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Free Layer Mask Tool for Photoshop Elements

Layer Masks in Photoshop Elements 5 and Lower

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Use Layer Masks in Elements

Use Layer Masks in Elements

© Sue Chastain
This tool allows you to use layer masks within Photoshop Elements. Follow the instructions below to download and install the layer mask tool according to your version of Photoshop Elements. Read the instructions carefully as they are different depending on what version of Photoshop Elements, Windows, or Macintosh you have. You will need to close and re-open Photoshop Elements before using the tool.
Note for Windows Users: If you can't find the folders mentioned here, make sure you have hidden files and folders set to show under Control Panel > Folder Options > View tab.

To use layer masks in Photoshop Elements 6 and higher, click here.

Instructions for Photoshop Elements 5

Download the Free Layer Mask Tool for Photoshop Elements 5

Windows XP: Unzip the file and place the entire "Layer Mask" folder into:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0\Photo Creations\special effects

Then, delete the following file:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0\MediaDatabase.db3

Windows Vista: Unzip the file and place the entire "Layer Mask" folder into:
C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0\Photo Creations\special effects

Then, delete the following file:
C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0\MediaDatabase.db3

Note: MediaDatabase.db3 is the content database for the effects palette. It will be rebuilt the next time Elements is launched. You will see a progress bar when you launch the program indicating that this database is being rebuilt.

Using the Action: To use the action, choose 'Special Effects' (third button) from the Artwork and Effects palette, then pull down the Special Effects menu and choose 'Layer Mask' from the list. Double-click the Layer Mask thumbnail to add a mask to the active layer. See note below.

Instructions for Photoshop Elements 4 (or lower)

Download the Free Layer Mask Tool for Photoshop Elements 4 or Lower

Windows XP: Unzip the file and place the entire "Layer Mask" folder into:
Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Previews\Effects

Next, go to the folder Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Previews\Cache\Effects Cache and delete the following three files before restarting Photoshop Elements:
CatagoryCache.che
ListCache.che
ThumbNailCache.che

This forces Photoshop Elements to rebuild the Effects Cache, which makes the actions available from the Styles and Effects Palette.

The tool has not been tested with Windows Vista and Elements 4 or lower.

Mac: Unzip the file and place the entire "Layer Mask" folder into:
Applications > Photoshop Elements > Previews > Effects

Next, go to the folder Applications > Photoshop Elements > Previews > Cache > Effects Cache and delete the following three files before restarting Photoshop Elements:
CatagoryCache.che
ListCache.che
ThumbNailCache.che

This forces Photoshop Elements to rebuild the Effects Cache, which makes the actions available from the Styles and Effects Palette.

Using the Action: To use the action, choose 'Effects' and 'Layer Mask' from the Styles and Effects Palette. Double-click the Layer Mask thumbnail to add a mask to the active layer. See note below.

Note:If you get the message "The command 'Make' is not available." it means you tried to run the action on the background layer. You must convert the background to an editable layer by double clicking the background layer in the layers palette. Type a name for the layer and click OK.

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