Yesterday, I tried to understand this graphical puzzle involving how alpha mask textures work. The idea is to replicate the effect accurately in Photoshop.
First up was the easy stuff. I'll use the WiiSpeak icon from Rock Band 3 as an example.
In Photoshop, I split the alpha mask from the color region and trim down the canvas. Then overlap them. So now it looks like this.
Moving on to a more complicated example, there's this menu graphic from Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
The solution I'm looking for should be simple, flexible, and involve no selections. Simply making all black transparent and clipping with the color layer, I get this.
It just makes sense. I have the PSD you may look at to further understand this.