I know there are two options for knockouts: deep and shallow. However, I want something sort of in between.

I'm creating a UI, so there are a lot of a elements/layers going on and I like to keep them all organized on groups. However, that messes up how layers knockout each other (understandably).

I don't want to use knockout: deep because I don't want layers to cut through everything, but knockout: shallow doesn't traverse up through parent groups and therefore doesn't create the desired effect.

Is there a way for knockouts to go through some groups, but them stop at a specified layer and knockout only up to that?

Right now, I'm having to leave layers ungrouped so they knockout correctly.

Edit: Here is the effect I'm going for (the (+) button knocks out the dark overlay to the image behind it):

enter image description here

And here's how I currently have to arrange the layers:

enter image description here

Notice how I have to leave the Add button: + and Add button: border layers ungrouped so they can knockout the BG layer (which then passes through to the Wallpapers group). Ideally, I'd like similar layers like that to be grouped for my own sanity...

Edit 2: Here are more screenshots. The first is the desired effect (knocking out the BG layer to the Wallpaper group. The second is simply just having the button be white with reduced opacity. I know that I could just make the shape red in this example, but I wanted to clearly show the different results between the two methods. It would not work for anything that's not a solid color.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    Can you add more context and perhaps a screenshot? What are you using the knockout options for? What effect are you trying to achieve? Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 14:23
  • Sure, please see my edits.
    – scferg5
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 14:49
  • I guess I'm still confused why you are using knockouts instead of just making the add symbol and circle a white shape layer with (as it looks in your screenshot) 80-95% opacity? Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:00
  • I basically want it to appear as though it's cutting through the dark overlay. It may not be obvious in that screenshot (and it does still have a bit of white to the shape). For example, if the Wallpaper group is purple, I want the (+) button to be purple. If it's yellow, I want the button to be yellow. I don't want to have to manually change the colors of the button if the Wallpaper changes (plus if it's not a flat color, it won't look like it's "cutting through").
    – scferg5
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:05
  • Please see additional screenshots comparing the two methods.
    – scferg5
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


One option I can think for you to do here is using a vector mask on your BG layer.


Well as it turns out, you can apply a knockout to an entire group itself, so all of its content knocks out the parent content. I didn't think of that.

In this case, I can group the Add button: + and Add button: border layers into a group, and apply knockout: shallow to that group.

This only works if you want every layer in the group to knock out, obviously, and still only affects the nearest parent group. If you don't want some layers to knock out, it seems you'll have to group them separately (which makes sense from a graphical perspective - I was wanting to group layers mostly for organizational needs).

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