P: Clipping mask to a Layer group?

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Participant ,
Apr 08, 2011 Apr 08, 2011

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Just one of those things that i've always thought could come in REALLY handy. I have no idea how the actuality of this function would work due to all the possible complexities of the contents within a layer group... but wow, i often think i'd love to clip some adjustment layers to a Layer Group. I am aware of the Pass through to Normal feature but it doesn't really cut it.

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Adobe Employee , Apr 12, 2012 Apr 12, 2012
You can now apply a clipping mask to a group in Photoshop CS6 Beta:

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Participant ,
Apr 10, 2011 Apr 10, 2011

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You can add a clipping mask (either bitmap or vector) to a group. Is that what you're after? Or am I missing something?

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Contributor ,
Apr 10, 2011 Apr 10, 2011

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He is referring to how you can set a layer to only effect the layer below it by alt-clicking between the layers.

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Participant ,
Apr 10, 2011 Apr 10, 2011

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Yes David. Thanks for clearing that up. It is labeled as 'Create Clipping Mask' under the layers menu.

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Participant ,
Apr 11, 2011 Apr 11, 2011

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I'm still lost on what's being asked.

It's possible to group an adjustment layer to the layer below (using "Create Clipping Mask"), so I'm guessing something else is being asked?

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Participant ,
Apr 11, 2011 Apr 11, 2011

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Try creating a clipping mask to an entire group of layers. you can't do it. Yes, you can do it to one layer below, and add more clipping layers as necessary. But if the layers are in a set/folder/group, it would be amazing to clip an adj layer to the entire folder. I do LOTS of heavy compositing in photoshop. I work on the app about 8 hours a day, 5+ days a week. I've often wished for this feature.

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Participant ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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Joshua and David: I'm still not sure what you're after. Here's a screenshot of Photoshop CS5 with a bitmap and vector mask on a group. This isn't what you want?


Image is not available

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Participant ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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No Marc... are you aware of what clipping masks are?
They are layers that are 'clipped' to a layer beneath it. The layers that are 'clipped' only reveal their contents based on the visible contents of the layer they are clipped to.
I often complicate the matter by masking both the bottom layer and adding masks to the layers that are clipped to it.
It would be great to have a set/group/folder, and be able to clip to only the visible contents of the folder.
It is probably too complex for programming sake... but again, every day or so i run into a situation where i say 'i wish that clipping to a group was possible' ...

This is a screen shot of what a 'clipped' adjustment layer looks like.

Image is not available

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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What you are showing, Marc are Layer Masks and Vector Masks.
Clipping masks are useful (for instance) to apply an image/texture on a text layer: set your text layer, place a layer with an image/texture on top then alt+Click between them. (Now, I'm sure you know about that feature, you just made a request regarding them...)
http://help.adobe.com/en_US/photoshop...

Joshua: in the meantime, convert your group to a smart object, and you'll be able to clip it.

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Participant ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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Yeah, I use that all the time, too. I'm still not exactly sure what Joshua is after and why it can't be done using a combination of clipping masks, masks and/or groups (folders). Maybe I won't be able to help, but if there's a specific scenario, maybe there's a good way to do things already.

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Participant ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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I often complicate the matter by masking both the bottom layer and adding masks to the layers that are clipped to it.


Yep, I do that too.

It would be great to have a set/group/folder, and be able to clip to only the visible contents of the folder.


This is where you lose me. Why can't you have a group (folder) and use a clipping mask inside the folder? What are you trying to achieve that can't be done with a combination of groups (folders), clipping masks and masks?

I think I get what you're after now—having layers clipped to a group (folder), but I can't think of a case where the result couldn't be obtained using other methods. Also, it might create UI confusion if a layer was indented above a folder?

It seems like this is what you want:

Image is not available



Which could be done now like this (and probably other, better ways?):

Image is not available

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Participant ,
Apr 12, 2011 Apr 12, 2011

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OK.. check this out. I have a group for each component of this image. one for the background, one for the car, and another for the light streaks. The car is made up of SEVERAL layers that are masked and clipped.
It would be great if i could clip the layer titled 'Curve 6' to the entire group called 'Car'.
This way, whatever is visible in that group will be lightened leaving the rest of the image untouched.


