To delete a mask, target it on the Properties panel and click the Trash icon at the bottom of the panel.
If you prefer to use the layers panel, target the mask and click the Trash icon, or drag the mask thumbnail to the Trash icon at the bottom of Layers panel. If you prefer to bypass the option dialog box, add Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) while clicking the trash icon will delete the mask without applying it.
Most of the time, I prefer to Control -click (Mac) | right -click (Win) on the layer mask and choose delete or apply the mask from the context sensitive menu.
In Photoshop CC, adding a Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle and/or Ellipse Shape layer (using the Shape tools) displays the Properties panel making it easier to access the Live Shape Properties. To stop this this auto-reveal behavior, in Photoshop CC (v14.1), from the Properties panel’s fly-out menu, uncheck “Show on Shape Creation”. Note: you must have a Shape layer with Live Shape Properties to access this fly-out menu.
Photoshop CC has the ability to create “live” (or re-editable) rounded corners using the Rectangle Shape tool. To do so, drag out the desired rectangle, then use the Properties panel to round the corners (each one independently or all at once using the link icon). For a video demonstration as well as an example of using rounded rectangles as Smart Objects, watch the video below (the rounded rectangle portion begins at 8:30).
When adding a mask to a layer in Photoshop, instead of guessing at the size of a feather that should be applied (because we know that the feather amount will vary depending on the resolution of the image and the desired softness of the edge that is being feathered), use the non-destructive Feather option on the Properties panel. To access the mask properties, click on the mask icon on the Properties Panel. Now, you can add a feather to soften an edge yet, if the image is resized or other adjustments need to be made at a later time, the feather can be appropriately adjusted.
And while you’re in the Properties panel, and the focus is on the mask, be sure to check out the non-destructive Density slider to reduce the opacity (density) of the mask.
In Photoshop CS6, the properties of certain types of layers now appear in the Properties panel. For example, if you add an Adjustment layer, not only can you see the properties of that adjustment, but you can also click on the Mask icon (at the top of the Properties panel) to quickly see the properties of the mask associated with that layer.
Because Adjustment layers can be added from the bottom of the layers panel, this eliminates my need to view that panel. Instead, I have found that placing the Properties panel below the Layers panel makes it convenient to add an adjustment layer and then quickly have access to the features of that adjustment. Note: the Properties panel can be resized both vertically and horizontally as desired.
In this video, you’ll learn time-saving techniques to boost your productivity as Julieanne reveals essential enhancements that will improve the way you work with Layers, Groups, the new Properties panel, and much more!