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How to show red overlay for layer mask in Photoshop?

Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Hi all! I used to know the key command to show a layers mask as a see-through red mask. But I can't figure it out now. Did they change? Is it no longer an option? If there's still a way to do this, please let me know. I'm on a Mac. Thanks so much! 

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021
Right click on your layer mask thumbnail in the layers panel and see what your Mask Options are. The Defaults as shown are Color RGB 255, 0, 0 and Opacity 50%.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Hi,

 

You can enable/disable the overlay while masking by using the backslash (\) key.

 

Let us know if it helps!

Regards,

Nikunj

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Thanks, but that's not what I was looking for. I need to describe it better. Basically, I was able to toggle on a red overlay that showed exactly the edges of the mask. You could see through it to your original image, but you could also see the edges of the mask. I am not sure what it was called. 

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Here's a video showing how it used to work in CS6. I am pretty sure it worked in more recent versions... I swear I've used it within the last few years.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB9ME5YL8Xw

A brief tutorial on how to quickly reveal a layer mask while editing the mask.www.lodestone.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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That has not changed. The backslash key still does exactly what the video showed. If you don’t see edges because the entire window is red, that means the mask is solid. You will see edges if some part of the mask has been painted differently.

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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I'm not seeing any red at all? I can only hide the mask or show the mask but not the image. There is no red. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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What is the current color of the mask in the Layers panel?

If it is black, the \ overlay should contain all red (fully masked).

If it is white, the \ overlay should contain no red (fully unmasked).

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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I'm not understanding what you're asking? I'm attaching a screenshot. In the actual image, the mask is clear. In the layers thumbnails, the masked part is black and the visible part is white. Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 3.59.04 PM.jpg

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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You only have one single pixel layer, and the mask will hide the "black" part regardless. Showing the red mask overlay is pointless here, it will still be masked out and invisible.

 

For this to work as you expect, you need underlying layers showing the full image.

 

For simplicity in this case, just duplicate your layer and leave the bottom one unmasked. Then it will work.

 

The example in the video uses adjustment layers. Same principle: there's an underlying layer showing the full image.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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BTW it is possible to do this with only a single layer. But then you'll have to use Quick Mask mode (press Q). Exiting Quick Mask mode produces a selection, which you can then turn into a proper mask by clicking the mask icon.

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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The quickmask mode might do the trick for m. I know I didn't have to do this before, but it basically does what I want it to now... with that extra step of hittting the Q button. Thanks! 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Well, I have to say I don’t know what’s going on, because it works fine when I press the \ key as shown in this animation, using a file set up similar to yours in Photoshop 2020 (v22.1.1) in macOS 10.15.7:

 

Photoshop-layer-mask-overlay.gif

 

If it is a display bug, it could have to do with how the graphics processor is being used. You might experiment with going into Photoshop Preferences, Performance panel, and try toggling the Use Graphics Processor setting or click the Advanced Options button and try different combinations of settings there. But that’s just a guess.

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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That's exactly how it used to work. But the only thing that happens when I hit the back slach button is that the little eye next to the layer dims. Nothing else happens. I tried toggling the Use Grpahics Processor setting and that didn't do anything. I'm using OS 11.1. It may be something to do with that. I have to say I've not been happy with the Big Sur operating system. It's caused all sorts of issues for me. I will play around with the Advanced Options button settings to see what I can figure out. I'm using photoshop 22.1.1 as well, just FYI. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Right click on your layer mask thumbnail in the layers panel and see what your Mask Options are.

The Defaults as shown are Color RGB 255, 0, 0 and Opacity 50%.

 

mo.jpg

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New Here ,
Oct 25, 2021 Oct 25, 2021

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thank you so much sir. You've spotted the reason right away 🙂

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