We present the basic concept of a fast mask optimization method that utilizes target-intensity back propagation. This method decomposes the target-intensity using a two-dimensional (2-D) transmission cross coefficient. After applying normal incidence approximation to the decomposed target intensity, the spectrum of the mask is optimized in the pupil plane. Since the optimization is performed in the pupil plane, one can use relatively small sampling points, leading to a fast optimization. By setting a high-contrast target intensity, we can obtain an approximation of a phase shifting mask, whereas a low-contrast target intensity approximates a binary intensity mask or attenuated phase shifting mask.