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Can you edit layer masks like a normal layer?

Guest Kevin Ar18

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On 7/13/2016 at 6:15 PM, anon1 said:

you can use Levels and Curves, just make sure to select "Alpha" instead of "Master" channel in the adjustment 

OMG, thanks!


- I will be lovely to see grayscale mask when I make adjustements, TBH.

- and to see adjustements layer effects on this mask, when I alt click it.

- adjustement mask should remember that I use it on alpha.

this workflow isn't self explaining and clear.



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  • 3 months later...

I'm not using Photo at daily basis (I use Designer mostly). It is the second time  I'm here, because doing this is so unintuitive. Thanks Anon1 and Werner fort posts about it and info. Sometimes you really need to filter/adjust mask, and not masking filter/adjustments. And TBH "alpha" isn't what I'm adjusting here - I'm adjusting "alpha mask". Please, it is a step back from Photoshop CS, at least. In every other way I'm very pleased with the software.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 months later...


I'm trying to figure out how to adjust the opacity / intensity of a mask.

This thread seems to be about that, but the answers seem obscure and I can't reproduce them. Someone mentioned adding a Curves adjustment layer to the mask, but I'm unable to figure out how. "Drag the Curves layer above the mask?" I tried what I thought this alluded to, but cannot make Curves modify only the mask. 

My mask it nested under the adjustment layer it affects. All I need is for the mask to be less black and white, and more gray and white, so that it hides less of the layer. Is this possible? I don't need to re-paint the mask in gray. I need the black and white mask that I already painted, to become a gray and white mask. 


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  • 5 months later...
4 hours ago, AdamRatai said:

This time I will start to follow this topic...

You can use a normal layer as a mask, and do with it everything you can do with a normal layer.

1. Select the layer that should be the mask
2. Change its curve in Blend Ranges
3. Change its blend mode to Erase 



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13 hours ago, AdamRatai said:

Thank you. I find it a bit more straight forward, still have bit of doubt that I will remember this. 

The power of this method is that you can edit the mask like a normal layer without any restrictions. 

You can also use a group as a mask! Everything you put in this group automatically becomes a mask, and you can mix them together in Multiply mode, for example.

This way a mask can be a composite of multiple layers of any type (raster, vector, color, grayscale). This gives full creative freedom. 

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