how to mask in photoshop

how to mask in photoshop

How To Mask In Photoshop

photoshop-clipping-mask

How to mask in photoshop In this photoshop tutorial for beginners. If you are planning to create some fantastic typography or any custom layout for your business, then you have landed at the right place. Today we are going on a journey where we will learn how to mask in photoshop and make those beautiful custom layouts that you always wondered about. 

Before going into the real action, we would do some warm-up by knowing about masking. Most of us still don’t have a clear idea of image masking. In short, clipping masks cut a specific shape from an image and paste it on another. So in this editorial, I will try to tell you what is clipping a mask in photoshop and do some masking tutorials as well.

What Is A Clipping Mask In Photoshop 

It might be a million-dollar question when you have no idea but trust me, and the answer is very simple if it is answered in the correct way. First, let’s know the technical definition of the clipping mask. It is a powerful photoshop technique that can control the visibility of the layers. I know it’s a bit tough to understand, so let’s simplify this definition with a simple example. 

Imagine a solid black paper with a hole right at the center of it. Now take a hard copy of a photo and place it under the black paper. The black paper will cover the entire image, but only the part of the image under the hole will be visible. Now let’s dive a bit deeper with the example. This time we will use two different images and place image 2 under image 1. 

Let’s take the black paper with a hole in it again and now place it over the two images. We will see the picture only through the hole, and the rest of the image will not get shown. Instead, we will see image 2, and this is what the photoshop masking process does to the image. 

The process of photoshop clipping mask and layer masking are different though they might provide similar results. The layer mask works with black and white layers and controls the layers’ visibility, and the clipping mask photoshop works with the contents to control them. Enough of sharing the theoretical knowledge because now it’s time to create the clipping mask practically. 

HOW TO MASK IN PHOTOSHOP 

To create a clipping mask in photoshop, you don’t need to be a professional photo editor and know about adobe photoshop cc. All you need is to have basic knowledge about some of the photoshop tools. I will guide you through the step-by-step process to create a clipping mask in photoshop so that I will suggest you not miss or skip any of the steps whatsoever. Adobe Photoshop has the option built in to create the clipping mask, and they named the option “Create Clipping Mask.” 

Yes, it’s funny and seems very easy that you click on the option, and boom, it’s done. It is easy, and you will agree with me when our journey reaches the finish line, so stay tuned… 

Step 1: Open Model Photography Image 

First things first, insert the image in the photoshop you want to work on. It can be any image, but for our today’s tutorial, I will use a model photography image, and I would suggest you start with that as well. By default, the image will be in the layer panel holding the name “Background.” The layer will be locked because it’s the original file, and if it wasn’t locked, anything goes wrong during the editing, and the original file will get destroyed. 

Pro Tip: After inserting a photo before you start editing, create a duplicate layer of it. For this tutorial, I named it Layer 1. 

Step 2: Create A New Layer 

For our Photoshop clipping mask process, we require multiple layers on top of one another, creating another layer. The new layer option is on the bottom side of the layer panel. Please create a new layer from the new layer icon and place it right below layer 1 and name it Layer 2. 

create-a-new-layer

We can also create new layers from selection in photoshop, but I prefer creating the new layer first.

 Step 3: Make A Selection 

Remember the hole on the black paper? Selecting a specific part of the image will work as the hole here.We will create the selection using a photoshop selection tool, but one crucial thing to remember here is that we must keep layer 2 selected. I will use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the image, but you guys can use any selection tool to create your desired shape. 

make-a-selection

Step 4: Fill The Selection

We have selected our desired shape over the image, so now we will fill our selection area. Now you can turn off the visibility of Layer 1 if you want, and I would suggest you do that. The selected portion of our image is going to be used as a clipping mask. To do that, we have to fill the selection, or we will lose our desired selection when we deselect it. Go to the menu bar at the top, select Edit→ Fill, and select any color or pattern you want. If you followed my tutorial from the first, you would have a portion chosen with color.

fill-the-selection

Step  5: Deselect

Now we don’t require the selection anymore as we have filled the selection area with color. So we will deselect it, and to do so, we have to go to the menu bar again and click on Select→ Deselect.

deselect

Step 6: Photoshop Clipping Mask 

The moment we were waiting has arrived, and after this step, we will get our clipping mask. Select layer one, and from the menu bar, click on Layer→ Create Clipping Mask and Layer 1 will automatically become a clipping mask. Now you can use this layer as a clipping mask and add any image you want under it to use as the background. 

photoshop-clipping-mask

A bonus step only for you guys… 

Step 7: Move The Subject In The Image 

If your clipping mask contains any subject and wants to change its placement, you can do it in a simple way. Select Layer 1 and then use the Move tool and drag the subject to change the subject’s placement.

