 along the way (such as the clone source for the healing brush between two images) - and then move onto the DVD that goes into much greater depth on that one particular area of PS. In my case, at the moment, from the One on One series to Channels and Masks.

    I love this way of learning. I even have my happy learning voice on! :-D

    I cannot recommend enough, and I cannot recommend you as a knowledgeable, fun and interesting educator enough.

    ...I also think you should pay me to be a sales rep for you. LOL. :-D

  • Please fix it

    Windows XP SP3, any browser. Tried it on: Firefox 3, Safari, IE 7, Google Chrome.

    The only way to turn it off is to turn off JavaScript, and then when I want to play a podcast ... on again ... it’s a pain.

  • We’ll look into it

    I’m not able to replicate it on any of my systems, which makes it a bit more difficult to track. So be patient with us.

    Might be another bug related to the intro video.

  • Awesome!

    House Deke on the arid spice planet One-on-One thanks you.

  • The cat’s name

    Is Sharkey.

    And yes, it was entirely random. By which I mean, the cat planned it. This is an animal with an agenda.

  • Yeah, that Wikipedia entry

    Is lame.

    btw, flytw, did you get your video? From long long ago?

    B/c they supposedly went out. I’m hoping you and the folks from England, The Netherlands, and Turkey got ‘em. (And the guy from Loveland, CO, which is an hour or so from my house.)

  • Obviously I should

    Pay you, that is. I officially assign you as Sales Mgr for Oceania.

    Not to mention Middle Earth.

    (I know, I’m sorry. But NZ will forever be The Land of the Hobbits.)

  • I’m half way between Hobbiton and Mt. Doom.

    Two very good markets and I know just how to win them over. :-D

    Deke, I’ve had a marathon weekend watching the Masks and Channels DVDs (I’m about half way through the advanced one right now).

    I figured that I’d use my own photos for the exercises, and so I’d watch everything right through and then return to the beginning with appropriate photos to study more closely. My head is exploding! Srsly. For the last year, my days have been filed wrestling with my headstrong teenage daughter and trying to care for an elderly family friend with Alzheimer’s. (I was too darned soft to place her in a home, so she now lives with me). Anyway, upshot is that I don’t get much creative or cerebral stimulation at the moment, and so I’m VERY glad I bit the bullet, because this is really challenging. And it’s totally super-charging me. I knew I was getting lazy with my images and had plateaued in my learning - but that’s turned right around and I’m feeling a new excitement for ‘seeing’ again.

    If I were a religious person, I’d say I was having a religious experience. lol.

    Right. Back to Chapter 11. Rock on! :-D

  • Wow, this is great news

    First, that you got “soft” with a family friend with Alzheimer’s. At the rate I’m going, I could be your next patient. And besides, do headstrong teenage daughters really need our love? They’re off on their own adventure anyway.

    Chapter 11. Cool. You’re really in the midst of things.

    (You see, I’m working my way through my Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One book. Which is to say, I’m intimately aware.)

  • tip

    A little tip: Firebug outputs “Illegal character: GIF89a�” And in the script tab I see: “GIF89a��€��ÿÿÿ���!ù����,�������D�;”

  • vice and adventure

    “do headstrong teenage daughters really need our love? They’re off on their own adventure anyway.”

    That’s what I’m afraid of! ...or maybe just a wee bit envious. Ambrose Bierce defined age as “that period of life in which we compound for the vices that we still cherish by reviling those that we no longer have the enterprise to commit”. So damn those vices I can no longer commit! *shakes fist at universe*

    Good luck with the CS4 book - I’m sure it will be stellar. Maybe after Xmas, I’ll be able to upgrade. We’ll see how the dollar makes out between now and then. :)

    Oh, and the knockout thing - How freakin’ cool is that toy?! I’m so in awe of the people that write this stuff. Pure genius.

    ETA: You wrote the channel mixer? Well, f*@k me! As we say in the antipodes. You clever bugga!

