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Photoshop Type Mask Tool

Its a feature of Photoshop that’s been quietly sitting behind the Text tool minding it’s own business. Photoshop Type Mask Tool hasn’t quite seen the end of it’s run though and hopefully this article will spur you to give the little guy just one more chance.


Found behind the Text Tool there’s two flavours of Type Mask, Horizontal and Vertical. They work the same so I’ll just demonstrate the Horizontal here. It works just the same as the Text tool and you have the Character panel at your disposal. (For a tour of the Character panel why not take a look at this video).

Once you click down with the tool the image displays red, often referred to as rubylith. This is a visual representation of the mask you’re creating, much the same as the Quick Mask. Once you start typing the text will appear clear.


When you choose a different tool or press Enter to complete the type the mask will vanish and you’re left with the marching ants that denote a selection.


This is great, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to blur the mask or add to it with the brush? Of course you can, remember I mentioned Quick mask earlier? You can click the Quick Mask button and edit to your heart’s content!


Once you have the mask as you’d like, press Q to exit Quick Mask if you’re in it and use the selection as you like. Here I’ve added a simple Levels layer and a Layer Effect.



Image courtesy of our friends at Fotolia – The Sock Photography Community

About Eric Renno (434 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

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