I tried to use multiple filters with different layers and same mask. Apparently, the one on top masks the effects of the ones below it if the mask is the same.

Is there a way to have multiple filter over different layers sharing the same mask?

  • I'm not sure if I understood your question correctly but I guess the solution to your problem is clipping masks!
    – Pouya
    Jul 13 '13 at 11:17

Filters don't have masks. Layers (including adjustment layers) have masks. Filters can operate on selections, but they return the result to a layer. Even as Smart Filters, they aren't instructions about what to do, they actually modify pixels on that layer. ("Smart filters" store the original picture and the filter settings along with the resulting pixels so you can alter them later. They aren't like adjustment layers, which are just instructions.)

In short, it's not that one filter is obstructing a filter below, but that the image resulting from applying one filter is obstructing the image resulting from applying another filter. If you use the same mask on those image layers, they will have the same opaque areas. You can't use filters in a purely non-destructive workflow, athough you can get close by using different filters on the same layer converted to a Smart Object (or using Convert for Smart Filters, depending on the PS version you're using).


If you're referring to layers with filters applied to them or if you're referring to adjustment layers, then I suggest grouping them and applying a mask to that group. Photoshop / Selecting, grouping, and linking layers


Adjustment Layers

If you use adjustment layers, as Stan points out these apply "instructions" to the base pixels and so effects from each layer can be accumulated. So if you have a base layer, add a saturation adjustment layer, then a contrast adjustment layer, the result is "take the base pixels, apply a saturation adjustment, then to that result apply a contrast adjustment". If you mask some of the saturation layer, you still get the base pixels through, just with no adjustment made. The mask hides the adjustment only.

Raster Layers

If your layers are created from duplicating your base layer, or from something like a plugin, what you end up with is a layer filled with pixels. These override whatever pixels are in lower layers. They do not adjust, they replace basically. So if you duplicate a layer twice, and expect to apply a saturation adjustment to the first duplicate layer, and contrast adjustment to the top layer, then the top layer will not contain any information about the saturation adjustment you made underneath, because its pixels are the same as the base layer (plus the contrast adjustment only)

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