Layer Folders

A Layer Folder (aka 'Layer Set') can actually hold two masks: a normal layer mask and a vector mask,giving you potential access to four different masks.

A bit of detail about masking to help you get the most out of vector layers and masks

Photoshop has more masks than you might realise. There is an additional mask in each layer (besides the background layer, which is always 100% opaque) that you don't usually see. This is because it's the layer itself, or rather the surrounding transparent pixels.

If you paint on a transparent layer, the brush stroke is surrounded by transparent pixels. The pixels in the layer are a mask in their own right. This can be proved because you can load it as a selection by [Ctrl/ Command]+clicking the layer icon.

You can also group layers together into a 'clipping group' by [Alt]+ clicking between them on the separator in the Layers palette - the cursors will change to overlapping circles indicating clipping group mode, and clicking will cause the uppermost layer to be indented. The layer will be masked using the bottom layer's Layer Transparency Mask, and its Layer Mask and its Vector Mask, if these are present. This enables you to quickly mask multiple layers using a single layer or vector mask, and is very useful.

Vector Masks and layer folders

If you run out of masks you can always add a folder

Photoshop 6 introduced a new kind ot layer mask, the Vector Mask.This uses a vector shape to make portions of a layer transparent and works in tandem with the normal layer mask.Vector masks are either on or off: they either hide or show the layer 100%;there is no in-between value like with normal layer masks, which use 255 grayscale values. But what happens if you already have a layer mask and a vector mask on a layer but would really like a third? You can do this through the use of layer folders. Adding a layer folder and placing your layer inside it gives you access to two further masks that can be applied to the folder layer itself.

A layer folder can be used to add further masks to a layer if you find you need more than two
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