The process of editing a vector shape layer is no different than the process of editing a vector path. All the same tools and methods apply. The difference is, even though you will be working on the vector path that created the mask, you will be focused on the Layers panel rather than the Paths panel, generally speaking. There are a few tips you can take advantage of to make life easier when editing a vector mask as part of a vector shape layer. Once you have selected your shape layer:
Decrease the Fill amount of your color, gradient, or pattern to 20 percent or less. This makes it easier to see the path that you are editing, while not completely removing the effect that it creates as you edit the various anchor points and path contours. It helps in some cases to see how the fill area interacts with other parts of the document as the vector mask changes to form a modified shape.
Remember to click the actual path boundaries with the Direct Selection tool, rather than clicking inside the fill area. Clicking on the path itself automatically selects the mask in the layer being worked on, and the nearest anchor points and direction lines appear, as shown in Figure 12.9.
When you have the shape layer's mask contoured exactly as you want it, and you have set the other layer options such as Fill and any effects blending to their final values, it's a good idea to lock the vector shape layer so that no accidental changes can be made.
To make your shape and ...