Copy/Duplicate Layer Mask ???


I am little by little trying to get the hang of GIMP; of course, it would help if I wasn’t a whiz in Photoshop Elements.
I searched and searched amidst all the menus in GIMP and could not find a command to install a duplicate layer mask on another layer; or, should I say “copy/paste” a mask from one layer onto another layer.
Surely GIMP has this basic ability.
Thanks for reading and all help is appreciated.

(andrew) #2

Sorry as far as I am aware there isn’t a simple command, but I think this is what you are asking for…

(Elle Stone) #3

A functionality from PhotoShop that I miss in GIMP is the ability to simply drag a layer mask from one layer to another layer. If this is what you are describing there’s an open bug report on the topic:

The bug report has a comment from one of the devs that shows a 2-step (or 3 if you want to delete the layer mask from the channels dialog) process to get that layer mask from one layer to another:

  1. drag layer A and drop it to the channels dock
  2. select layer B and add a layer mask from the new created channel
  3. delete the created channel


One way to do it:

  1. In the layer where you have the mask you are willing to copy choose “Mask to Selection” (Layer > Mask > Mask to Selection in menu or just right click on the layer)
  2. In the layer where you want to copy the mask choose “Add Layer Mask” and choose “Selection” in the menu
  3. Select None (Shift+Ctrl+A) to get rid of the selection


I appreciate the video, but it is just a blur on my screen; I cannot tell what they are doing.


Thanks; I will try that.


Thanks; I will try that as well.

Hopefully soon GIMP will have a one-click solution; in PS-Elements, I seldom edit an image where I don’t copy a layer mask at least once.

I often use both GIMP and Elements on the same image; each program has it’s strengths.

(Mica) #8

If there isn’t an open feature request and/or you haven’t made one, then you should!


How and where do I make such a request ?

(Pat David) #10

Here’s the page to add a new Feature Request (use the “New Issue” button in the top right):

You’ll need to create an account to add the request.


I am now joined up and this “New Issue” posted !

I noticed many of the posts had colored labels, but I could not find any way to add the labels.
I figure my “Issue” needed the “Feature” and the “Windows O/S” labels.

(Pat David) #12

I’ve added the “Feature” label to it. I don’t think this is Windows specific, as the functionality should exist in all OS’s.


Does anyone know if this plug-in accomplishes what I described ?

Thanks for reading and all help is appreciated.

(andrew) #14

Yes it does, tested on 2.10.8 (osx build)


Completely different solution (requires Gimp 2.10+): if you want an identical mask on several layers, you can put the layers in a group and add the mask to the group.


Thanks; I got it installed and ready to go.


Thanks; I haven’t quite got the group business figured out, but I will get there.

(Sebastien Guyader) #18

I agree that the way to create a layer mask from any other layer or existing mask is too complicated and unintuitive in Gimp.


A common misconception is that they are meant to manage layers. This is not really the case (it works only for layers in “Normal” mode).

They are really like parentheses in mathematical expressions (where layer blend modes are operations and the “opacity” of the layer is a coefficient) .

This can be useful; compare for instance PadDavid’s excellent tutorial on freaky details where you have to restart from scratch and this simplified version where you can tweak things.


Brilliant, @Ofnuts!

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden