In Photoshop, when I add an adjustment, is there a way to use the below layer as an Clipping Mask at the same time, rather than having to manually do this separately afterwards?

Auto Clipping Mask on Adjustment Layer

2 Answers 2


If you mean automatic as in the default behaviour, then I don't know a way to change that.

However, there's no need to use the menus to add a clipping mask to an adjustment layer. Alt+clicking between the two layers will toggle the clipping mask on the adjustment layer.


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Obviously adding a clipping mask will make no difference to the image if the image below doesn't have some transparency to show the layer below that.


Alt-Click Adjustment Layer

There is no fully automated way but there are a few semi-automated ways.

Using the below method will give many extra options you often need when producing a photoshop image, saving more time overall.

  • Allows you to name the layer.
  • Allows you to make the Adjustment Layer a Clipping Mask.
  • Allows you to colour-code the layer.
  • Allows you to set the layers opacity.
  • Allows you to set the layers blend mode.

In many cases, this would save more time than simply just making an Adjustment Layer a Clipping Mask in one swoop.

  1. Click on the Adjustment Layer of your choice while holding down Alt
  2. Select "Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask"
  3. Press OK Now you'll have an Adjustment Layer set as a Clipping Mask.

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This is the method used in full with everything possible changed at once.

enter image description here

  • 1
    In this example the clipping mask doesn't do anything since there are no transparent pixels in the previous layer.
    – Wolff
    Oct 6, 2018 at 13:19
  • If that image has areas erased, the clipping mask will make sure the layers under it aren't affected by the adjustment layer. Nevertheless, that's not what he's asking. He's asking how to auto add a clipping mask rather than doing it manually. There was no point adding unnecessary info to the answer.
    – Electron
    Oct 6, 2018 at 13:25
  • 1
    Isee. I think I misunderstood the question. I thought the OP wanted to "automagically" create a mask around the model.
    – Wolff
    Oct 6, 2018 at 14:28
  • I decided to add a use-case-scenario showing the clipping masks in action :)
    – Electron
    Oct 6, 2018 at 14:48

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