  • This is great

    I won a online training membership from my job for and I started taking your Photoshop CS3 training. I absolutely love it! Not only are you very funny and entertaining but the lessons are dead on with subject matter and broken down into small movies. I can stop in the middle of a chapter and pick it back up later without feeling lost or forgotten what I watched. This works great since I’m watching those movies while taking short breaks at work (shh… don’t tell my boss).

    I have one question: What do you use for screen capture? We are looking into doing some user training at my job for new employees and I really like the quality and output of your movies.


  • Happy Halloween


    Nice job on the Halloween dekePod. While masks are scary, how about a dekePod on the curves adjustment. The thing is really scary, all those points and the line always gets out of control. I can’t figure it out.

    Now I need to find a picture to put the big Deke face on. Like I didn’t have enough to do this weekend with work and Halloween.

    Have a great weekend.


  • I use Camtasia

    From TechSmith.

    Only works on the PC (which is why I film most of my movies on the PC). It’s really great. Quick render times, great controls. Pause and record without having to stop the video and splice it with a new one.

    But don’t necessarily expect Deke + results. I have a trained chimpanzee whose exclusive responsibility is to slap me upside the head when I make a mistake. And then there’s LDC’s staff of 10,000 highly paid Elite Squadron editors, all of whom belong to a secret order, work in dimly lit underground corridors, and have names like Jackknife, Lockjaw, and Dr. Damnation. Even my chimpanzee fears them.

  • PS CS4 Quick Selection Tool


    I have been following your CS3 Channels and Masks series on LdotC and using CS4 to follow along. When I got to the milk carton and tried to select the letters the quick select tool did not work as in CS3 and the tool options were different. Would not select just the letters no matter what I did with the options. Have you experienced this? Is this normal? Have the Sun and the Moon changed places? (Sorry - that one just snuck in!)

    Also curious - will you be updating the LdotC courses to CS4? These are probably not real comments but just a sneaky way to get your attention.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing what you do.

    Mark Beers

    Wanting to Learn

  • Book

    Still not available in this United Kingdom maybe its in China or a more civilised place?????

  • Yes, I’m updating LDC videos for CS4

    Hey Mark,

    Photoshop CS4 One-on-One will begin releasing this month (November). It comprises 170 movies in all, probably about 15 hours of stuff. And that’s just the first of three parts.

    Part One of my Illustrator CS4 One-on-One video is better than halfway done.

    Others will come just as soon as I can get to them! (!) !

    Re: the quick selection tool, it hasn’t changed. I deselect the milk carton characters using the magic wand tool, which shares the same slot as the quick selection tool but is ultimately unique.

    With the exception of the new Masks palette (which is covered here as well as in a slower, more digestible exercise in my Photoshop CS4 New Features series) and a new option in the Color Range dialog box, I believe my Channels and Masks series is accurate as is.

    Hope that helps!

  • Darn your Little Britain!

    Colleen, don’t we have a Person Friday in the Mother Country Of Our Tongue to help Patrick? (?)


    If it’s any consolation, Patrick, I don’t have a copy of the damn thing either. Which kinda figures. Ya work, ya slave. Ya gets yas book out day-and-date. And yas publisher takes a poop on the skills yas pretending ya have.

    Are you crying yet? Me too.

  • No doubt

    Meg. Gotta choose Meg. No doubt at all.

    Nothing beats a Dekepod to the morning cup of coffee, up here in cold Norway.

    To bad I can only have this coffemug (cups are for chickens) every second week or so. Bimonthly if you like.

    I usually do not urge the feeling to make comments that has been made by others before, but I do not have time to read all the comments you get so;

    I like this new, kinda angry, Deke. Nice. Attitude is good.

    Cocaine and such are expensive drugs.

    Dekepod’s not.

    So thank you


  • Yup

    I got it, as well as the books. Thank you very much.

    Or as we in Canada would say: “Thank you very much”... uh, I guess it’s more of an accent thing.

    -iVan (Flyboy)

  • premium member

    Deke, How do I become a Premium Member???

    I know I will have to give you my money but there are no links to direct me to your bank account.

    Please Advise Master.

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