I was wondering if there was a way to selectively mask out layer styles (not including the actual layer)?

For example: I add a drop shadow to a layer, but I only want the shadow to show on a few layers. Is there a way to take the brush tool and mask away some of the shadow?

I know there are alternatives to creating this effect, but I was just curious. If there isn't a feature like this, it would be a nice one to add.

  • You can convert styles to layers.. then do whatever you want. But as live styles... no.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 23:03
  • Your explanation is a bit lost on me. Mind elaborating a bit? Maybe with an example? It is possible to mask off layer styles without masking the layer that the style is attached to, as long as the layer style is not on top of the layer. Even then it is doable, but not as simple.
    – Joonas
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 0:31

2 Answers 2


Mitchell. The easiest way to answer your problem is: when you have added styles on a layer you can convert them to a new layer. After that just apply vector mask on it. Now, you can take the brush tool with black color and fade out the parts you don't need. You can always get the faded parts back with the brush tool, but with white color. Hope this helps. Cheers

  • Ok, I didn't realize that you could create a layer out of a style. This helps. I guess it's essentially (For a drop shadow at least) duplicating a layer, pushing it below its parent layer, and adjusting the opacity. Thanks.
    – Mitchell
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 21:24

For what it's worth, if you have a layer with styles, then put that layer in a group and put a layer mask on the group, you can use the mask to mask out anything in the group, whether actual pixel layer content or the styles.

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