The image


The layer panel

layer panel

The yellow top rect is the layer with vector mask, the one with full gradient is the shape layer. They are both applied a gradient overlay, but the layer with mask does not have any effect. I've also tried to check or uncheck the Align With Layer, the result is still same.

Could anyone explain this? Or is there any method that could turn the layer with a mask into a shape layer directly?

Thanks in advance.

  • You should probably post an image of your Layers panel as well.
    – Joonas
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 9:21
  • ...and the Blending optins, if they are not identical for both layers.
    – Joonas
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 9:43
  • .. and what version of Photoshop. A shape layer is a layer with a vector mask. So it's really unclear what the difference is between your layers. Unless you mean a vector layer vs a layer with a vector mask in CS6.
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 10:44
  • Thanks @Joonas, I've added the version of ps and uploaded the layer panel image.
    – wtl
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 13:19

2 Answers 2


What MephistonX says is very true.

I'm not aware of your whole situation ( Like why one layer is Shape layer and other one is vector mask... ), but assuming that the priority is to have the gradient covering the visible area of the layer and since it is a vector mask, I would probably make that vector mask into a shape layer:

This is what my image looks at the moment.

enter image description here

  1. Click the vector mask in your Layers panel to select it ( if not already selected ).

    enter image description here

  2. Take any of the Path tools, e.g. Rectangle tool. Make sure that path is selected and then click the shape button.

    enter image description here

  3. The above will create identical shape layer out of vector mask.

    enter image description here

  4. You can then copy the Layer styles from your original layer by dragging the FX from one layer to another, while pressing Alt key ( Or just drag it without alt, if you don't need the original layer anymore ).

    enter image description here enter image description here

The method that MephistonX mentioned, basically does the same thing, but you end up with a raster layer.

Since you have Vector mask, you need to do it like this:

  1. Right click the Vector mask and select Rasterize vector mask

    List item

  2. Right click the mask, that is now Layer mask. Choose Apply layer mask.

    enter image description here

If for some reason it is still not working, go to the blending options > Gradient overlay , and make sure that you have Align with layer checked.

enter image description here


the shape layer has just the gradient applied to it - as on the layer its just that shape so the top and lower boundries of the gradient are condensed into that area

the masked layer has the gradient applied to the entire layer or all of your canvas, so the top and bottom boundries are streched over the entire canvas, the mask is just blocking some of that layer off - if you were to right click on the mask you can apply the mask and it will cut out the shape and allow you to have a similar effect to the shape layer


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