Layer Mask Vs Eraser Tool in Photoshop, What Should YOU Choose? test Skip to content

Layer Mask Vs Eraser Tool in Photoshop, What Should YOU Choose?

11 min read

Hey guys! Today I am going to discuss one of the most common questions among the Photoshop beginners that is What Should I Choose, Layer Mask or Eraser, to delete (in better words, hide) something or this tutorial is about Layer Mask Vs Eraser Tool in Photoshop.

Last time I discussed on Magic Eraser Tool which is a pretty much nice tool if you want to delete your background.

Before we go any further, it is required for you to understand both Layer Mask and Eraser Tool in depth. Without knowing them, you may find some difficulties while going through the difference.

The core difference between the layer mask and the eraser tool is that layer mask hides something and eraser tool erases something. Of course, there are more differences and I’ll also show which one is better. Keep reading.

Eraser Tool

You can grab eraser tool form the tool panel or by pressing Shift+E again and again until it comes.

The first thing that we should do, although not necessary, is to select the area that we want to delete. In the image below, I am going to delete the background. This is why I have selected the background with the help of the Quick Selection Tool.


Now use the eraser tool to erase the background.

2 And this is it. Now I am going to show you how a layer mask works. After that, I will show you which one is better and why.

Layer Mask

I hope that you have already gone through my article on the layer mask. This is why I am just summarizing on how to add a layer mask.

To add a layer mask, go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Now make black as your foreground color and start brushing on the areas that you want to delete (in better words, hide).

3 This is it. This is how a layer mask works.

Now if you have accidentally deleted anything that you didn’t intend to, you can switch the foreground color to white and brush on that portion again. The deleted portion will appear again. This is the major advantage of layer mask over eraser tool.

Basically, layer mask does not delete anything, it just hides. If painted with black color, it hides; if painted with white color, it displays. This is just a summary. To understand it further, refer to this tutorial on Layer Mask.

The Difference

The biggest drawback of eraser tool is that it is destructive in nature. Which means that once it is done, it cannot be undone except with the use of the History panel. This is so not the case with a layer mask. In case you mistakenly deleted anything, you can paint on it with white color and the deleted area comes back.

Eraser ToolLayer Mask
Destructive in NatureNon-destructive
Actually deletes the area where it is brushed onDoes not delete but hide
Best for a beginner as it pretty much easy to useOnce your hand is set on Photoshop, you’ll find it a lot simpler
Decreases PSD’s size as it deletes the brushed areaPSD size remains same

And this is it.

I hope I have clarified all your doubts.

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