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Smart Object as Layer Mask?

Explorer ,
Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

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Can I use a smart object as a layer mask for another layer?

I'd like to be able to edit a layer's mask as a smart object.

Thanks,

Tom

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

No, you can't use a smart object as layer mask.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

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What you're looking for is a clipping mask. That's done by placing your Smart Object layer under the one you want to mask.

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Explorer ,
Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

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Hi WILDCAT54. Thanks.

Clipping masks are actually not what I'm looking for. Similar, but not quite the same.

Thanks again, though!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

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No, you can't use a smart object as layer mask.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2017 Dec 12, 2017

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The work-arounds include Clipping Masks (as already mentioned) and Knock-Outs in Groups.

Can you provide a screenshot including Layers Panel of a »typical« case in which you would want to use Smart Layer Masks?

Also feel free to add your vote and comments to existing Feature Requests (there may be more, but best stick to ones that already have some votes) …

Photoshop: How can I use a smart object as a mask? | Photoshop Family Customer Community

How to use a smart object as a layer mask? | Photoshop Family Customer Community

Photoshop: Smart filters and live adjustments for mask layers | Photoshop Family Customer Community 

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Explorer ,
Dec 27, 2017 Dec 27, 2017

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Thanks c.pfaffenbichler. I had checked out some of those links explaining knock out groups (eg http://sklad.bereza.cz/00-jarda/00_screenshot/2016-01-07_185347.jpg) but was getting some parts of the image coming through that should've been masked. Appreciate the tip!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 27, 2017 Dec 27, 2017

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but was getting some parts of the image coming through that should've been masked.

Then the SO may not have been fully opaque at those places; can you provide a file for testing or post screenshots to illustrate?

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Mentor ,
Dec 13, 2017 Dec 13, 2017

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PhotoLine is the only layer-based image editor that is able to use smart objects (called "placeholders" in PL) as layer masks. PL's layer stack is much more forgiving and flexible - supporting an unlimited number of any kind of layer and layer group as layer masks, even with live layer referenced clones. I wish Photoshop's aging layer stack would decouple layer masks from its layers. Clipping masks are an awkward work-around.

Node-based compositors such as Fusion, Nuke, Natron, etc. obviously bypass such layer limitations entirely.

Adobe will hopefully address this at some point. But it would mean re-writing the legacy layer code, and changing the layer mask implementation quite drastically.

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Explorer ,
Aug 09, 2021 Aug 09, 2021

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how about vector masking? these can be easily edited. As a mask is able to be edited an unlimited amount, why the need for a smart object? create a "Quick mask" and save it in the channels by renaming it if you want a mask you can go back to if you mess up. 

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