[Tool Tips] A cool photoshop clipping mask short cut I want to share.

I dont know what category this goes in – but I would call it intermediate to advanced.

Scenario: Lets say you have a certain image on layer 2 – and now you want to create a adjustment layer over top of that in order to give that image (on layer 2) a certain effect.  That is all good but one problem may arise – You may want that adjustment layer to effect only layer two BUT in reality it ends up effecting any layer which is beneath it also – which is a problem.

Solution A: 1. select the layer which is the “adjustment layer”
2. go to the “layer” menu at the top and select “create clipping mask”.  voila! its done.

Now the fun short cut: instead of solution A you do the following:
place your mouse (cursor) in between the adjustment layer and the image you want to be adjusted -your cursor should be exactly on the line between the two layers in the layers panel. than hold down on ALT (at this time you should notice that your cursor symbol has changed from a hand to a weird circley thing) and while alt is being pressed – click down once.

boom. your done.
in order to reverse the effect (to undo it) you can do the same steps.

I am using photoshop cs2 – if anyone doesnt see the same occurrences it is possibly because you are using a previous version.

that’s all for today. I hope you can all learn new things from this.


  1. Doesn’t Ctrl(or Cmd) + G (when the adjustment layer is selected) accomplish the same thing? I use all of these but tend towards this one because it is fastest for me. YMMV

  2. or, when you create the new adjust layer, hold down the option key, when the dialog box pops up check the box marked “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”. Now it is clipped to the layer below it from the start.

    Tip #2
    Create a layer set with a property of normal (pass through) does not work.
    Place multiple layers with pixel data on them in this group.

    Now, any adjustments you do will only affect the pixel layers held within that group.

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