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One thing that's important about masks is their position and how to hold that position in certain situations. Like for instance, right now let's just say we have this red circle which has a mask for these window frames. What if I wanted to move that red circle? So I'll take my Move tool and I move it, and you notice that the shape of the mask is moving with it. What if I wanted to just blur that circle? So I'll go in there and I'll apply a little Gaussian Blur to it, and then I'll make a nice and big, and you can see how I am getting a halo around this edge, because I am blurring the Mask as well.
That's why there is a link right here, which allows me to turn off the link between the mask and the object in the layer. So now I can take the layer itself and move it around and you see that the mask is going to remain intact. And I could also take that file and blur it if I want to, and you see that it is being blurred inside of the mask. See? So the mask is still solid, but the object is being blurred, but the mask will maintain integrity of all that things that are being masked out.
Now I could affect the mask separately. So I can go in there and select the mask and blur the mask, at which time you can see that the mask is being blurred and the image is being left alone. But in most cases what you really want to do is blur the image or adjust the image in some way but leaving the mask intact. So that's what that Link button is there for, to allow you to separate the mask from the layer so that you can affect the layer itself without affecting its affect on all the other layers beneath it.
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