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Converting mask to pixel layer

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I'm currently puzzling over the simplest way to convert a mask to a pixel layer (and whether this can be made into a macro).

Currently I'm at:

  1. Release mask if it is attached to any layer, or drag to top level of layers
  2. Invert mask
  3. Put black pixel layer below mask
  4. Select mask layer
  5. Merge down
  6. Put white pixel layer below this layer
  7. Select merged layer above white layer
  8. Merge down

Any improvements?

The attached macro does steps 2 to 8, but I can't find a way to include the release into a macro. Still, it seems usable -- you just need to do step 1 by hand. You may also need to ensure nothing is selected.

Dave's Mask to Pixel Layer.afmacro

Dave Straker

Cameras: Sony A7R2, RX100V

Computers: Win10: Chillblast i9 Custom + Philips 40in 4K & Benq 23in; Surface Pro 4 i5; iPad Pro 11"

Favourite word: Aha. For me and for others.

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  • 9 months later...

Hi @nikolai.ylirotu


You have the channels hidden and no layer selected. Select a layer first.

Make the channels visible by clicking on the rounded arrow (circled).

Right click on a channel.


If you want to do it from a mask, obviously you need to create one first.

Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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To add slightly to what @toltec said, only pixel layers have accessible channels, so if for example you select an "(Image)" layer, you will not get the second set of channels. If the pixel layer has been named, instead of "Pixel Red" & so on, in the channels list "Pixel" will be replaced by that name. Often, this will be "Background," but that has no special significance -- it is reference to the layer name, not its position in the layer stack.

All 3 1.10.6, & all 3 V21.1 Mac apps; 2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 32GB RAM; macOS 10.15.7
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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 years later...
  • 3 months later...

Edit: just realized the OP was needing a fully opaque pixel layer. The following converts the mask to a pixel layer that maintains transparency, which is what I was wanting. 

A method for Designer users finding this thread (but works in Photo, too):

Underneath the mask layer  create a pixel layer*. Use flood fill tool (bucket) to fill the pixel layer with white—or any color you want. Select the mask layer and merge down.


*a fill layer doesn’t work

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