New Window for.. Command in Adobe Photoshop

Where is New Window for.. command and when to use it
This is one of commands in menus you may not know about but it can be very useful. What is doing this command? As its name says: creating new window for active document. Command is located in Window menu and I will explain you how to use it in example when creating masks. As you know no mask is perfect and more or less every mask need some kind of manual correction. One way to adjust mask is to show it on screen (Alt + click on layer mask) and paint using Brush in combination with blending modes. Let’s go on my real world example.
Preview layer mask changes

Real world example how to use New Window for.. command in Photoshop

In this example I will use photo which need sky replacement (download PSD skies from here). I placed image with sky through File > Place on layer below in advance.

 First task is to select sky and create layer mask.
Create layer mask

As always mask need some minor correction on edges and some of parts that are missing (masked) in this example. To do that I want to show mask itself on screen and to paint on it using Brush tool. Alt + click on mask will do that job for me but with one problem: I can not see changes! All I can see are changes on mask, to see how changes affects my composition I must Alt + click all the time to go back and fort from normal to mask view. New Window for.. can solve this problem (Window > New Window for..).
New Window for current document

If you are working with tabbed windows (Edit > Preferences > Interface > Open Documents as Tabs – only for  CS4/5/6), undock newly created window (ensure tab with new window is active first) from Window > Float in Window.
Float in Window

With new window active Alt + click on layer mask in LAYERS palette, this will change to mask view only  in active window. Move new window on screen where is most appropriate so you can see clear part of composition for which you want to correct mask. Now you can use any of two windows to navigate to and enlarge problematic part. To match zoom level and location for both windows go to Window > Arrange > Match All.
Layer mask view

Grab Brush tool (or any other like Lasso, Polygonal Lasso) and start working on mask with instant preview of changes. When you are done just close second window.
Preview on screen layer mask changes

There is no changes in new Photoshop CS6 version when this tip is concerned, so you can use this tip to fine tune layer mask with Adobe Photoshop CS6 following instructions in this tutorial.

Photoshop / Viewing images

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended


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