This is my basic layer setup:

enter image description here

  • Textlayer
  • Shape
  • Background

I want to mask the shape-layer so the parts where the text in the shape is transparent.

enter image description here

Rasterizing the shape and deleting the text-part is not an option. Setting the color of the text to red is also not an option, because the background can be a picture.

I just can't figure out how to do this. All tutorials for masks have different goals than mine. How can I do this?


2 Answers 2


The answer is very simple, but obscure. As it happens, it doesn't involve clipping masks. :)

Set the text over the shape. Open the text layer Blending Options dialog and set "Fill" to 0 percent, then change the Knockout dropdown to "Deep," which knocks out everything through to the background. This is one of those almost-never-used Photoshop features that comes in handy on the rare occasion that you need it.

enter image description here


You would have to work with Photoshop CS6 I think, I mean there are some new options but I'm not sure how new they are, maybe they've been there for a while and I did not know about them.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Create your text
  2. Right click on the text layer in the layers panel > go to > Convert to Shape.
  3. Draw your shape(that black shape in your screenshot, but when drawn use the "Path Operations" Option, and set it to "Exclude overlapping shapes"

Here's a screenshots that might help, you can see both the result and the option I talk about in (3), but as I said I'm not sure it was available before CS6:

enter image description here

  • Thx, this does works CS5! Only problem is that is all shapes need to be on the same mask. I was hoping to find a way to take several layers (images & text) and 'cut' them out my black shape, without loosing the layer-structures.
    – user63457
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 22:47

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