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DavidMac

How can I apply a non destructive blur to a layer mask?

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Recently I wanted to apply some gaussian blur to a layer mask. I selected the mask layer and hit the fx button at the bottom of the dialogue. Sure enough up pops a little fx on the mask in the layers palette and the layer effects dialogue opens for me. But when I try to apply the blur nothing happens. AP presents the dialogue to me, accepts the settings on the slider .... but does nothing. Strangely it doesn't warn me that am I trying to do something that I shouldn't be doing. So am I missing something here? At present the only way I can find to apply a blur to a layer mask is to do so destructively from the main Filters menu.

Obviously Refine Mask would seem to be one option but it automatically analyses the selection and starts to do other stuff as well that I don't really want.

So is there a way I can apply a non destructive blur to a layer mask or is there a way I can stop Refine Mask from doing anything else except soft edging?

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For some reason filter does not take to mask direct. You can drag the mask separate from image layer and use the filter and it should work ok. Then drag mask back nested to image layer (if needed, it works also as separate layer).

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The layer fx approach as you described works only for Vector Masks so far.

To add a non destructive blur to a Raster Mask you may want to use Live Filters also.

 

Hope this helps!

:)


The white dog, making tools for artists, illustrators and doodlers

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For some reason filter does not take to mask direct. You can drag the mask separate from image layer and use the filter and it should work ok. Then drag mask back nested to image layer (if needed, it works also as separate layer).

 

Thanks for the very swift feedback. I have just made a simple one layer test image and tried what you suggest. Unless I have misunderstood you I can't get it to work at all. I have tried the fx layer blur on the mask as a child, as a clip and as an independent layer. I have also tried Alt selecting it to isolate it so I can see the result directly on the mask. None of them seems to work. 

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The layer fx approach as you described works only for Vector Masks so far.

To add a non destructive blur to a Raster Mask you may want to use Live Filters also.

 

Hope this helps!

:)

That was one of the first things I tried before I posted at all. The problem is that, unless I am mistaken, no matter where you drag a Live Filter, it applies itself to the image layer not the mask layer. 

 

It then occurred to me to try Fixx's suggestion of dragging the mask free to become an independent layer and then applying the Live filter directly to the mask. See layers palette attached. 

 

The result however is not to blur the mask but to blur the image below within the confines of the mask. If you alt click the mask to view it directly you can see the Layer effect is not applied to it at all.

 

So at the moment I am still completely stumped.

 

Aside from the problem of how to achieve what I want, what is also baffling me,  if I am not supposed to apply layer effects to a mask layer, is why doesn't AP warn me when I try to? Or simply do nothing at all? - which is often the case when you ask AP to do something it can't. Why does it obligingly open a dialogue for something it isn't going to do? Looks like a bit of tidying up might be needed here ......  ;)

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You should have layers like this:

 

Screenshot%202017-01-04%2013.14.33.gif?d

 

Thing is, you cannot set blur layer nested to mask layer unless you drag it separate first. After nesting you can drag it back within background layer. 

 

AP usually fails to inform if some action does not apply. Hope this will get smarter in the future.

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Thanks Fixx and Paulo I now have it working exactly as Fixx's screenshot.  :)

 

This is definitely my stupid day today.  :( 

 

Not only did I forget to attach the screen shots to my reply above (now attached) but I now also realise the problem I was having with the blur not being applied properly was the result of a complete silliness on my part.

 

The blur I was getting is shown in the screen shot attached. I couldn't understand why it appeared to be clipped. I thought things simply weren't working as you both said they should. I have now spotted that the Live Gaussian Blur had itself also become inadvertently masked. A dumb mistake on my part.

 

This is the result of translation from PS to AP.  When I create a layer from a selection in PS the selection is automatically removed as part of the process. In AP the selection stays in place (which for a number of reasons can be very useful) but it does mean that you have to develop the habit of remembering to remove it after a mask layer creation if it's no longer needed. Old habits die hard. After years of being used to the selection being automatically removed on mask layer creation I am constantly forgetting to do it myself and it gets inadvertently left in place. This was the case here. When I added the Live Filter it became masked as well because I had forgotten to remove the original selection I had just used to create the mask layer. Duh!   

 

It also occurs to me that the reason the Layer FX dialogue opens for a mask layer is that it is going to work, as you pointed out, on a vector mask. There are other instances of this 'only works for one type' in other dialogues too. Perhaps as AP gets more sophisticated they'll add warnings when you try to apply them to the wrong type.

So thanks again Fixx and Paulo .... problem definitely solved.

post-9119-0-89177300-1483529472_thumb.jpg

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Thing is, you cannot set blur layer nested to mask layer unless you drag it separate first. After nesting you can drag it back within background layer. 

 

Hi Fixx,

You should be able to do this without moving the mask to outside the image layer, however there's a bug preventing this from happening when the mask was added (nested) directly to the image layer from a selection. I will get this logged.

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