Advance Tips To how to mask in photoshop A Pro 

Okay, we have got our clipping mask layer, and now we can use this layer on top of any image we want, but what if we wish for a subject to be cut accurately and then make it a clipping mask. The secret of making your clipping mask layer more advanced and professional is in the selection process we used earlier. Let say you want to cut a model from a background and place it on another backdrop. In that case, the model you want to cut and place somewhere will be the clipping mask. So either you have to cut the subject precisely to confirm that the subject is fully separated from its original background or when you will place the subject on another backdrop, the uneven edges will make the image ugly. 

Other than the precise cutting, what if you require a clipping mask with a specific shape? Or you want to create typography using the clipping mask technique? 

Below I will cover these advanced photoshop clipping masking tutorials and present them in the easiest way I can, so stay tuned and hope for the best. 

Precise Selection With Magnetic Lasso Tool 

Placing any model from one backdrop to another is a common practice based on the different requirements. Now you will know the secret and will be able to do it on your own. To be able to do such a process, we need to select and cut the subject as accurately as possible. You can use any lasso tool to make the selection more accurate, but I will use photoshop magnetic lasso tool for this tutorial. Select the magnetic lasso tool in photoshop and select the subject by keeping Layer 1 and 2 visible. At first, selecting the edges will feel challenging, but I assure you that the process will be easy for you after some practice. 

If you completed the proper selection, repeat the previous step of filling the selection area with any color you want, deselect the area and create the photoshop mask or clipping mask. 

Create Masks Using Photoshop Shape Tools 

If you require to make a clipping mask in a specific shape, then no worry, adobe photoshop has your back here as well. They have multiple shapes built in the software, such as square shape, round shape, heart shape, and many more. But if you want to create your custom shape, then you can create your shape also.

Pro Tip: Use the photoshop pen tool to create your custom shapes and make sure to keep your shapes stroke disable. But if you ever feel like adding strokes to your shapes, then find it on the edit menu.

Create Clipping Mask For Typography 

When you are looking to blend a text into an image, then a clipping mask is all you need. You can create fantastic poster designs, brochures, and leaflets with no time using the photoshop clipping mask. The best part of making typography is you can work with any font you want, and this opens the door to creating many unique designs using fonts. Making typography using the clipping mask is a simple and straightforward task to do. Let’s do this, You need to revisit the process of creating clipping masks in photoshop, and from there, you just need to change one step, that’s all. 

Instead of creating a new layer, all you need to do is create a layer with the writing you want to see on your design. Place the text layer under layer 1 and click on create a clipping mask option to create it. 

How To Resize An Image In Photoshop With Clipping Mask 

After completing creating the clipping mask, if you feel that your image is a bit oversized and need to resize the image, don’t panic because I am here to show you how to resize an image in photoshop with a clipping mask. To resize an image in Photoshop, right after when you complete creating the clipping mask, press Ctrl+T and then press on the free transform. Now press the Ctrl+Alt and resize your image as you like. Then save the image wherever you want. 

Final Words 

Honestly speaking, the article does become a bit long, but I can assure you that if you can go through with this tutorial, then you will be able to how to mask in photoshop and can mask your images all by yourself from now. I consider the clipping mask in photoshop as an advanced and exciting feature in the image editing profession. Even for the beginner, clipping masking will prove to be a game-changer.

All you need is to practice, practice and practice because without practicing, you can’t master the selection process, as this is a vital part of creating an impressive and stunning clipping mask. Please read the full article and start editing your images by sitting on your couch because, in this pandemic, it is risky to go out and explore new things. Thank you all for staying with me on this long journey, and I wish you all were able to create your own clipping mask and make unique designs anytime.