How To Invert A Layer Mask In Photoshop

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The Fastest Ways To Invert A Layer Mask In Photoshop

Layer masks are one of the most important tools within Photoshop. They not only help you to create selections but allow you to refine layers and individual adjustments. When you add selections or duplicate layer masks, it’s not uncommon to see the opposite of what you want. That’s why learning how to invert a layer mask is so useful.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to invert a layer mask in Photoshop to save yourself a ton of time. Rather than remaking the entire layer mask, you can use a few shortcuts and techniques to invert the mask you’re already using. Let’s get started!

How To Invert A Layer Mask

Before you do anything, make sure your layer mask is selected by clicking on the mask. A white box will appear around the layer mask, indicating that it’s selected. Now any adjustments you make will affect the mask and not your image!

The easiest way to invert a layer mask in Photoshop is with the keyboard shortcut Command + I (Mac) or Control + I (PC).


This will switch everything to the opposite color in your layer mask. Now black becomes white and white becomes black, swapping which areas are transparent.

Rather than using a keyboard shortcut, you can also go up to Image > Adjustments > Invert to achieve the same result.

How To Invert A New Layer Mask

When you create a new layer mask, you may want it to be completely black (aka transparent) to start. By default, when you make a new layer mask, it’s 100% white (visible), which means you need to invert the mask afterward.

Rather than creating a new layer mask and using the invert shortcut above, there’s an even better technique.

Select the layer you want to add your layer mask to. Next, hold Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) and click on the layer mask icon to create a new mask.


Rather than having a white mask, this will create a black, inverted mask from the get-go.


Using this easy technique saves you from the extra step of inverting your layer mask with a keyboard shortcut. Now it’s inverted and ready to go the moment it’s created!

How To Duplicate And Invert A Layer Mask

Now I’ve already talked extensively about how to duplicate layer masks in another post, but now let’s add a twist. Rather than just duplicating or inverting a layer mask, you can do it all at once.


Just hold Option + Shift (Mac) or Control + Shift (PC) and click and drag your layer mask to a new layer. This will simultaneously duplicate and invert your layer mask at the same time!


This trick is another huge time saver and prevents you from needing to create an entirely new layer mask.

Learn More: How To Duplicate And Move Layer Masks In Photoshop

More Photoshop Tutorials For You:


Learning how to invert a layer mask in Photoshop is an essential skill for any creative. It not only saves time but makes it so much easier to get the proper mask. By remembering the shortcuts and tips you learned here, you’ll never have to worry about how to invert a layer mask again!

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– Brendan 🙂

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I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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