photoshop: paste a layer into a mask


It has not been the most productive day (so far at least). Still, I learned one thing I want to post about. Few times I wanted to do that and had no idea how to.

Paste a layer(A) into a layer(B) mask. In 4 easy steps:

1. select the layer A and copy it to clipboard (Cmd/Ctrl+a, Cmd/Ctrl+c)

2. go to the layer B, make it active and click the Layer Mask

3. go to your Channels Panel, there is your mask in the bottom, set it active and visible, paste the clipboard content (Cmd/Ctrl+v) 

4. make the mask channel invisible again and the RGB channel (top) active

And it’s done!

I played a bit with halftones today (Filter > Pixelate). I followed the Photoshop Guys’ and applied it in grayscale (all 4 channels parameters equal). I’m not too happy with what I got, but a post needs an image.halftones

18 Responses to “photoshop: paste a layer into a mask”

  1. Frozen

    Apr 20th, 2009

    How do you create those scrolly vector illustrations? Can u make a tutorial for it? Also I wanted to know if you know anything about creating glitter style on PS.


  2. photoshop image masking

    Apr 22nd, 2009

    Great stuff! Thanks.

  3. Hobosic

    Apr 24th, 2009

    Hi, Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your
    Thank you

  4. coqui52

    May 15th, 2009

    Thank you man, It was driving me nuts to not know how to do it!

  5. Rémi

    May 24th, 2009

    Same as coqui52, it was driving me insane. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Evadora

    Oct 30th, 2009

    Wow, thanks a million for making this tutorial. You just made my day.

  7. clipping mask

    Nov 20th, 2009

    nice piece of artwork!

  8. image masking

    Nov 26th, 2009

    Good artwork!!!

  9. loufrank63

    Jan 27th, 2010

    Outstanding, worked all morning trying to this out,,, again,,, well done and thanks

  10. j9

    Apr 8th, 2010

    Thanks for the step-by-step.

  11. Chris

    Aug 9th, 2010

    THANK YOU!!! Spent the last hour trying to figure out how to do this.

  12. techjacker

    Oct 7th, 2010

    thank you, I’d been hunting everywhere for this!

  13. kristi

    Dec 2nd, 2010

    Thank you so much for this tip!

  14. Brook

    Dec 29th, 2010

    I can’t believe it took me this long to just look this up! So easy! Thanks for the tip.

  15. Smooth Pixel

    Jan 12th, 2011

    There’s an even easier way to do this:

    2. go to layer B and Option/Alt click the Layer Mask. This makes the mask into an editable greyscale layer.

    3. paste the clipboard content (Cmd/Ctrl+v) into the mask layer.

    4. simply click on layer B to exit the mask and you’re done!

  16. Adamantus

    Apr 6th, 2011

    It’s not done! Nothing happened. But I’m a bit unsure about the copy bit, I can copy a selection but copy a layer? Do I just do ctrl+c? When I click the channel on I can see my image already but when I paste nothing happens.

  17. Burak Y.

    Apr 25th, 2011

    Thank you so much, it was so helpful!!!

  18. jdm

    Feb 28th, 2013

    thx i looking that tehniq for a while :)