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I've got a bunch of puppies i need to mask in the same way as below, where each puppy will be within a shadowed circle:

enter image description here

I got the first one working using a layer mask, but now i want an easy way to apply the same mask layer to all my other puppies, and I can't figure out how. The current mask is tied to this specific layer, like so:

enter image description here

How would I create a single mask that I could apply across many puppy pics, and modify in one place if need be.

Update on this:

I discovered I could apply a mask to a group, like so- however, I can't apply filters on the group-level mask. So I'm closer, but not there yet...

enter image description here

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Place the circle shape layer under your images in the Layers panel.

Then click between the circle layer and the image on top of it while pressing alt key. This will use the circle layer as a clipping mask.

You can add layer styles into the circle layer and the images on top of it in the clipping mask, will use those same styles.

In my example image I have added an empty layer on top of the image layer. That way, if you always select the top most image layer and place a new image on top of that, you don't have to separately add that new image into the clipping mask ( and you can also select one or more images outside the clipping mask and just drop them below the empty layer and they will all be added to the clipping mask ). enter image description here

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Joonas- thanks, seems like this is the way to do it in CS5- thought this might call for clipping masks but never used them because they're so unintuitive- why do they go under the layers?? – Yarin Sep 2 '12 at 15:23

You could simply add another shape layer (circle in your case) on top with 0% fill that holds all the layer styles like drop shadow or gradient overlay.

For exporting I suggest making a layer comp for every view. This takes a bit of time but it will be so much easier once you need to change something and re-export.

enter image description here

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Thanks KMSTR- this works too, and good call on the comps – Yarin Sep 2 '12 at 15:36

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