I am following a tutorial and trying to mask a shape layer to another shape layer that is multiple layers down. (or has multiple layers between these two.) In Photoshop cs6

Essentially I want the white box to be masked to show only to the inside of the black box.

Can someone explain what I'm doing wrong here?

enter image description here


  • I would just duplicate the mask and put it on both.
    – Hanna
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:21

4 Answers 4


Ok, finally got to my CS6... The Vector Mask menu appears to be inactive for vector shape layers because they are essentially Fill layers with vector mask applied, which the CS6 now considers to be an integral part of such layer.

There are two ways to mask the vector shape layer with another vector shape:

  1. (Both ways) Select your lower layer. With the black arrow select the path of that layer and copy it to the clipboard.
  2. (Way 1) Select the upper layer, paste the copied shape onto it. Now on the top Property panel click on the Path Operations button (showing two intersecting squares), and in the drop-down list select Intersect.
  3. (Way 2) Select the upper layer, right-click on its name, choose Convert to Smart Object in the context menu. Now choose Layer > Vector Mask > Reveal All in the main menu. Select the newly appeared empty (white) layer mask and paste the path from the clipboard onto this mask.
  • For the 1st way, For some reason when I copy the path of the lower layer and past it onto the white box, It shows as fully white. In path operations, I cannot find intersect.. Jan 29, 2013 at 1:40
  • When you paste a new path onto the shape layer, it should really obtain the color of this layer (white in your case), so that's fine. Intersect in Path Operations: View JPG
    – Const
    Jan 30, 2013 at 9:04

As far as I understand your question, you want to create a clipping mask in a shape of your black rounded rectangle that clips an existent white rectangle. It's not completely clear from the screenshot whether the player interface is vector, or is a part of the screenshot. If it isn't vector, you will have to draw the corresponding vector rounded rectangle over your screenshot.

Illustrator needs to know which of your objects is a mask and which is the object to be clipped, so it always requires the clipping mask to be closer to the front. If your black rounded rectangle is already a vector shape, and is below your white rectangle, copy it to the clipboard, select your white rectangle and use the Edit > Paste to Front menu command or press Cmd+F. This will paste the copy of the black rounded rectangle above your white rectangle keeping its original position.

Then to make a clipping mask:

  1. Select both white rectangle and the upper black rounded rectangle.
  2. Click Object > Clipping Mask > Make or press Cmd+7.
  3. The clipping black object will disappear hiding the "unneeded" part of the white rectangle.
  • 1
    I'm looking at photoshop cs6, not illustrator. Sorry for not clarifying. Jan 27, 2013 at 22:04
  • In this case it looks like you need to create a vector mask for your shape layer since you cannot create a Photoshop clipping mask through several layers. Select the lower shape layer in the Layers panel, select the path with the black arrow. Copy the path into the clipboard. Now select the upper layer. Use Layer > Vector Mask > Reveal All. Select the newly appeared empty (white) layer mask and paste the path from the clipboard onto this mask.
    – Const
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:16
  • For some reason I cannot select vector mask for both layers..i2.photobucket.com/albums/y13/wragen22/… Jan 27, 2013 at 22:22
  • Looks quite confusing to me. Sorry, I have to get my hands on CS6 tomorrow (not present on this machine, been answering from what I remember) to clarify why's that. Hope someone will answer your question sooner than this happens.
    – Const
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:33

Command/CTRL-click the layer thumbnail for the black box.

This will load a selection the shape of the black box.

Highlight the layer with the white box in it.

Click the New Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layer Panel.

If this doesn't work, you'll need to explain in greater detail what you want and why this doesn't work.


i have often found myself trying to do that, and then realize photoshop doesnt have anything for that. In CS6 for the first time you can clip the whole group but in most situations that would rearrange the layers and mess up everything else. Only possible way to do this is apply mask to both and all layers separately. This limit continue to exist for clipping masks too. But then reediting becomes incredibly difficult. And you can't go much beyond your original design.

  • It seems that this functionality was available in cs5 though.. as i'm following a tutorial Jan 27, 2013 at 23:20
  • give me a link to that tut.
    – user8795
    Jan 28, 2013 at 0:30
  • youtube.com/watch?v=sROWVL1L-bQ Jan 28, 2013 at 2:50
  • OK i Got it....What you are trying to do is called Clipping Mask. And what he did was layer mask. Clipping mask can be done only with layers that are below by pressing and holding Alt & clicking in between layers. Layer Mask Or Vector mask can be of any shape, they are not connected to any other layer. What he does is Ctl Click the Black box, which loads its shape as selection, and then click on the white box layer, then click Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Long time ago i did that tutorial Too ;D.
    – user8795
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:37
  • You could also just click the icon which looks like circle in a dark box in layer panel at bottom instead of doing Layer>Layer Mask> Reveal Selection.
    – user8795
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:51

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