Luma mask feature request

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After Effects has the ability to use layers as masks but even this feature has limitations. What would be useful in Photoshop is the ability to use layers and groups as masks for other layers in any order.

After adding a layer mask, there could be an option to right-click the layer mask and set it to be one of the other layers or groups. The luma composition of that layer or group would then be used as the mask. This allows a mask to easily use all of Photoshop's capabilities including vector drawings, videos, animations, filters, blending modes all together it can be easily shared by multiple layers and would be very intuitive to setup.

It would also make it easier for 3D software to create layered compositions as alpha channels can grouped and use Linear Dodge.
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Andrew R

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Posted 2 years ago

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Valerii Mamedov

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This feature is already there. Select a layer on top of the other layer you would like to use as a mask and press Ctrl+alt+G
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Andrew R

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Ctrl+alt+G is a clipping mask, which uses the alpha channels. It's also restricted to layers being on top of each other and hard to do grouped masks with vectors and bitmaps together. Luma masks use the RGB channels and would allow using videos as masks.
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Valerii Mamedov

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Ctrl+alt+G is a clipping mask, which uses the alpha channels.

That's right, and usually in combination of smart objects, gropup and blending mode, which allowa to duplicate and reuse certain objects whist keeping their contents you can make an alpha channel out of practically everything.
It's also restricted to layers being on top of each other and hard to do grouped masks with vectors and bitmaps together.
As i have mentioned you can clone the base mask layer which can be a combination of vectors, raster images and effects as many times as you want and keep it linked. Advanced blending mode in combination with a group, placed on top gives tha same effect

Luma masks use the RGB channels and would allow using videos as masks.

You can use a video as a mask, you can use a color range of the video as a mask. Always could.


Here is everything video, vector, raster, smart object using a a channel color range, mask, vector mask or their combination. Just use blending options and be creative :)

(Edited)
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Andrew R

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Alpha masking shown in this example isn't as flexible nor as fast to setup nor the same as luma masking. Using a color range isn't suitable when dealing with animation or gradients as it clamps values. The feature request can be considered an enhancement to clipping masks wherein they aren't restricted to alpha channels, aren't restricted by layer order and one masking group can be shared by multiple layers without duplicates.

You'd never need to spend time setting up smart objects and reordering layers. You just drop some mixed layers into a group, add a mask to a layer, right-click it, "mask using layer...", choose the group and it's done and use it for as many objects and those objects can be merged without affecting the mask. Fully animated masks with bitmaps, vectors, alpha masks much more efficiently.
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Valerii Mamedov

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I see no solid argumentation or evidence here. You give no comparison and most likely just don't know how to use given functionality. It's just your personal opinion not backed up with anything. I'm absolutely fine with the way and speed masking works in PS right now and find it lot more flexible than it's needed for Photoshop's main focus. If you want even more flexibility in working with videos you can feel free to use another great Adobe product created solely for this  -  After Effects.
Using a color range isn't suitable when dealing with animation or gradients as it clamps values.
Not even sure what you are trying to say here.
You'd never need to spend time setting up smart objects
Here we will probably finalize it with you. spending time for one click it's over the top even for me.

Bye.
(Edited)
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eartho

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Sounds more like a node based workflow and nothing like will ever happen in Ps, unfortunately.
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Andrew R

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Node workflows are really good for compositing but this feature would still be layer based, it's just independent of layer order, allowing shared masks and having luma masking gets round the limitations of transparency masking. It's a small addition but very useful. Instead of using an alpha channel, it would allow the use of another layer or group in the layers panel.

I suspect the reason they don't do this already is that the PSD format is an image format used by other software and they don't like to change it. They mentioned this before when I suggested adding compression to layers to shrink file sizes significantly (factor of 10 in some cases).

That's why they have a separate PSB format for certain things. If they updated the PSD spec to handle more features, other software would be updated to accommodate it and it can be made more future proof. Like XML has a generic set of rules that allows it to work with a whole lot of different data. A more generic image-oriented document format could work across different Adobe apps without needing special imports. Either that or they can have a Photoshop specific project format with more features (versioning, per layer saving etc) and have PSD as an export format for compatibility.