PS-28 - Creating Multiple masks for a Single layer

13 September, 2014

Mask hides a portion of a layer and let you see through the background layer. You can apply only one mask per layer. But what if you want to apply multiple mask on the same layer?


01. I've created a simple rectangle with a background pattern design.

(fig 1.0)

02. You can apply two different mask to one layer, 'Layer mask' and 'Vector mask'. We will create a simple 'layer mask' by clicking the mask icon in the layers palette. And create a simple diamond gradient shape mask.

If you have a Normal layer, clicking the mask icon will add a 'Layer mask' and you can also add 'Vector mask'. But if you have a Shape layer you can only add 'Layer mask'.

(fig 1.1)

03. If you try to add another mask to the same mask layer, it will replace the old one. No, you cannot use the Shift key; holding shift will only constrain the mask angle.

(fig 2.0)

04. So if you want to add multiple mask and if you click the mask icon again in the layers palette will add a 'Vector mask' and not layer mask. You can see which mask you have added in the Properties palette.

You cannot create anymore mask to the current layer, notice the mask icon is disabled in the layers palette.

(fig 2.1)

05. But what you can do is, group the current layer and add mask to the group. This does not replace or hide the underneath layer mask. Both masks work separately

(fig 3.0)

06. Since the mask works on a group without obstructing any other mask, you can remove the existing mask from the layer and move it to the group. This will help you to add more layers to the current group and the masks remain in the same place.

Advantage for this is it will give you more flexible and have an individual control without worrying about the other mask and you can also move, scale or delete the mask without touching the other.

(fig 4.0)

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