Photoshop: Always set brush blend mode to Normal when painting on a mask

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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Layer masking in PS is very intuitive, fast and useful. It's all about black & white and shades of gray.

However, what I find quite annoying is when I use brushes and gradients in other Modes than "Normal". Many times I need a quick fix in a mask, only to find that my gradient/brush is set to "Screen" or "Soft Light" and I need to use black. And vice versa. Of course, nothing happens. I need to set to "Normal" to have a full control over black&white before editing of the mask.

What I'd like is if PS would automatically switch to "Normal" whenever we click on the layer mask and then return the previous Mode when "exit" the mask. It's very simple yet very effective solution.

Is that possible to do? Thanks.
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ivan.planinar

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Posted 1 year ago

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9 Stitches Images

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Please no. And that's coming from someone who routinely annoys himself in the exact same way.

Painting in soft light mode is very handy for fine-tuning soft mask edges. Although to be honest, I use the Dodge and Burn tools 90% of the time for that, but still, I wouldn't want blend modes removed from the Brush tool. 

I keep an eye on the toolbar, or sometimes when starting a new task I just hit Shift+Alt+N without even looking. So if it was already in Normal mode, no harm done, but otherwise, I saved myself an undo. 

What we really need is for PS to just know what we're trying to do, but I think that's still a ways off yet. 
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ivan.planinar

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I didn't suggest removal of the Modes anywhere, but defaulting the "Normal" one for layer masks. From there you can choose whatever Mode you want, if you want.
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eartho

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maybe that would fix it for you, but it'd be breaking it for everyone else who prefers brush modes not change.
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ivan.planinar

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Break what? What mode do you use to 'draw' the mask? Examples please.

If you use "Screen" you can't use blacks at all. If you use "soft light / overlay" - editing is very strange and not that effective. Lighten? Whites only. Darken? Blacks only.

At least a toggle in the settings would do. There's no faster and precise way to do the layer masks than Normal mode, as you can use every possible gradient from black to white.
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eartho

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If you find that your brushes are always set to a blend mode which you don't want, then maybe create a few tool presets which are used for various tasks... 
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Cristen Gillespie

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Excellent idea. People always forget about Tool Presets. Took me a few years to adapt to them, too. I have a boatload of them now, and some are set aside just to be utility tool presets. It does help.

I understand the frustration of forgetting to switch back to Normal in the Brush blending mode, but I agree that I wouldn't welcome having my chosen mode change because I clicked on a mask. Blend modes help with painting difficult masks.