Click on an empty part of the Paths panel, or hit the Escape key.
While you have a path with anchor points selected, Escape will deselect the anchor points but the vector mask remains active indicated by the paths outlines remaining highlighted and the white frame on the layer mask in the layer's panel and also the highlighted path layer in the Paths panel. Alternatively the same can be achieved by clicking anywhere outside or inside but not on the actual path with one of the path selection tools (black or white pointer) which are also accessible temporarily while holding Ctrl/Cmd when using a pen tool.
While no anchor points are selected, Escape will remove the focus (deselect) the vector mask but the current layer remains active (selected). Alternatively the same can be achieved by clicking the vector mask icon in the layers panel which toggles the vector mask selection or clicking an empty space on the Paths panels
Ctrl/Cmd clicking the selected layer in the Layers panel or just clicking an empty space in the Layers panel will deselect the currently selected layer leaving you without a selected layer and any pixel editing tools and menus will be dimmed.
edit: we haven't installed CS6 yet and I don't know the details there which may be different.
I didn't need to deselect paths. I needed to know how to deselect Layers. In order to make a new Shape Layer there must be no layers currently selected, else you would wind up making a vector mask on that selected layer.
I wanted to be able to make sure there were no selected layers so that I could create fresh Shape Layers. Problem is if your layers run all the way down past the bottom of the Layers Panel, you have no "blank space" to click to deselect any selected layers.
I just found out that Command-clicking the selected layer will deselect it. That's what I was looking for. It's a clunky way to work, but I guess it's all I've got.
I wish you could do the same with just a key as often the currently selected layer could be out of view.
John Stanowski wrote:
... In order to make a new Shape Layer there must be no layers currently selected, else you would wind up making a vector mask on that selected layer...
In order to make a new Shape Layer you have to have the New Shape layer button selected in the tool's option bar under the main menu - this is the button before Add to shape, Subtract from shape, etc. You don't need to deselect the layer for this - you can just click the New Shape Layer button in the options. But this button will be automatically selected if the tool is in Shape Layers drawing mode (fist button on the options bar) and a vector mask is not active which can be done with the Escape key. Deselecting a layer also automatically sets that option but you don't need to do that. Just press the Escape key and that's it - you will create a new shape layer. If you have anchor points selected press the Escape key twice.
Ahh, you're right. Cool. Then deselecting all layers isn't an issue anymore.
However, to answer your question a little more directly, in Photoshop on a PC one only has to hold down the Control key when clicking a layer to deselect it. I'm not sure what key that maps to on a Mac... Try your modifier keys.
Is there any other way (like a shortcut) to do this? Sometimes you have a LOOOONG list of layers, and to have to scroll through every time, located the highlighted layer, the cntrl-click is a R-PITA. There has to be a shortcut ... should just be ESCAPE or something.
Yes, it is an issue, in CC 2014 you would just select escape to unselect the layer and it would work, another workflow issue. If you try to go to the custom keyboard section in the edit dropdown, it won't let you program esc as the Select->Deselect Layers Dropdown, either. Another downgrade of this newest update is that if you want to change a custom keyboard instead of letting you do it like it did before and taking you to the old one, it just gives you a Red X button not letting you change it without having to manually find the offending command in the super long list. Another downgrade, can't Adobe figure this stuff out in testing? Esc worked for years, then it doesn't, not good.
Anyways, the key and easier way is to just click outside of it. Missing escape key will probably rewire CMD+D to Deselect Layer, since I never use it (except for in InDesign, but that's another story).