Photoshop: Way to "Apply" a Clipping Mask as you "Apply" a Layer Mask?

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I am having an issue that no amount of Googling is helping me solve.

I have multiple users editing PSD files. Some of those users are using non-Adobe products. Clipping Masks are becoming an issue for those users (who are just recoloring layers to come up with new designs). I need users to be able to take a "basecolor" layer and a "shading" layer, draw all over it/change color/etc., and then send me the PSD again with everything nice and crisply confined to the "basecolor" layer's shape. Clipping masks are a great solution, but due to the non-Adobe products, I have to avoid them completely for the files I send to other users.

I would like to "apply" the Clipping Mask to each layer separately, so that each layer can still be edited on its own (similar to how you can "apply" a Layer Mask to a layer). Merge Clipping Mask does not work since I have layers with alpha associated with them and everything becomes flattened into the layer designated as the mask ("basecolor").

To overcome this, I thought I would make a channel out of the clipping mask layer (Turn "basecolor" black, hide all other layers, go to Channels tab, Duplicate "Red" Channel and Invert, end up with a new black channel with the white shape from "basecolor"). And then apply that channel as a Layer Mask to each affected layer. This appears to be an excellent solution, except that the Layer Mask does not behave identically to the Clipping Mask with a nice crisp, perfect edge matching "basecolor".

For example, This is a screenshot of a piece of my file using a Clipping Mask. Everything is crisp and exactly how I want it:


The Layer Mask, however, has a light colored line along the edge as if the Layer Mask is not the "full" basecolor layer (even though I turned the basecolor layer into Layer Mask):


I'm at wits end here and I have no idea how to solve this issue. I need to be able to process these PSDs quickly so manually editing each layer mask is out of the question.

Do you guys have any solutions or ideas? Thanks for the help!
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[ A ]

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Posted 4 years ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Is it possible to share the PSD file in the example above?
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[ A ]

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Hi Jeffrey,

Certainly can!

Here's the Clipping Mask example PSD:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzcb...

Here's the Layer Mask example PSD:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzcb...

Both were created from the same original PSD, and you can play around with either of the PSDs to create the same situation above on one PSD if you like. I figured it might be easier to show the two examples in separate PSDs, but I could combine them into one if you'd prefer.

I'm using the latest version of Photoshop CC, but this was also happening on CS6 before I upgraded. It is also happening with all PSD files where I was swapping between clipping masks and layer masks (so not limited to this particular PSD-- this is just an example that was fairly easy to show).
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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I think this will work. I'll take a look with some colleagues when I'm back in the office on Monday.
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[ A ]

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Thanks Jeffrey! Much appreciated.
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[ A ]

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Hi, I just wanted to check in and see if there had been any movement on this? Thanks!