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Photoshop Layer Mask keyboard shortcuts

One of most important features in Photoshop is Layer Mask which is one of Photoshop’s building blogs, so it is worth to know some keyboard shortcuts which can speed Your workflow.

To add Layer Mask click on Add layer mask icon. This will add mask filled with white (reveals all). To add Layer mask filled with black color (hides all) hold down Alt key while pressing Add layer mask icon.

add_layer_mask_filled_with_black
Add layer mask in Photoshop

To invert Layer Mask press Ctrl + I (changes fill from white to black and vice – versa).


When is active Layer Mask have border around it at Layers palette. To toggle between Layer and Layer Mask press Ctrl + \  to activate Layer Mask, or Ctrl + 2 to activate Layer.

To see overlay, press \ while mask is active, paint on it then press \ again to hide overlay.

show_overlay
Show mask overlay in Photoshop

To hide Layer Mask (to see layer without Layer Mask) hold down Shift key and click on Layer Mask thumbnail. Click again while holding Shift key to show Layer Mask.

show_hide_layer_mask
Show/hide layer mask

To see Layer Maskitself, hold down Alt key and click on Layer Mask thumbnail. Repeat step to go back to normal view.

show_mask_itself
Show mask on canvas in Photoshop

To move Layer Mask to different layer, click on it and drag above that layer. Confirm by clicking on Yes in dialog box which will appear.

replace_layer_mask
Move layer mask to different layer in Photoshop

To copy Layer Mask to different layer, hold down Alt key, click and drag onto another layer up or down. Again confirm on Yes button.

To add Layer Mask to group (to apply Layer Mask to every layer in group), select group then click on Add Layer Mask.

To refine mask in dialog with the same name, select mask on Layers palette then pres Alt + Ctrl + R.

refine_mask
Open refine edge in Photoshop


To paste on Layer Mask first show mask itself by clicking on it while holding down Alt key then paste content.

 To delete Layer Mask select it then click on trash icon at bottom of Layers palette. Confirm by pressing Delete button in dialog box which will appear. To delete Layer Mask without confirmation dialog, select mask then press and hold down Alt key while clicking on trash icon.

delete_layer_mask
Delete layer mask in Photoshop

Reference:
Photoshop Help / Masking layers
Photoshop / Default keyboard shortcuts

Further reading:
Do Not Fear the Layer Mask: Tips for Using One of Photoshop's Most Powerful Tools by Matt Kloskowski

Bibliography:
Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Feature (2nd Edition)
Photoshop Compositing Secrets: Unlocking the Key to Perfect Selections and Amazing Photoshop Effects for Totally Realistic Composites

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5


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