PHOTOSHOP - How about Smarter Layer Masks ?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Like most users, I use layer masks continually when working on projects. Although they're non destructive to the layer, editing changes I make whilst working on the mask are. I think it could be really useful to have some extended capabilities here building on the options in the Mask Properties Panel. For example:

The ability to create Adjustment Layers or Filter effects applied to a mask that can be adjusted at a later date. Something like Smart Filters that only affect Layer Masks.

Or the ability to have multiple greyscale images stored within the mask - something along the lines of 'Layer Mask Layers'. Provide some simple add, subtract or blend options and you could blend the component mask images as required.

In a simple example, if I want to gradually darken the sky in an image, I may select the sky and create an Adjustment Layer. To fade the darkening towards the horizon I may run the gradient tool over the mask, which writes over some of my previous selection information. Now I can't so easily change the gradient position or the horizon line at a later point. Given some of the above options, you could remove or change the gradient when needed or change it's position.


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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of christoph pfaffenbichler

christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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Maybe you should add your +1over at
Photo of eartho

eartho, Champion

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One way they could do this would be to make the Layer Mask a Smart Object... basically, you could double click that object and it would open a new window with all your adjustments... maybe even having a mask on your mask would be possible. Beyond that, the only other option i could imagine giving you this functionality, would be to create a node-based version of Photoshop... which will never happen unfortunately.


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I think you're reading my mind :.)

Providing a nested option within a layer mask would fit with standard smart object workflows, but still a step removed to see the final results. How about a' Mask Layers' Panel ?

Yep, some form of schematic ! Although most projects don't warrant that form of complex connectivity, I've always wanted to see that kind of functionality embedded in Ps so it's there when you need it.

Although it should be the title of another feature request post, imagine the options if you could node together layers, adjustments, smart objects, filters, styles ....

Come on Adobe, what do you say ?