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I download an iPhone mockup PSD and it looks like this:

enter image description here

As you can see, there is a placeholder layer at the top that says "YOUR ART HERE". I'm not sure what to do though. The mask works: I can only draw on that layer within the boundaries of the mask. But when I try to paste my app's screenshot into that layer, a new layer is created. How can I paste into this layer with the mask? I have tried merging the pasted layer down, but that destroys the mask or the layer.

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  1. Paste the image you want to use. It will become a new layer above the masked layer

enter image description here

  1. Press CMD/CTRL+E (i.e. Merge down)

  2. When the warning appears about the underlying layer having a layer mask, hit the Preserve button.

enter image description here

And here's the result

enter image description here

  • Thank you! I thought I tried both options, but I guess I clicked "apply" twice :). Only problem I have with this is that it's destructive to the image I paste. That is, after I click "preserve", the parts of the pasted image that were outside the bounds of the mask are gone. I am guessing I need to use smart objects somehow? – Dmitry Minkovsky Mar 9 at 21:54
  • Yes, using a smart object would fix that, but you'd have to CTRL+click to select the mask first, and then apply it to the smart object layer instead. If you were to just merge down the smart object straight to the masked layer it will be rasterized, and that is also destructive. – Billy Kerr Mar 9 at 22:28
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You don't paste, you place... in your case into your masked layer - in my case into a smart object - and you can always declare your masking layer a smart object too, BTW - which I find a good workflow myself.

Here you can see the layer structure of my mockup file enter image description here

Double click on Smart Object, which opens the embedded file; I Place>Linked my UI file enter image description here

Close the Embedded Smart Object file and zap - we're back in the mockup file and my new UI elements are showing as expected. enter image description here

Hope that helps!

  • I just got a different mockup that's structured like yours. So that's good! My photoshop skills are back in the CS5-6 days. What's the difference between the layers with the red versus green visibility icon. Hard to Google because all I get is red/green channels, etc :). Are these just tags? – Dmitry Minkovsky Mar 9 at 22:10

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