Masks in Photoshop CC are extremely handy, and will give you lots of control when applying controlled adjustments to your images. This post is set to address and give an example of how to re-use a mask within another mask.
Let us take this image. To get the “pop” in the image, I would like the monk’s robe on the right hand side to have the same colour and vibrancy/saturation as the monk on the left.
First things are to make a selection of the monks robe on the right hand side. For this, I’ve just used the Quick selection brush.
Now that the robe’s are up to the same luminance, we can look to increase the Vibrancy/Saturation and make sure they are at the same level, to give the maximum pop in the image. The monk’s robe on the left has been selected with the Quick selection brush.
At this point, we can create an Adjustment layer for this robe and increase the Vibrancy/Saturation.
You can see that the adjustment only affects the robe on the left. We now need to make this reflect in the robe on the right as well.
Rather than re-selecting the robe on the right, we might as well re-use the existing mask from the previous adjustment, then blend this into this adjustment. To do this, hold the CMD (Mac)/ CTRL (Pc) down and click on the mask of the layer that you would like to use, then hold down SHIFT+CMD(Mac)/CTRL(PC) down and click on the next mask (in this case, first click the right robe, then use Shift click the left robe). This will in effect create a selection from the mask and append a selection of the next mask to it.
At this point, you will see both selections appear on the image.
Because this new selection is newer than the one that we already have for the Vibrancy/Saturation Adjustment, which was copied last, this selection can be removed.
To do this, make sure the correct layer is selected (you can do this whilst the selection is active), then right click on the mask and choose “Delete Layer Mask” (this will remove the mask). Then click new layer mask (marked in red below)
Now the new mask will have the selection for the monk on the left, as well as the same selection used for the Monk on the right, but will match the mask which is being used for the Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer. Of course, the additional benefit is that both the vibrancy/saturation and the Brightness and contrast.
You can see that the red robes look great and really give the image “pop” against the light stone walls and grey steps.