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I am trying to follow a set of instructions and am looking to copy and paste a vector mask to a gradient layer. For some reason when I simply do cmd c and cmd v to the gradient layer nothing is happening.

Here are my instructions:

Method 1: Color Overlay on Gradient Layer

  1. Create a Gradient Layer. Choose light grey and dark grey color stops. You can fine tune it later.
  2. Create a vector mask of the button
  3. Copy the vector mask and paste it on the gradient layer (Select the vector mask > Ctrl + C > Select the gradient layer > Ctrl + V)
  4. Click Layer > Vector Mask > Current Path.
  5. Go to Blending Options and apply Color Overlay with blend mode Color.
  6. Now you can try out colors just by changing this color.
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Things changed slightly in Photoshop CS6 from CS5.

To move a vector mask from a layer to another, hold command and drag the layer thumbnail from one layer to another.

To copy a vector mask from a layer to another, hold command-option and drag the layer thumbnail from one layer to another.

The same technique also works with groups, so you can move or copy a vector mask to and from groups as well.

enter image description here

If you'd like to copy only a portion of the vector mask, you'll have to edit or copy the paths themselves, using the Path Selection Tool or Direct Selection Tool.

Please also note that while the thumbnails in CS6 look very different to CS5, where a colour swatch appeared to the left of the mask, they behave very similarly. CS6 just has a different thumbnail preview and slightly keyboard shortcuts.

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