Quoting "scott s." <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:

The advantage to editing the channel mask is
that you can set a color for the mask, which makes it easier to see
just what you are doing.
When I edit the layer mask, other than modulating the transparency of
the connected layer,
I can't precisely see the effect.

If you wish to see just the mask itself, you can use the "Layer->Mask->Show mask" command. This will show the "effect" of either painting or filtering the mask.

If you wish to have a partially transparent (tinted) view of the mask (with your image behind it), you can perform a "Layer->Mask->Mask to selection" and then use Quickmask mode to edit the mask. After you are done editing the Quickmask, you can delete the layer's mask and perform an Add Layer Mask and choose "From Selection" for the Initialize option. (There may be better ways to accomplish this, and you may still prefer the channel method you are currently using.)

there is one other thing:  In the add layer mask there is an option

Layer's alpha channel
but also
Transfer layer's alpha channel

What is the difference?
The first option copies the alpha channel to the layer mask but leaves the alpha channel intact. The second option not only copies the alpha channel to a mask, but setsthe alpha channel to WHITE as well (i.e., sets it to fully opaque).

If you try the two different options on the following image, the difference should become apparent.


I suspect you will find "transferring" the alpha channel to a mask to be more useful for your purposes.
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