Q: Adjusting a layer mask, non-permanently (Photoshop CS)

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by Demolisher, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Demolisher

    Demolisher Guest

    Let's say you have a layer with a layer mask. The layer mask contains a
    gradient like image (white to black to white) causing partical visibility of
    some of the image data in the layer it masks. Now, say you want to tweak the
    gradient mask using a Levels adjustment layer. You create such a layer and
    put it above the masked layer in question. However, the adjustment layer
    applies to the image data and not the layer mask.

    - Is it possible to have the adjustment layer apply only to the layer mask
    and not the actual image data?
    - Is there a better/easier way to achieve the same effect? The effect being
    to use a level adjusment layer to tweak the mask applied to a layer
    containing image data. I've tried several things including layer clipping
    groups, but cannot achieve the same effect as a layer mask.


    Demolisher, Sep 7, 2004
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  2. Demolisher

    Odysseus Guest

    Not that I know of.
    What I usually do in a case like this is duplicate the mask as an extra
    channel before messing with it (whether with adjustments, noise/blurs,
    or retouching), so I can substitute a 'fresh' version from this backup
    as may be required. But there could well be a better way ...
    Odysseus, Sep 7, 2004
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  3. Demolisher

    bogus Guest

    Here is one thing you can try.

    Option click on the layer mask in the Layers palette. (Alt click
    with PC) This will turn all layers off and show only the layer
    mask in the image window for you to edit. You can apply filters,
    adjustments, etc to the mask. When you are done, click on the
    image icon in the layers palette to get back to reqular view.

    If you wanted to take this a step further, copy the image in the
    layer mask, go back to the regular view and paste. This will put
    a copy of the layer mask as a layer. You could put an adustment
    layer to this. When you get things to your liking, copy the layer
    only, Option (Alt) click on the layer mask icon in the layers
    palette, then paste. It's an extra step but it does what you want.

    bogus, Sep 7, 2004
  4. Demolisher

    Tacit Guest

    - Is it possible to have the adjustment layer apply only to the layer mask
    No. Adjustment layers work only on image data; you can not apply an adjustment
    layer to a mask. A layer mask is a special case of an alpha channel. You can
    not work in layers in any alpha channel or derivative thereof, including layer
    masks and spot channels.
    The best you can do is make a copy of the layer mask (as an ordinary alpha
    channel), so you can go back to it if you decide you don't like what you've
    Tacit, Sep 8, 2004
  5. Demolisher

    Fred Athearn Guest

    Of course this does not give you an adjustment *layer* you can click
    on to reopen and retweak. But you can get almost the same effect, at
    least for curves or levels. Just again alt click the mask and use
    alt-cont-M or alt-cont-L to reopen the most recent of those
    adjustments where you were before to make changes.
    Fred Athearn, Sep 9, 2004
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