How could I draw lines in a vector mask ? I want to reach the same effect like if I were working with shapes, because the image needs to be vector and scalable.

For example, if I draw an elipse, then fill a layer with white and reveal vector mask associated to this path, I will be seeing a white circle.

What I want to do is the same, but instead of seeing a white circle, I want to see the circle stroke, like if I have stroked the path with white color, is this possible?


2 Answers 2


In versions prior to CS6, a shape layer is a vector mask, and other than applying a stroke effect then reducing the Fill to 0% there's no way to do what you are trying to achieve. One of the big new features for designers in CS6 is real vector layers, with true stroke and fill and the ability to put multiple objects on a single layer.

  • "the ability to put multiple objects on a single layer" — Hasn't that always been the case? Commented May 23, 2012 at 0:35
  • But supposed that you have to draw a vector ring, how could you create the path to fill a ring and not a circle? I am mixing all, I am lost. I know how to do it, but I do not know how in vectors, because I could make an elipse, fill it, then contract selection, and erase. And there is a ring. Commented May 23, 2012 at 3:30
  • There's a dropdown menu in the options bar that selects if each path is set to combine, subtract, intersect or exclude. For a donut, you'd want the bigger circle set to combine and the smaller circle set to subtract. Commented May 23, 2012 at 3:59
  • @MarcEdwards Re multiple objects: Not really. You could sort of add paths and to some degree select and adjust them, but for shape layers it was very awkward. The new behavior is markedly different. Commented May 24, 2012 at 6:47
  • Thank you, I used what @MarcEdwards said and everything was Ok, thank you guys! Commented May 24, 2012 at 13:06

Groups can have vector masks. So, you can mask a shape layer with a group. Or even a group with another group.

Group mask

100% vector. 100% editable later. This works in Photoshop CS5 and CS6 (I can't remember if versions prior to CS5 had the feature). You could also use a clipping mask, depending on what you're after.

Edit: After seeing the link of the shape you're after, I think just using a few paths on the same layer with boolean path operations should do the trick.

If you need portions of a shape layer to be see-through, multiple paths with different boolean path operations can be used. In the example below, the larger circle is set to combine shapes, and the smaller circle is set to subtract front shape. The sequence you draw the shapes matters, because that’s the order the boolean path operations are applied.

— quoted from an article I wrote: Masking in Photoshop CS6

If you have Illustrator installed, sometimes complex shapes can be quicker and easier to draw than Photoshop. You can copy and paste the result into Photoshop as a shape layer, keeping edibility.

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