How to Do a Clipping Path in Photoshop

How to Do a Clipping Path in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop makes it possible to isolate certain parts of an image without changing the layer. This allows you to tweak the photo at any point in the creative process. And if you ever want to undo the edits, it only takes a few seconds. Every aspiring photographer and the graphic designer should learn how to do a clipping path in Photoshop. So that you take full advantage of the program’s capabilities. It offers you the flexibility to make quick changes if a demanding client asks for a complete overhaul of your design. And this is so crucial when you have paid deadlines.
 
So how does a clipping path work, and why is it so helpful when editing images? Let’s pretend you’ve loaded a photo of a white horse on a dirt trail, but you want to cut the horse out of the image and place him in a completely new scene. Using clipping paths only takes a few steps.
 
Below, we’ve shared how to do a clipping path in Photoshop, using any image that you like.
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Creating a Clipping Path with the Paths Panel
 
  1. First, launch Photoshop and load the image you’d like to edit. Select the Pen Tool from the main toolbar and start selecting the path around the object that needs to be isolated. Once you’ve drawn a complete path around the object, go down to the Layers palette and select the Paths panel, which has its tab. Click on the triangle-shaped icon located at the top right corner of the panel, and then choose “Save Path.”
  2. Next, select “Clipping Path” from the same drop-down menu. A new dialog box will appear with a variety of clipping path settings. Make sure your path is selected, and then click OK.
  3. Now, let’s save the clipping path to our current Photoshop project. Go to the main File menu, select “Save As,” and then choose “Photoshop EPS” as the EPS Options setting.
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How to Create a Clipping Path in Photoshop
 
Depending on your creative field, clipping paths can be used to cut a shape or silhouette out of one project and then re-use it as a path in a future project. Generally, paths are the best way to wrap text around a graphic. And they can be as simple or complex as you like. In this handy guide, we’ve outlined how to create a clipping path, Photoshop style.
 
  1. Power of the Pen: First, load the Photoshop project with the image you’d like to clip, or start a new project and paste in your desired manifestation. The cleanest and most professional method for making clipping paths is with the Pen tool. You may be tempted to use the Magic Wand tool as a selection shortcut, but this is a sloppy approach, and it will never look as good as drawing the path by hand.
  2. Trace the Image: With the Pen tool selected, zoom in on the area you’d like to trace and start placing anchor points. The Pen is simple, but pressing the Alt/Command key will allow you to switch between its secondary tools. For example “Add Anchor Point,” “Delete Anchor Point,” and “Convert Point.” Familiarize yourself using these keyboard shortcuts. Add anchor points to create seamless lines that bend and curve.
  3. Minimize Ghosting: We recommend creating anchor points between the subject and background objects. When done, your pen drawing will be in the center of Photoshop’s anti-aliasing, which smooths out the pixels’ harsh edges. Go to the Paths panel (it’s located in the same area as the Layers panel). After that select, the triangle icon on the top right. And choose “Save Path.” Then, in the same menu, select “Clipping Path.”
  4. Adjust the Clipping Path Settings: A new Clipping Paths dialog box will appear, allowing you to set a few image options. First, make sure that your new path is selected from the drop-down list. You can leave the Flatness setting blank. Then, click OK.
  5. Save Your Path: Go to “File” > “Save As” to save your path, and in the Format section, choose “Photoshop EPS” with all the default settings. When you click OK, your clipping path will be saved as a new file. Which can be used in future Photoshop projects and other applications, such as Illustrator and InDesign.

Related article: How to Remove Background from Hair in Photoshop?

Creating a Clipping Path with Layer Mask
 
This method makes it possible to use your clipping path in Illustrator and InDesign. First, create a new layer for your image (i.e., make sure it’s not the Background layer) and then draw a path around the desired object with the Pen tool.
 
Now go to the Layers palette and select the “Add Layer Mask” button twice (found in the drop-down menu by clicking the triangle in the top right corner). This saves your path chosen as a layer mask, and everything outside of the selection will be transparent. Finally, select “Save As” to save a new file.