We are going to de-mystify the scary concept of CLIPPING MASKS today! You may have heard others talk about these elusive little masks and think “I am totally confused and have no idea what to do.” Well, now you will!
This post is one in a three part series that is going to tackle clipping masks and little extras goodies that we use with them or for them. However, today we are doing just the basics…Clipping Masks 101.
A clipping mask is NOT a mask like you use in portrait/picture editing. No, no and no.
Clipping masks are what you use to allow just a certain portion of a picture or a digital paper show through a specified shape.
Below is what we are going to learn and then below it I break it down step by step and then end with a video tutorial (Surprised? No, I know I’m so predicable).
Step 1: Create a new file by going to File, New, Blank File and choosing a size for your file. I choose 7×5 with a white background.
Step 2: Change your background color if you want to (watch the video for how I do it).
Step 3: Click on your shapes tool in tool bar, click onto the Rectangular Shape.
Step 4: Click and drag on your new file to create a rectangle. If you like, you can add some text too, like I did, if you want to follow this tutorial to. the. T. (but really you don’t have to).
Step 5: Open the image you want to showcase on your new file by going to File, Open.
Step 6: Click on your Project Bin and you should see both your new file and your pretty picture. Double click on your new file (the one with the rectangle shape on it). Then click on your pretty picture (in the Project Bin) and DRAG into your new file.
The screen print below shows me mid-drag as I pull in the pretty picture of my niece Delanie.
This is what your image may look like after dragging the pretty picture into the new file/document.
Step 7: Resize your image to fit the opening better by clicking V on your keyboard, which activates the Move tool. Click on a corner of the picture and pull inwards. Notice that the rectangle is still on top of your picture. Don’t worry, we are about to fix that.
Step 8: Click on your image IN THE LAYERS PALETTE and drag it UP a layer so that is now on top of your shape layer.
Step 9: Clip your image to the mask by pressing ‘control’ and ‘g’ (command and g on a Mac) OR hovering between the layers and when the little hand shows up, press ‘alt’ and click (option and click on a Mac).
If you are finished with your card or whatever you’ve made, flatten (go to Layers, Flatten) and save as a JPG to print at a print lab or from a home printer.
That is it! Clipping masks….easy, peasy!!
Ready for a little more? Check out Clipping Masks Part 2 to dig a little deeper!