I think this is a relatively simple question, but I can’t find an answer to it anywhere.

I want to apply the same layer mask to multiple images in photoshop using an action. The layer mask is saved as a .psd file.

I can automate creating a layer mask in the images I wish to mask, but I have no idea how to load the existing mask and then paste it into the new mask that was just created. If I try to record what I would normally do, i.e., choose the mask in the channel selector and then paste into it, The saved mask doesn’t end up in the newly created layer mask but as an entirely new layer.

Can someone explain the action steps I would use to make this work? I’d be soooo appreciative. Otherwise I’m going to be doing this by hand 800 times.

2 Answers 2


Sounds like you want to be using the Batch processing tool built into photoshop (Under File, Automate, Batch).

I believe you will need to point the batch processor to the mask you want to apply and explain how you want photoshop to use it. You will then need to select a directory of images to apply this too.

I'd recommend looking up some tutorials on how to use batch processing on YouTube.


You can’t just leave a mask file open in the workspace and record a sequence of actions that tries to copy/paste from it, as you would do in normal workflow. It creates errors almost immediately.

Through trial and error, I figured out that the correct way to do this is to save the mask as a selection... ‘save selection’... before initiating the batch process, and then ‘load selection’ to the image in the action sequence itself, followed by ‘add mask’. So the action looks something like this:

  1. [Image opens from batch file directory]
  2. ‘Load Selection’
  3. ‘Add Mask’
  4. ‘Save’
  5. ‘Close’
  6. [Next iteration]

Deceptively simple with understanding the use of ‘save/load selection’; horrendously complex or impossible otherwise.


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