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Understanding Clipping Masks

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Hello Everyone! Monica here with another Tutorial for you! I want to talk to you about Clipping Masks! I will be using Photoshop CS 6. This should work with any Photoshop program. I will be using Beautiful Memories Photo Masks Vol. 17 by Indigo Designs and {HUES} Red Hot Kit by Connie Prince.


Getting Started

First we need to know what a Clipping Mask is. A clipping mask is an object whose shape masks other artwork so that only areas that lie within the shape are visible. This sounds confusing and difficult but it’s really not! Once you understand the basics of it you will love using these!

First — Workspace

Start by opening a 12×12 canvas so that you have plenty of room to work. Choose a photo and a mask you want to work with and open it your program. You can also choose a paper from a kit. Sometimes the mask you want to use will work better with a paper than a photo. I will be working with a photo of my cat.


Second — Arranging your layers

Once you have your mask and photo or paper open you need to arrange them so that the photo or paper is above your mask in your layers pallet.


Third — Adjusting the size

If you want to resize your photo or you mask now is the time to do so. When you resize make sure you either hold down the Shift key or you click on the little link in the tool bar. If you do not your photo will be all out of proportion and look funny.


Fourth — Clipping the photo

Once you have your mask, photo or paper resized the way you want your canvas should look like this.


Now that you have that you have two options to Clip the photo or paper to the mask. You can hit Control + Alt + G or Layer then Create Clipping Mask.  If you are using Photoshop Elements, you hit Control + G.


Fifth — Adjusting your Photo or Paper in the Mask

Now you may not like the way your photo or paper looks in the mask. You can adjust this by making your photo or paper layer the active layer by clicking on it in the layers pallet and moving your photo or paper around until you like the way it looks. You can also adjust the size of your photo or paper here so that you get it exactly like you want!


Sixth — Finishing Up

Now I like to right click on the Photo or paper I used in the layers pallet so that I can merge the photo or paper to the mask so I don’t accidentally move it. You can also Highlight the two layers and click the lock at the bottom to keep from moving it!

Final Thoughts

You can use a mask for Papers or Photos. You can resize the mask to as big as you want or small as you want. Just be sure to keep your proportions correct so it does not stretch you photo or paper. Masks are great for adding a rubbed on look to your photos or to add a grungy feel to papers or photos. You don’t want to shadow them because you will loose all the texture they have.

I hope I have helped you learn about Clipping Masks and how to use them!

Here is my finished page!


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