Clipping Mask is not Clipping Path-Exposing the Myth

Clipping Path India | March 30, 2011

Two layers of photoshop image are required to create a clipping mask. This is one of the reasons it should not be considered a clipping path feature in.  Mac users might need some extra information to further distinguish the main plot.

However for the rest of the users it is a clear message that ‘clipping mask’ is different from ‘clipping path’. If one were to differentiate between the mask and path features, then the later is a vector line. It is embedded right into the image file where the clipping has to be done. Just to make this information even Mac-friendly, here is the dope. The software installed (from the Mac perspective), has several pen tools to choose form. For the rest there is the inimitable magic wand, polygonal lasso, lasso and magnetic lasso. Clipping paths can trace a rough edge of an image (grunge hair, uneven background). While a clipping path is required to trace the rough edges the mask is used in certain parts of the image… not necessarily using it for tracing. One clipping is a layered mask and the other (path) is the trace route only.

While working from the tool palette in the menu from the left side, it is quite clear about the two functions. A clipping mask has a different function. When an image is worked upon, the lower most layers that have transparent pixels work as the basic mask. These distinct photo editing techniques are used by experienced graphic artists.  Squirreling around with the mouse over the image, one can create a neat photo montage with the background with a clipping mask. An experienced artist will study the layers in the image that need masking. By duplicating the section of the image, a mask can be created. If a Mac-user is reading this then choose cmd+J and other users can opt for ctrl+J.

Clipping mask can be used to make the image transparent, opaque or clear. Really what will eventually have the best impact can be ascertained when samples are given to the client to chose. More often this technique is useful when an image and text combo needs to be created. It could be for a life size picture for a candy store, or a coffee shop or perhaps a travel company, where the copy, image and text are fused together.  Clipping mask is all about the layers of adjustment just like it happens in water colors-Layer after layer a painting is created. It follows more or less the same technique.

Unless a beginner does not experiment with the tools, there is no point in just reading. Hence it is best to take a photo, make layers and try the tools. It helps to erase any misunderstanding between any two techniques- as in this case it is between clipping mask and clipping path. A Mac-user will need alt key + move cursor over the borders of 2 layers and then click. If done rightly only those areas masked appear as text, the rest of the image remains the same.  In case this has not happened, never mind. Re-edit it! It can be done all over again.  Both the image and the text can be re-adjusted in the respective layers. Check the palette and see if the font used is visible. If not, make changes. Use a font and size that is clearer.

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