Image is not available

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Participant ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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Fair enough. I don't know how that could be handled UI-wise though. I still think it's pretty easy to mask the group (folder) and then you can place whatever adjustment layers inside the folder you'd like. That does suck if you move elements around and you have to remake the mask from the various parts. Still, gets the job done.

How would the layers palette look with a clipped group (folder)?

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Engaged ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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I'm with ya.

I'd similarly like to be able to clip a folder to a layer (folder above layer).

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Participant ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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I'd like to clip a folder to a layer, and a layer to a folder.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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And why would changing the mode of the group to normal not be sufficient in this case? (I'm like Marc, trying to understand) And... Very nice composition!

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Participant ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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I don't mean to be rude but i am using some advanced functions that most people don't understand or realize exist in Photoshop. To explain would be way too long and off topic.

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Participant ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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I'm not sure that's a fair comment Joshua... there's probably quite a few people here who have been using Photoshop for quite some time and are aware of the advanced functions you're talking about.

PECourtejoie raises a good point. Why wouldn't Normal blending mode cut it in this situation?

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Participant ,
Apr 13, 2011 Apr 13, 2011

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Like i said, I didn't mean to be rude... But there is a difference between Normal and Pass Through. But that is off topic. if you are curious, look it up. I want to stay on the topic at hand which is clipping to a layer set and not write out a photoshop lesson on a layer set's blending modes.

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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I think it's very on-topic. Normal lets you apply adjustment layers to a group and only have it affect the group and not what's underneath. Isn't that exactly what you're after?

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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What if i want to clip a layer that isn't an adjustment layer? a layer of pixel data instead?

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Add a mask to the group (folder)?

(I definitely like advanced compositing abilities, but can't think of a use case where what you're after could do something you can't already do.)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marc. I didn't know how to answer without sounding arrogant or rude either 😉

Joshua, I think that the multiple "shortcomings" for Layer groups (no way to apply styles; no way to CTRL+Click them to create a mask of their pixel opacity [one of my pet peeves] ; or getting a thumbnail that shows the content of the group, since the arrow and bolding of the title are telltale enough for me; no way to Clip layers to them) have a reason...
I doubt that these requests have never been submitted before, and that there is a genuine reason why those features have never been implemented. That said, all of those "shortcomings" or missing features can be fulfilled by converting the layer group to a smart object. (If I may jest the following in good spirit: if that's advanced enough for you 😉 )

For me, smart objecting becomes more and more common than grouping, with the added advantages that I outlined earlier.
I know it is difficult to change years of habits, but if you just consider SOs as Super Groups, you will have a hard time to come back.
(And yes, I know that they are not always perfect)

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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I don't mind using smart objects at all. Sometimes they make my file sizes unbearable though. I have to work on outdoor print resolutions so things get big. quick. Also, i have to share my files with people of all different skill levels and sometimes a SO REALLY confuses them.

Additionally, there is a SO bug that i have been working with an Adobe engineer on which keeps my SO usage low. When a mask is added to a SO, and multiple transform tool procedures have been performed, eventually the coordinates of the transform box become zeroed out to the top left corner of the image even though the SO is elsewhere on my document. It is VERY frustrating once it happens because once it happens, it stays like that. I can launch the image into CS4 and transform the SO as expected but it remains 'broken' in CS5.... again... getting off topic...
Marc, it is hard to explain all my different scenarios of working. Yes, i add masks to my folders, yes, i change the blending modes to 'normal'... but i can say that this is one of those things on my personal wish list. The next time i come across an example in my workflow (which might take a few weeks), i will post it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Yes, I get you, Joshua, hence my remark that SOs are not perfect...

It would indeed be useful sometimes to have more layer-like functionalities for Groups (especially the CTRL+Click to get the selection, without having to use Option+Cmd+E to create a temporary copy), especially if one works with people that don't know how to deal with SOs. But I think that the way forward is SOs, therefore, I'm glad that you are trying to tackle down some of their bugs!

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LEGEND ,
Apr 20, 2011 Apr 20, 2011

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Marc, although it is possible to do what Joshua wants in a different way, it would be easier if he could add clipping masks to a folder.

With your solution, if you alter the shape inside, then you have to alter the mask too - that's why clipping masks are so much better (which I'm sure you know)

In addition, I'd also like to see the ability to make a folder into a clipping mask.

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