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Somebody asked me recently, how do you paste something into a layer mask and my response was, well, just click in the layer mask and paste, right? And they are like well, it won't work. I'm like all right, I have to think about it for a second. So here, I'm going to show you how you can paste into a layer mask. Let's say that we want to use this shape here, this layer full of flowers. We want to use that as a mask. You can see I've already got black and transparency, but I just want to paste this content in a layer mask, where the black flowers are going to knock out whatever on the layer I'm applying this mask to.
So I'm going to begin by going back to this document over here and let's set up a group that we'll apply the layer mask to. So I'm going to select these five layers or so, Shift-clicking on the first one and then Shift-clicking on the last one to get things started. I'll group them, Command+G or Ctrl+G, put them in a group and then we'll add a layer mask to the group and this is where we want those flowers to go into. So let's go and do this. Let's go to the Flowers document. I'm going to do Select All, Command+A, Copy, Command+C. So that's Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C and it's now on the clipboard.
So we can go back over to this document and I've got the layer mask targeted, right? So if I do paste, Command+V, it pastes as a layer. Photoshop just always wants to take whatever is on the clipboard and paste it as a layer by default, so I need to undo that, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. The trick is to Option-click or Alt- click on the layer mask first. If I Option-click or Alt-click, I've now put this layer mask in Isolation mode. I'm just viewing the mask by itself and if I paste now, Command+V or Ctrl+V, you can see the content of the clipboard now it does go into that layer mask, just like I wanted.
I can go ahead and deselect, Command+ D or Ctrl+D and then to get the image back, where it's not in Isolation mode with the layer mask, just Option-click or Alt-click again. And now you can see that my result has been pasted into the layer mask. It's knocking out these layers all the way through down to the Background layer, kind of acting as a little Overlay here. So, it's possible. You just need to target that layer mask first by Option-clicking or Alt-clicking on it before you do the Paste command.
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