Photoshop: Please bring back vector masks for fill layers

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Automatically turning a fill layer with a vector mask into a shape layer may seem like a good idea to the coders - cleaner, more polished - but it's a PitA for people who actually use the program. It's a one way trip; there's no way to rasterize a vector mask attached to a fill layer the way you naturally could in previous versions. Yeah, you can rasterize the whole layer, but I don't want to rasterize the layer. I want to rasterize the mask. 

The nearest I can get now is to put fill layers into a group, and put a vector mask on that. Then I can rasterize it later if I decide to. That's neither cleaner nor more polished. And if I forget to plan ahead like that, I'm screwed. There's not even a way to copy Gradient Fill parameters to a new layer, for example. Start over. 

I never* complain about missing features. It's when you remove the ones I was using that makes cartoon steam come out of my ears.

*almost never
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9 Stitches Images

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Posted 1 week ago

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eartho

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>there's no way to rasterize a vector mask attached to a fill layer...

You can turn the shape-path into a selection and add the mask that way. And yeah, annoying as hell that you can't choose to make the vector a non-shape layer mask.
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9 Stitches Images

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But that doesn't work either, not really. You're just adding an extra mask, you're not replacing the vector mask; it's still there. If you try to delete the vector mask, you delete the whole layer. 

I guess you could turn the shape into a selection, add it as a layer mask, then turn the shape into a giant rectangle that extends beyond the bounds of the canvas; then only the raster mask would affect the layer. How very simple and elegant.

Thank you for replying though.
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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You're just adding an extra mask, you're not replacing the vector mask; it's still there. If you try to delete the vector mask, you delete the whole layer. 
To remove the vector mask cmd-drag it onto the trashbin-icon in the Layers Panel. 

The process (selection from Vector Mask, apply Layer Mask, delete Vector Mask) can be recorded into an Action. 
Possible problems: Existing Layer Mask, Feather settings for the Vector Mask, ... 
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9 Stitches Images

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You can't record something into an action if Photoshop can't do it.

You can not rasterize or delete a vector mask from a fill layer. Try it if you don't believe me.
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9 Stitches Images

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To remove the vector mask cmd-drag it onto the trashbin-icon in the Layers Panel. 

Thank you; I missed that when I first read your reply on my phone's email. My next thought was I won't remember that the next time it comes up, but I think I've gnashed my teeth enough that it'll stick. 
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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If the task is a frequent one for you I am confident the process could be automated with a Script. 

There's not even a way to copy Gradient Fill parameters to a new layer, for example. Start over. 
What do you mean by this?  
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9 Stitches Images

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It's's not that the task is frequent and tedious. It's rare, but impossible. On a pixel layer or adjustment layer, you can rasterize a vector mask. Previous versions of Photoshop let you rasterize vector masks on fill layers as well. More recent versions do not. Choose any fill layer while a path is selected and it creates a shape layer. Add a vector mask to a fill layer and it turns into a shape layer. You can't rasterize the vector mask, nor can you add a layer mask and delete the vector mask. it's a different kind of layer and there's no way around it.

I'm sure it's theoretically possible to write a script that copies the parameters from one gradient fill layer to a new one but that's not really the crux of the problem, and hardly worth the effort for how seldom it comes up. 

Functionality has been removed from Photoshop. I don't like it. You can't automate something that Photoshop can't do.
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never mind ;)
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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I'm sure it's theoretically possible to write a script that copies the parameters from one gradient fill layer to a new one but that's not really the crux of the problem
The Gradient itself (the Color Stops and Opacity Stops) can be saved and applied fairly easily, so what do you mean by »parameters« here? 
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Bruce Jamieson

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Christoph, thank you for this: "To remove the vector mask cmd-drag it onto the trashbin-icon in the Layers Panel. " You have saved me from future headaches. However, if Photoshop would cease the behavior of creating shape layers, like it did back in CS5 and before, I would be much happier! Having linked paths on layers represented in two different ways is somewhat confusing.

9 Stitches, I know what you mean about if a path on a gradient (or whatever shape layer) is deleted, the whole layer is deleted, even if it had a mask attached. Again, if Photoshop got rid of the shape-layer behavior, life would again make sense and we would all surely prosper.
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9 Stitches Images

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Yes peace would return to Happy Valley.

Thank you for replying; I'd missed Christoph's real answer until you pointed it out because of the way the notification email crunches together comment and reply into one block of text.