February 2021 // The Post-Production Edition

Tips & Tricks to Master Masks In Photoshop | Dave Cross


There can only be one mask per layer. (Technically, a layer can have two masks: a pixel mask and a vector mask. In this article, we’re only focusing on pixel-based masks.) So, what do you do if you want to apply a layer mask to a layer that already has a mask? There are two options: a Smart Object or a Layer Group. If you convert a layer with a mask into a Smart Object it will appear as though the mask has been applied, and then you can add a new mask to the Smart Object. If you need to edit the original mask, double-click on the Smart Object thumbnail to edit the original contents in a separate window. The other option is to use a Layer Group: with the layer and mask active press Command-G (PC: Control-G) to put that layer into a group. You can then add a mask to the group, which will affect the layer in the group. The result is the same as using a Smart Object, but it’s simpler to edit since you don’t have to open a separate document.

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