Useful Mask Tools

Knowing some simple shortcuts and tools to use Photoshop and to do different things with your masks will make your life much easier!

There are hundreds of different shortcuts and tools, but these are the ones I use most often. Often, if there’s something you want to do be able to do in Photoshop and it seems like something you logically should be able to do, there’s probably a shortcut or a way to do it! If you don’t find the tool or shortcut in this course, be sure to also check google. 

Disable Layer Mask

Sometimes we need to turn the mask off temporarily, without deleting it. To do this, hold shift and click the layer mask thumbnail to disable it.

To enable it again, just click the thumbnail once.

Copy Layer Mask

This will be most one of the most useful tools you have! I use this very often, though I often make changes to the mask once it’s copied. Hold option or alt on your keyboard, then click and drag the layer mask thumbnail onto the layer where you want to use that mask.

Edit / Refine Mask

If you want to just work on the mask, or refine the mask you’ve made, double click the layer mask thumbnail.

Unlink Layer from Mask

Sometimes, you’ve created a perfect mask where you want it to be… but the layer you’re masking in doesn’t fit, or you want to use a different bit of bokeh, or you need to move the image layer just slightly so it fits better. You don’t need to move the mask, just the image itself.. OR… you want to move just the mask, but not the image! 

We need to unlink the layer from the mask so we can move them independently. Although we don’t need to do this very often, it can definitely be handy to know how to do it!